Innovation spells Rejuvenation for Media Companies

Why do publishers build proprietary payment systems, instead of thinking about more innovative ways of marketing their core competencies on the internet? They didn’t develop their own printing press or found their own delivery services companies or kiosks. Nor did they develop their own call center software. Yet some publishers invested tons of money in developing their own payment solutions which simply don’t work, because it this not their core competency. So they miss the market and the users’ needs. If a publisher sticks to his core competency, he can put more focus on the product he wants to sell: Content and its additional benefits.

More Room for Paid Content

Paid content on the web is not an extension of the classic business model. Paid content is an innovation and has to be treated as such. It is often difficult for media companies to promote innovations internally. Everybody seems to be so entrenched in tradition and established standards that nobody wants to do anything to change them.

Disruption is a state of mind. Three reasons why startups prevail in imposing change.

Entrepreneurs have a few traits, which make them see and interpret things differently, derive creative solutions from it, and finally win the innovations game. Here are three traits which show you why this is important for media companies and publishers, as well as for every other industry that wants to do the transition to the digital world.

Why this way

1. Entrepreneurs always question the status quo

Where everyone else sees how things are, entrepreneurs see how they could be.

Many things, of course, are simply entirely beyond anyone’s range of influence, and therefore will remain as they are – unchanged. But whenever there is something challenging him, an entrepreneur will take it on – as long as it comes at the right time, e.g. when he is bored or not satisfied with his current task. This is the moment when an idea starts germinating in his mind. This is when his mind starts spinning around a new product, a new concept of something entirely new.

Change is the new constant. Why publishers are all startups on the internet.

The internet is a perfect service platform, but it has opened up such a vast variety of options that it also has produced an equally large array of uncertainties. It is impossible to avoid them. The goal is to learn through them and to live with them.

Startups are the best example to illustrate how that works.

Anyone who adapts to the universal service orientation of the internet will be able to make money on the internet. So the question to be asked by any content vendors is this: “How do I serve my users with my content in such a way that they will see it as a service, and that they will see a clear benefit that they will be prepared to spend money for?”


A daily struggle for survival

From day one startups have to live and learn in the classroom of applied Darwinism: highest flexibility, constant adaptation, struggle for survival, whereby “struggle for survival” is defined as making it to the next round of financing.

”Cost-free“ is a cheap excuse

”There is a no-cost culture on the Internet“ is one of the most persistent myths in Germany, and it is mostly used as an excuse for the lack of business models and the unwillingness to adapt which are still prevalent in this country. We even have a word for that: "Kostenlosmentalitaet" (no-cost mentality). But the Internet has also taught us service orientation, and content providers who keep that in mind should be able to win in the end.

”No-cost mentality“ is an empty notion, an expression of resignation, an excuse for resisting change. It is a linguistic justification for the fact that many content providers have not found adequate business models for selling digital content. Transforming analog models into the digital world didn’t work: If you squeeze a subscription for an analog product through your network line, you will not end up with a subscription to a digital product.

The Internet has established a distinct service mentality: It manifests itself in placing links wherever appropriate and in enabling the user to share what they would like to share. Users don’t even think about this service mentality: They just buy and consume wherever its implications are understood.