When death of your industry becomes default small talk in the conference lobby and every media related conversation devolves into something along the lines of, "How do we save the Los Angeles Times?" you know things are not boding well. Perhaps this is why media buyers (the typically underpaid twentysomethings who work at "creative agencies") have become the rockstars of the new media industry, employing a hallowed position at conferences formerly reserved for those with access to an iPhone charger. Nowhere is this more clear than at this week's Digital Hollywood being held at Lowes in Santa Monica, because as Jason Krebs, co-founder of Shortail Media and formerly of the New York Times, put it, "Today you've got a disaster area in the media business."
How did we get here? Part of the answer lies in the fact that the free platforms of distribution provided by the social Web cut out the middle man; Krebs explains,"Because it's free, Twitter has made the flow of advertising dollars going to the Internet so much more difficult." Ad agencies now see social media (Twitter, Facebook and MySpace) as platforms to build their own content, using the viral nature of these mediums to engage the consumer directly, and putting a serious hurt on the buying of page views and online carriage. If you are a publisher (i.e. you have content that's monetized by advertising, from television to newspapers to porn) this dis-intermediation means you're in for a rough future unless you come up with a more creative solution to the problem than a banner ad or click campaign.
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