Web Growth

President elect Obama is looking to push web growth hard:

It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption,” Mr. Obama said. “Here, in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online.

But many of the leading media companies may not be around to see that growth.

Bankruptcy

The Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy and the New York Times is expecting that 2009 digital ad revenues might be below 2008 revenues.

Advertisers Becoming the Media

As the debt laden media companies die off, some advertisers are finding it cheaper to become the media rather than advertise on it and support its bloat:

one day cosmetics companies will perhaps start beefing up their own Web sites — with makeup videos and click-to-buy options — just as kraftfoods.com has done with its hugely trafficked recipe site and walmart.com has done with its popular blogs by mothers. When advertisers become content providers, magazines lose ads and finally drop off newsstands.

Advertisers are also investing in analyzing the potential for media to go viral. When they own their own distribution channels and build a large audience, the cost of real-time testing drops to zero.

Media Unbound

Some content creators are testing technologies that allow DVD watchers to chat with friends while watching the movie, perhaps creating yet another gathering spot for fans – like Buddy TV.

As Google brings archived magazine content online it seems the form of content containers is dying, and the media is becoming more aware of the link economy:

That currency is the hyperlink, a pointer to somewhere on the internet that holds some information that someone else might find useful. Like any currency, it can be debased, and lose its value. You’ve heard of the dollar/yen/pound/euro exchange rate, of course (and watched in amazement as they gyrate, and yet the price of American hardware and software never alters from a $1 = £1 translation). But in the link economy, when everyone’s passing around links, every person is their own central bank, determining the value of their own currency.

The Blend

In an attempt to increase revenues some media sites (like CNN Money) are blending ads so aggressively that they look editorial. To me this ad looks more like editorial than an advertisement.

Many of the mainstream media sites will need to become much more like eHow.com, Mahalo.com, and About.com if they want to weather the storm…use the brand to attract readers, but have a lot of cheap backfill content monetized by affiliate ads and contextual ads to subsidize the editorial that builds the brand.

Recent Media Successes

Not all media based business models are in the hurt locker.

As many traditional media companies head toward bankruptcy they will have their staffs cut, making it easier to influence them through public relations.

uTest has built a functional business model out of crowd sourcing by selling pay for performance bug testing.

Andy Hagans explained how they grew Tip’d by hiring a well known star to run the brand, partnering with leading independent editorial sites, and pushing most of the value out to the editorially featured sites. As a result of those actions it looks like Kiplinger’s might syndicate the Tip’d widget, which will offer Andy’s site a lot of great brand exposure. Start small and keep building momentum…using each point of growth and each partnership as validation to reach the next level.

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