For nearly ten years (almost my entire adult working life), I worked intimately with the actual, physical building of the internet you are using right now to read this article, Twitter to your friends, or whatever else you're doing on it.
I knew when it would be able to deliver video/TV as you know it today almost two years before you laid eyes on YouTube. I know how packets can be blocked and why that matters to net neutrality. I can talk about IP multi-media subsystems and how session controls work.
Before and during this, I also worked in print media. My first published article in a national magazine was at age 22, I worked in editorial, I worked as a publicist. I founded the first fashion social media company online, Stylediary, and ran it for three years before selling it in 2007. In 2004, I expanded into broadcast television business. I have worked closely with both the PSTN (landline) and mobile/cellular phone businesses as well.
This matters because if you are a TV network, a print media publisher, an internet CEO, or telecom, I know your business and even more importantly, I have worked in it. What I am going to share about the internet today is for you.
1. The internet is a communications and information delivery platform. It's one of six in our society. The other five include broadcast TV, radio, print media, PSTN (landline) phone and cellular/mobile phone.
2. The internet is here to REPLACE all of those platforms as the predominant information delivery and communications platform we use. This is because it is more reliable, less expensive, and does not require any specific device to access it.
During the quakes in Haiti and Hurricane Katrina, the phone lines were down, there was no television, and print media publishers could not print. However, the internet was working. That is why the internet was created and why it is here.
3. What this means for business is that IF you do business over TV, print media, radio, telephone or mobile phone, your business is going to move from the old platform you were using to a new one, the internet. This is a when-scenario and will not be preventable. Just ask the music business.
How a market survives this move depends entirely on the market. Companies today in print media (magazines and newspapers), TV, telephone (cell or landline), radio, etc. can either take advantage of enormous and new opportunity right now -- or be crushed -- by the internet.
Take a look at all the struggles and you can guess which one most are picking. To flip the coin in your favor, here's what you need to understand about doing business over information delivery and communications platforms:
1. Platforms never die -- they diminish in use, but never die. Radio is an example. People still write plenty of checks. So while print media will not be the dominant format for mass media consumption in the future, there will still likely be some companies that will still have a print media audience at least for the next four to seven years.
2. Monetization of content over information delivery and communications platforms has not changed in decades. It won't change with the internet. There are three ways to monetize content on any platform: Ad-only, Subscription-only, and Ad-Subscription hybrid. Ad/Subscription hybrid -- not ad-only -- has been the predominant model used in content business for decades because ad-only models do not work. Just look to the content business on the internet -- that is proof of this.
People will pay for content on the internet because they already do, and have been for more than ten years. The key to this is to create something that they find of value to them. Nobody holds a gun to my head and makes me buy In Style magazine. I chose to. Create something of value to the user and they will pay for it. Value = something they can't easily get.
3. Monetization of services over platforms is subscription, value added service or subscription-value added service hybrid. Your home phone company makes little on your phone service, and a lot on things you opt to pay for like call waiting and three-way calls.
The internet is unique that it enables both communications and information delivery in one environment. No other platform can do this. What it means is that the new playing field has multiple types of business and multiple types of models in one. Which you choose depends on what you do -- if it's content, you monetize with the content models noted above. If its a service, you monetize with the service models noted above. If you want to do both, you can. If you do, you monetize with both as noted above.
These are the truisms of doing business over information delivery and communications platforms. Understand these and you are halfway to success on the internet no matter what your business is. From here, it's a marketing issue. I'll post about that next week.