I've spent a bit of time on my blog lately considering the evolution of e-commerce and its convergence with media, and the opposing forces of seekers and sought in the global anonymity which is the Internet. These notions are all inter-related: a seller wants to find a nameless buyer, a buyer wants to find the best purchase option among many. Among other things, the Internet is a mode of detection, whereby needles in a haystack are looked for and found, with more or less efficiency.
I had also spent a bit of time considering the idea of media asset deconstruction
, which is to say, the break-down of media businesses into component parts, so that the most efficient function of any given media asset can be delivered to its ideal target using the most effective delivery option. The local sales force of a broadcast operation could, for instance, be deployed into non-broadcast related advertising segments, just like the signal tower of a radio station could be made available for wireless cell-sites or other telecom infrastructure. The same applies to Internet properties, and Yahoo's search reconfiguration with Microsoft
is an example.
A third general field of investigation, which I may not have dealt with as special subject in any one article, but which is probably sprinkled around often enough on this blog, are the perennial media revenue sources of advertising and subscriptions. The respective styles of operation - in which the cost of business is funded by either an advertiser or a direct customer, or both - have been standard fare in media forever, and hardly need to be explained. Even in the emerging segments of new media, it seems that advertising revenues and subscription models (more recently referred to as "freemium" offerings
) remain the principal sources of income. To this latter category of subscription payments I would also add the sale by free-to-the-consumer services of collected user behavior data, which in a web environment of very large numbers and supported by sophisticated analytic tools, can be quite valuable to marketers that acquire such data.
Stepping back from these three areas of consideration - the competitive overlap of media and e-commerce, the optimization of media assets into component parts, and the principal revenue sources associated with the sector - I think that we may see a blueprint of sorts, an ecosystem map if you will, by which to assess the direction and measure the quality of new ventures as well as more established platforms.
At its most basic level of analysis, what I mean to suggest is this: Any media platform, any technology or service related to or supporting a web-based business model, should have a clear place and a well defined strategy within the context of the described blueprint map. Which is to say, the opportunities and the challenges of any such business should be measured on the basis of (a) its place relative to the intersection of media and e-commerce, (b) the optimal use of its core assets, and (c) the principal revenue sources associated thereto, not least of which may be the revenue potential of its collected user data.
As the industry has evolved, and as "market size" and "audience share" are no longer the most pertinent yardsticks in a world dominated by ubiquitous web penetration, this suggested approach may warrant further considering. I will try to report back as I do so.
Disclosure: No positions.