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Adweek Regrooves

Adweek was started 33 years ago in a far, far different media world. Now it is remade for a new age and new opportunities.

But then something happened to the great business. It wasn’t so easy anymore: conglomeration, fracturization, the earnings demands of public companies, an oversaturated audience, the terrible recession of the early ‘90s. And the carnage had really yet to begin.

That started in 1994, with the newly commercial Internet and the resulting cataclysm: the end of newspapers, the humbling of the great magazine empires, a broken ad agency model, nothing less than a full-scale war for control of how we watch video, and the continued advance of technology that passes power from producer to consumer.

It’s hard to think of anybody who, in the cataclysm, has done much right, from the richest media companies in the world down to Adweek itself, which went through a set of hapless owners. But it isn’t just the hoary old media that’s gotten it in the neck. The new may be an even harder place to play, with successive dominant players in the digital business leveled on a hyperspeed business cycle.

We are in the middle of a technological revolution that is existential in its effect and meaning. This has created a vacuum which has, quite naturally, spurred a power struggle, based not just on new ideas and cleaner code, but also on brute ego and basic greed. The Web of a trillion flowers is itself now the battleground for new moguls and monopolists.

And yet somehow many of us find this bracing. Surely, there is more opportunity— whether you call it a boom or a bubble. With a little heart and imagination, it is certainly a shorter climb to the top. Some have a taste for chaos and raw power plays. As for the rest of us, what is the choice? The remaking of the media and communication business—a revolution in delivery, in creativity, in audience behavior, and in audience targeting— happens with us or without us.

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