Our mother ship’s Newsfeed this morning pointed out Edward Wasserman’s story about whether “convergence” is a disaster because reporters will have to do too much stuff, and can’t spend time reporting. Consultant Vin Crosbie asked an even better question: If all the old media is declining in audience (see chart, above), why converge them? Why will putting together a newspaper declining in audience with some digital stuff add up to a successful product?
Keynote speaker Scott Anthony (above and left) of Innosight today talked about how Harvard Business School gurus and others have found that industries don’t usually survive disruptive technologies, because they’re too busy protecting their turf. (Like, say, not giving Internet access so people will pay attention?) He said how a company has to be willing to spend a lot of money to fail so it will succeed the next time. Apple’s Newton leads to iPod. The only old department store chain that survived was Dayton Hudson because it created Target, and ate its own lunch. And so on.
Maybe some media companies will be so wise. We can think of a few that won’t be. And the newspaper people in the room with us certainly didn’t seem all that comfortable about their abilities to institute what Scott talked about.