I’ve been a newspaper guy all my life and I’ve always respected very much the social role of the media in society. And I really think that role is even more crucial today than ever before.
But I’ve always paid extreme attention to the new ways information flows in society and experimented with most of them: blogs, social media of all kind, video and audio sharing, etc. And I really think the freedom of information that is changing society (and the world…) is ultimately a good thing.
Last year I paneled in a WAN-IFRA international gathering in Madrid in which the issue of online media monetization was debated. And – summing up all the opinions – it became gradually clear to me that if news media really wanted to make money online, they needed a very different approach than the ones they were trying and that neither the paywalls (however sophisticated) nor the apps would be the definitive solution. In the following months I evolved this new business model for the media in the digital age, which I think responds to the needs of information consumers but also of the media companies, as well as those of society as a whole.
In the business model of the traditional media – that served well for decades both the consumers and the producers of information – the price paid for those who bought a newspaper or a magazine was redistributed through the chain feeding the necessary professional operations of each and every agent of the process. In the current business model of the digital distribution of information, the client also pays a fee for the broad spectrum of information he gets, but that money is not redistributed to the chain. This business model proposed explains why and how that should be done.
In the backbone of this new business model for the digital media is this basic ideia: there is not enough intelligence in the network. If we want navigation to me seamless and profitable, we got to have a network that is smarter and capable of measuring and value the content that is channeled. The business model also explains how it can be done.
In this blog I will evolve this issue as a work in progress. I will refer to the posts and documents that led me to this conclusion and will try to illustrate in which ways this business model responds to the ongoing debate about the viability of the media companies in the digital age. That is why I called it SmartMedia!
Of course, all kind of commentaries are welcomed, especially those that point to flaws in the system.