What will the media company of the 21st Century look like?
In the run-up to the annual Reuters Media Summit, taking place in New York and London next week, we have been asking experts and executives how they think media companies should reinvent themselves for the 21st Century.
Will the big need to get bigger? See Comcast’s bid for a controlling stake in NBC Universal.
Or will it be a question of being slimmer and more focused? Like Time Warner, which is now essentially a pure content company after spinning off Time Warner Cable in March and AOL next week.
All these businesses are heavily impacted by the Web as a distribution tool and they are doing various things to counter that. But it won’t be easy, say analysts in our Summit preview. While content will continue to be extremely valuable, content owners will need to figure out how to make money from the Web and other new platforms of distribution.
Stephen Prough, of Salem Partners, a boutique investment bank that has backed several Hollywood deals, said the models are still not clear:
I think it’s great that people are experimenting with content for the Web. In theory, that’s a great concept. Right now, I haven’t seen a business model that works for original content for the Web. The experience of companies that repurpose content for the web is they’re generating per viewer.
Over at IAC/InterActiveCorp, Ricky Van Veen, founder of Collegehumor.com and CEO of Notional productions, thinks that developing original content that moves seamlessly between the Web, TV, and wireless devices will be key for the modern media company.
The crucial parts are the advertiser’s brand, the content creator and the consumers. What if it was the brand getting the content to the consumer rather than a cable company? With the Internet, you don’t really need a lot TV networks, film studios and cable operators. In the future you have a great idea they’re going to be able to get the content to consumers on their own or with the help of a brand. That’s what’s interesting to me.