A subtle but powerful shift is underway as brands and platforms that have thrived, in part, through social media are now trading up into traditional media territory on the strengths of the eyeballs and engagement they have captured. To illustrate I want to share three examples.
1. GOOGLE HANG-OUTS ON AIR: Google wants this new live studio format to revolutionize the music industry by optimizing the sound quality for live performances rather than just voice. While this is early days, what will this do for artists? How will it impact the concert tour model? How will affect the business model of concert and tour companies like Live Nation? What new crop of artists and legions of fans will it connect and unleash independent of the traditional music industry? Here is a quick look at how it works and then, just imagine what this will do to the traditional music industry already reeling from illegal downloads, piracy and artist’s (most recently, like Beck) who are constantly exploring independent business models? Meanwhile, enjoy Suite 709’s new track using the platform.
2. HUFFINGTON POST LIVE: Yesterday Huffington Post Live did just that – went Live for the first time. It did so, in their own words, to build on the depth of conversations across on and around its platform in the comments sections and across social media. It was this deep engagement that gave them the confidence to threaten traditional media territory and also to allow user interest to drive the content rather than prescriptive programming. Such engagement is the type of feedback loop that traditional news outlets are so desperately trying to earn and struggling to maintain.
3. INSTAGRAM SHOPPING: The popularity of Instragram – the mobile only app that lets you apply filters to photos and share them – has captured the attention of brands as well who are now tapping into that popularity and sharability to sell product at a fraction of the cost of traditional media. In short, it’s social shopping in an instant with a peer recommendation built in. So it’s little wonder you see big brand adoption rates and community growing so quickly in the latest Interbrand research below.
All three efforts are nothing shot of a land grab in the gap between “the way things have always been done” and how they are now. These companies are reverse engineering out of the eyeballs and conversations they are capturing through social media back into traditional media territory effectively severing the ties of pre-existing media companies to the future.
The window of time in which companies (whose media plans and profit centers turn on traditional media alone) can change and adapt to new social technology and consumer behavior is closing. And left too long, they will find themselves on the wrong side of history.
Do you agree social media is changing the way your industry does business? If so, what is the greatest threat?