Why media companies are angry today

The past few days, I've noticed something peculiar happening when watching the evening news on television. Almost all media channels are angry. They are angry with few cabinet ministers, they are angry at the 'system', at business houses, bureaucracy. They are angry with the society, culture, and guess what...they are sometimes angry with themselves too. I was wondering, if their anger is a representation of the audience mindset; which means have 'we the people' become short fused. I guess not

One main reason why the media is angry is because they are being displaced from their comfort zone. There is so much external influence in media industry that uncertainty is the underline fear faced by them. Some obvious signs are:

  • The falling view time of news channels... More competitors, less audience
  • Shorter attention span
  • Rising cost of infrastructure and people
  • Falling revenues/profits
  • Digital Technology bringing in more options which are far more relevant and useful

Media companies model runs on creating or acquiring content, curating it and then disseminating it to a large audience of people. By packaging the content in form of stories, opinions, views, etc they build perception through which they want to influence people's behaviour. This model was good as any individual (politician, celebrity), company (brand, product), event (sports, music, etc) that needed to reach out to a larger base had to use their service, albeit for a sum - advertising, PR, or any other barter arrangement. The model survived for close to 250 years...from print to television; till Internet came along

The media companies missed reading the potential opportunity and the threat of technology in the early fledgling years of the www. Today, we all know that the elements that used to ride on Media channels for reach have started looking at reaching directly through digital media - social, email, mobile etc.  it is not just the reach, it is about the granularity of the communication that is possible that makes reaching people through digital medium more attractive. Mass medium still runs of the Least Common Denominator principle.

As Jim Morrison, famously said, He who controls the media controls the mind. Media companies always played the role of influencers of managing the people's perception. This role is quickly being taken over by disparate group of people active in digital platforms. That is something media companies are fearing.

Media companies are angry....angry with themselves. Angry that they missed an opportunity, angry that their roles are being taken over, angry that they cannot change their current model and the other model is far effective.

The day the media companies let go the illusion of control and embrace change they will become a  happy lot


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