Shift Happens

Posted on February 8, 2008 by Tony Uphoff

Shift happens. There are several overarching trends that are driving fundamental change in the world we live in and affecting the we think about, interact with and react to media. While there is an endless supply of books, papers, lectures and research reports analyzing these trends, most would agree that the trends revolve around some version of these four: digitization (the internet), globalization, localization and fragmentation. From a media point of view, there have been two revolutions that changed everything, affecting all aspects of life, business and culture. The first was television and the second the internet. And in the internet revolution, as we are all learning, we are just now experiencing the second wave.

The main driver of the second wave has been the evolution of the web from a passive media platform to an active media platform. This was and remains the fundamental shift that ultimately represents the shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. At a base level this shift was the change in the web from a read only medium to a read/write medium. The web became a software application and this now application based media provided significantly deeper user engagement as well as measurable marketing performance. This new active media platform also presents enormous opportunities for marketers, given the metrics, ability to communicate with and engage with customers at far deep levels than any passive media could ever dream of. Applications like next generation search, social networking, blogging and more sophisticated online registration and interaction were all born in this phase and now dominate web traffic and interaction today. One of the other outcomes of this transition has been that for the first time, media could take advantage of network math. The theory of network math is that for every additional user on the network the value for any individual user of the network goes up.

All obvious points right? Well the impact of this shift has not been so obvious. This second wave has created massive turbulence in the currency exchange and valuation in media. Traditional CPM metrics in media are under significant challenge as CPC, CPL and any number of new outcome based metrics are driving the new economy of media. The real challenge for media companies, regardless of where they are in the Media 1.0 to Media 2.0 spectrum, is how to manage these new evolving currencies and adapt their business models accordingly.,

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