Peter Chernin is a big, important fellow with far more knowledge of everything to do with media than I could ever hope to have. Which is why I find Peter Chernin’s 10 rules for media survival more annoyingly trite than perhaps I should.
According to the editorsweblog:
President Peter Chernin challenged fellow executives to face the media industry’s biggest problems through a forward-thinking speech entitled ‘10 rules for Media Survival’ at the Forrester Consumer Forum last week. Chernin explained that networks and advertisers need to work together on new formats, and that companies need to turn to technology for new forms of distribution. In particular, Chernin addressed the most contentious issues currently facing the media and threatening future profits including: fragmentation, ad-skipping, and piracy. After addressing media’s increasing difficulty to follow its traditional pursuit of passive audiences due to technological advancements, Chernin laid out his 10 rules for survival.
So far so good, I wouldn’t argue with any of that. But then look at the rules themselves (I’ve left out the ones I can’t argue with).
‘Rule 1: Realize that consumers’ desires of control, choice, convenience, and simplicity have not been altered by the recent changes in technology.
I think that’s not entirely true. I think “expectations” of choice have altered massively in the last five years, thanks to smaller and smaller hard drives and rampantly expanding digital content availability. It’s true to say that consumers “desire” choice, but it’s naive to ignore how their perceptions of choice might have changed.
Rule 2: A wired home does not change anything. It merely allows consumers to move content from one device to another within their home.
Now that really is silly. Does Chernin really believe that my ability to surf the web from anywhere in the house hasn’t changed the way I surf and what I look at? Does he really believe that my ability to program music for a dinner party from a laptop in seconds doesn’t change my view of the music being served up?
Rule 4: Consumers don’t reject advertising, they reject complacency. Advertisers need to evolve the methods through which they reach consumers, especially their old habit of using 30 second commercials.
In what way do consumers reject “complacency”? I know that Chernin isn’t going to get up in a public forum and say the advertising model may well be broken, but it needs bigger thinking than this. Google AdSense changes the advertising world completely, both in terms of what advertising can do for users (ie, how useful it is), in terms of the relationship between a media owner and an advertiser (this relationship is now more intermediated than ever) and in terms of accountability. And in the broadcast world, consumers DO reject advertising if they have the right technology. I have Sky+. I fast forward through adverts. Period.
Rule 6: If content is king, then marketing is the crown prince. Broadcast or cable networks need to create tightly focused brands, like HBO, FX, or MTV.
But I could just as well posit the alternative: that in a world where technology allows me to pick and choose individual programmes from a range of providers quickly and easily and then watch it at my leisure, channel brands are increasingly meaningless. In that world, The O.C. is the brand, because that’s the thing I’m looking for.
Rule 9: Nothing compares to the spontaneity and thrill of things that are live, including sports, news, and entertainment.
This seems rather self-serving and not at all true. “Nothing” compares? What about video games?
Rule 10: If the industry does not solve the problem of piracy and can thus not protect content, all other rules are meaningless.’
But if “nothing compares” with the thrill of being live, why is this a problem?
Source: Forrester Magazine through paidcontent.org