Category Archives: media fragmentation

The heavens opened and the web sites yawned

The web has failed humanity in one huge area — providing dramatic weather reports.

Take freezing rain, for example. Tonight in Connecticut, television is reporting an armada of ice will blast our roads before the Monday morning commute, and we sensed the vibe today of neighbors rushing off to the grocery chains to stock up on toilet paper. All news is local, and nothing is more local than weather. Even the kids are excited at the first hint of a real winter storm.

But online? Nada., AccuWeather, and Weather Underground give us general maps and national stories with barely a mention of ice in New England. Punch in a ZIP Code, you get cute graphics of icy rain on Monday, but nothing conveys urgency. The big papers nearby such as NYT report on Republicans debating; the smaller papers rehash weekend feature stories about the Nutcracker.

How can it be that people get so excited about big storms, but the media takes a pass? Maybe this is why blogs in general are now so popular, since the loosened journalism format allows experts in any topic to bring passion and verve and even F bombs to content the big media tend to homogenize.

To be fair, TV weather guys get a little too hyped up over every ounce of fog. Still, we miss weather drama online. At least we have, which breaks tomorrow’s storm threat down into a Morse code-like punch: URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE. The text feels like an incoming aircraft advisory. Now we’re talking.

Seth’s new meatball rolls toward the future

Seth Godin teases with a slow reveal of his new book “Meatball Sundae,” pointing to the undercurrent beneath all the blather about blogs and Borgs. In an economy where only three things really move — communication, products, and value — the revolution in communication media means the fundamentals of business must change, too.

“We’re spending a ton of time arguing about tactics, social networks and adwords. Behind the scenes, an even bigger revolution is brewing. It’s the one where entire organizations change in response to the lever of the change in marketing.”

We like Seth’s vibe. Here’s our take. Treacy wrote that companies need to focus on the “discipline of market leaders” by either being best in product innovation, operations efficiency, or total customer solution. Pick a direction and go there, he said: This is why sharp ops companies can make calculators for less than the cost of a box of cereal.

But Treacy was wrong. The world where a single focus succeeds is now over. Companies today need to do it all — be efficient (to compete in a world-is-flat market), innovate products (or Apple will eat your lunch), and meet the huge set of consumer needs (now hunting for you by the light of the Internet). Media fragmentation did not create the long tail of consumer demand; that’s always been there. But the media revolution is pushing every business down the slide to meet more and more fragmented, complex consumer needs.

Seth’s metaphor is intriguing. In our mind, the meatball of org structure is rolling down the hill of demand, headed for the millions of users and browsers and creators and buyers who each want something different. Organizations can no longer focus just on operations, or products, or customers — they need to cover the entire spectrum above, because consumers are pulling demand to the right of the long tail. What’s for dinner, marketers? Whatever customers want.

Yoda and Anakin and Obi Wan, oh my

George Lucas says he’s filming another 100 episodes of the Star Wars saga for television, a new twist on “Clone Wars” to air fall 2008. Somewhere on HBO or another prime network, perhaps. Alas, our 1977 crush on Princess Leia is fading fast. Anyone thinking media is not over-fragmenting … please pass the Excedrin.

But wait. Stop thinking like a Year 2007 marketer. Sure, no one could stomach 100 new feature-length films with lightsabers, but in the new world of iDevices and YouTube, consumers with short attention spans may want to download 100 snippets of space. Serialized content could be king. Soon CGI may get so good you can pick your own ending, or better yet, insert your avatar and finally get that date with Leia.

It all makes sense. The Force, it seems, will ALWAYS be with you.