Saturday, 9 April 2011

ZOMBIES! "Printed Words on Paper":
Literally the Walking Dead

"I still enjoy the tactile pleasure of leafing through a newspaper and books, so I don't think they're going anywhere soon!" 

I said to the speaker, "Sorry, but you STILL really don't get it!"  Here's another way to explain why Rupert Murdoch's entire empire is going to crumple into bankruptcy in the coming two decades...

It's 1929 and you are shown a funny audio/video show on the very first cathode ray tube (television) set ever.  Wow!!!  I then tell you that you could own one of these in your home for only X quantity of money and your family could sit around and watch many similarly entertaining shows of all kinds whenever you want.

Now I ask you if you would prefer having a set for each family member that plays shows specifically designed for that person's interests.

Hm...  Then I suggest that soon you'll have a TV that you can hold in your hands, the size of a magazine and it will have not only shows on it, but access to all the world's libraries of information, ALL of them.  Instantaneously.   All of the news, books, magazines, school yearbooks, family photos, recipes, TV shows, music performances and movies ever created from anywhere on the planet (instantly translated into your language) for one low monthly fee. Oh, and you'll be able to speak, in real time, to anyone on the planet, any time you want for the same fee -- AND live video chat.  Really.  And send them a photo or video you just took, instantly, like of your child being put into its mom's arms.

Still with me?
  • Now I tell you that you'll be able to project all that content in full colour and audio onto any flat surface in a size that is equivalent to the experience of sitting in a movie theatre.  
  • THEN I tell you that soon after you'll be able to project, out of a gadget the size of thin bar of soap, a holographic, virtual screen into the air in front of an individual or group of people and play any of that content with surround-sound audio.  
  • And, by the way, you can actually have more than one show playing at the same time, like your favourite team's live baseball game while you are watching a movie.  
  • Oh, and you can stop and switch movies any time if you get bored or have to do something else.
  • And again, every person in the world will have their own personal device like this one.
What would you bet on from that revelation forward?  Number 1 or number 2?
  1. Firms that rely on the printing press and ancient television and music business models, or companies working on developing new business models for delivering content?  
  2. Would you bet on forcing people to sit through advertising for products they have no interest in on these personal devices, or on "the Holy Grail" of marketing:  fully addressable advertising that solely plays an impactful, informative ad, only as many times as the viewer requests, and only for products/services that we already know that particular individual is already interested in?
Let's revisit that quote:

"I still enjoy the tactile pleasure of leafing through a newspaper and books, so I don't think they're going anywhere soon!"

Ha!  Good luck with that.  (Though it depends on your definition of "soon", to be fair.)

That melancholy reminiscence came up in a discussion I had recently with a marketing exec from Universal Music Canada who was bemoaning the death of the old music industry business model (posted a comment here to a FastCompany article).  Her 15 yr old son will grow up without that "tactile emotional attachment", so by the time he turns 45 "printed words on paper" will have very little except historical relevance.

'Print' is a BUSINESS MODEL that is going extinct (link to my original post on the subject), yet those with mortgages on their houses who work in that industry are too vested to consider the implications, sadly.

(Still, with a good 20 years left before their last dodo bird gets clubbed to death on a remote beach in the Atlantic Ocean...  ;-)

Just another point that I think it's important those of us who would like to thrive in the coming years should wrap our heads around, and soon!


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