The conversation about the shift from “old” to “new” media usually goes something like this: 1) the media business has fundamentally changed; 2) media companies need to think in new ways due to the problems of fragmentation, the attention economy and a whole range of platforms; 3) those that adapt to the new will win; those that won’t, will fold – and they deserve it too.
So the advice from new media gurus is always the same: existing media companies – and indeed, even new media companies like Netflix – need to find a way to replicate their success, albeit with a new business model. With a few mergers, acquisitions and consolidation, there’s no reason a smart media company who makes all the right moves couldn’t remain a multi-billion dollar business with a great deal of clout.
But what if that never happens? And what if, instead of it being due to a lack of vision or leadership, it’s because no media company can ever be a massive economic and cultural success again?