Traditional media is merging with social

I recently attended a doctoral thesis defense of Anna Viljakainen, who has been studying the shift from goods dominant logic (GDL) to service dominant logic (SDL) in the Nordic media industry.

Anna Viljakainen

Anna Viljakainen

According to Asle Rolland (Viljakainen, 2015) the value of journalism in the world of mass communication has based on the assumption that access to exclusive information is what creates value for the customer and to media themselves, and the most valuable kind of information has been the first release.

The tradional media industry has been mainly focused on selling goods, such as copies of print magazines, advertisements and recorded media, and measuring them by reach of audiences and number of transactions.

However, because of the proliferation of social media, the consumers have more alternatives for finding and experiencing the information, the corner stone of media industrys GDL strategy has started eroding. In response, the industry has started to servitize their offering by including reader generated content as well as offering additional services for magazine subscribers, such as discussion boards on their web properties.

Many magazines, such as Cosmopolitan and Olivia in Finland have gone as far as having virtually no editorial content at all. Almost all the material in these brands are either created by readers or by advertisers both online and in print. The role of editorial staff has been reduced into curators of said content.

At the same time, social media giants, such as the Facebook have started to diversify themselves from single destinations into variety of brands. The Facebook for example owns WhatsApp and Instagram properties.

To me, it seems like the field of media is converging into a brand driven, curated social media, where the both the content and the consumption experience is co-produced with the brands and the readers. The attention of readers (or users) has started to revolve around interesting topics or articles, rather than within a media or a medium.

Thus, probably within a decade the distinction between the traditional media industry and social media has vanished because of the shift from GDL to SDL in the media industry and platformization of the social media from the other end.

To keep the traditional media industry in the game, Viljakainen identifies that a new method a new method of measurement, a currency, where reach and effectiveness of each media can be scaled against each other is needed. Here the work is only starting, but Viljakainen might be onto something big.

(Viljakainen, 2005):

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