On this day of national rebirth and renewal, some tough yet wise words about transformation for newspapers, broadcasters and other old-line media players from Diane Mermigas on the Seeking Alpha Web site:
There are no shortcuts for TV broadcasters and newspapers going digital. The internet's unique niche and scale economics must be adopted at every level of the media business to translate into sustained growth, profits and engagement with consumers and advertisers. ... It just takes courage to jump in all the way. If not now, when?
This echoes Marc Andreesen's similar advice from a couple months ago: You're simply not playing seriously–or succesfully–in the digital world as long as you're still primarily clinging to–and defending–your old business.
It sounds radical, but to survive, media companies need to commit fully to online products and regard their traditional businesses as secondary. The focus has to be on making the online business model work–not on preserving a failing older model. Until that happens, media companies are going to continue to struggle with the transition–and, as Mermigas and others point out, consistently get beaten by more-focused competitors like Google, YouTube, Twitter, craigslist, Facebook or some startup you've never heard of...yet.