publishers smileA couple of months ago I wrote an extension to a piece by Ben Thompson at Stratchery. 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.