BuzzFeed’s vision for the future of media is little more than consensus

When disruptors become incumbents entrenched in the status quo

BuzzFeed’s CEO sent out his annual memo to employees, and it’s a great read. I’ve summarized* it for you as follows…

Despite an articulate summary of the current media landscape, the real “insight” buried in there was his discussion about the future of media and BuzzFeed’s strategy to inherit it…

“ these digital advantages unlocked benefits for consumers:

1/ Instant access to fresh content;

2/ On-demand access to entire media libraries;

3/ Nearly free distribution enabling many free ad-supported services;

4/ Global distribution providing access to content from every market;

5/ Data about audiences allowing personalization and customization of content experience;

6/ A feedback loop between audiences and content creators making media production more dynamic and responsive;

7/ Social experiences where people can use content to communicate and connect with the people who matter to them and weave media into their daily lives

These are all true, or more accurately, “truisms,” and that’s the heart of the problem…

  1. All of these “advantages” are now part of the status quo — table stakes;
  2. There are no barriers-to-entry for any upstart to leverage those same “advantages”

While adoption has been slow, the early-movers in Media 2.0 have already won the race to scale. Now, even the disruptors like BuzzFeed are incumbents in the new normal. That means they must identify and pursue new innovative strategies that at least defend their businesses with structural differentiation and formidable barriers-to-entry. The gold rush is over, the mines have been picked-clean; sustainability depends on how you invest your new-found wealth.

Now, it’d be naive to expect this mass email to lay bare the double-secret plans of BuzzFeed’s generals. However, it’s notable for being an apt characterization of consensus – among both traditional and new media.

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