Monday, November 10, 2008

The Digital Media Economy

I hear a lot of talk about the green collar economy. Training people as technicians to fix solar panels, wind turbines, other renewable energy sources. The government hiring researchers a la the Manhattan Project to think our way out of our dependence on oil and curb emissions.

But who's thinking our way out of the collapse of the media industry, which seems to hemorrage more jobs every month?

Conde Nast Publications announced a deal with Brightcove to start producing advertising-supported videos for the company's website. You've seen these already: the 15 second ads that play before a New York Times video starts, or my personal favorite: the Daily Show's website, which allows you to pick different segments of the show, gotta wait for the video ad first!


It's not suprising Conde Nast has waited this long. Its boutique publications (The New Yorker, Vogue, Vanity Fair, and so many others) caters to a hard copy audience. They have an older, higher income niche market, and dammit, they want their print!

But Conde Nast also got into reporting on the digital media business, publishing Wired. A new market for them. Still rich, but younger. In the Brightcove deal , Conde Nast is also expanding video options for, direct competition for People magazine. And don't forget, which rolled out in print in 2007. They are gunning after the already saturated business news market, competing with Bloomberg News, and of course, the Wall Street Journal.


The verdict is still out. Print ads still dominate the revenue for newspapers and magazines. And Conde Nast recently shed 5% of its workforce. But the fact that Conde Nast is teaming up with a video production group (who also by the way manage the New York Times video submissions from the public), indicates that the jobs are most certainly in production. And not only that, but it's a helluva lot easier for a print organization to hire out the production, than manage their own production crew on top of managing their writers and graphics folks.


The crossover between broadcast and print has been interesting to watch in my adopted hometown of Minneapolis. A multimedia producer for my adopted hometown's paper even wrote about it. I've never heard of a business like Brightcove at the local market level providing the multimedia services - dailies seem to be investing in hiring their own talent. They seem to think, unlike Conde Nast, that they can provide the content as well as the packaging just as well.

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