<a href="http://beyondbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/publishers-smile.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-3224" src="http://beyondbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/publishers-smile-150x150.jpg" alt="publishers smile" width="150" height="150" /></a>A couple of months ago <a href="http://beyondbridges.net/2014/11/smiling-curve/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">I wrote an extension</a> to a piece by <a href="http://www.stratechery.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Thompson at Stratchery</a>. The original article clearly positions ‘content delivery’ at the low end of the value curve. Moreover, it is clear that though it was written from a specific point of view, you still can't avoid the fact that as social, digital, mobile increasingly take hold, 'delivery' has been relegated to a ‘bit part’.

Corollary – if you believe that your business is ‘content delivery’ – I would suggest you stop – even step back for a minute – and think about the inevitability of a challenging business front.

Search (and the associated bubbles) aside – we are seeing

  • Medium turning itself into a full bore publisher
  • Paper.li developing a very interesting model that sits atop of Twitter

… and so many many more … including Jeff Bezos buying The Washington Post. If that wasn’t a sign of changing times, I don’t know what is.

First, the focused publications world is indeed rich – but by the very definition – is also fractured – which provides us with an opportunity.

Organizations like EBSCO and TEN to name just two are just the start – and in fact if you think how large publishers like Lee or Gannett operate – they essentially own the niche markets for geography – and are already pushing out into the opposite ends of the smiling curve – as well as embracing technology.

The real competition to publishers is not our traditional competitors – but the disrupters that are coming out of technology – the Publishing industry has been disrupted – much as books, film, music, ticketing, taxis, cars, transport, vacations, loyalty … and the traditional companies that are winning in those spaces are the ones that embraced the technology change – not resisted it.

Competitive advantage is that digital print and online content companies are now one. Neither are going anywhere soon, but the space and the way they operate is a moving target.