Why media companies are hosed

I hate to keep pounding on this, but the essential problem for media companies is that we just aren’t special anymore. The Web views every site the same, and despite efforts by media companies to express their uniqueness, it just doesn’t work.

And the problem here is that advertisers don’t need media companies anymore. Take a look at Wal-Mart’s home page:

screenshot of walmart.com

Note the ads from Vonage and Chevrolet, but here’s where it gets really interesting. Below is data from Compete.com that shows that the Wal-Mart site crushes the New York Times and the Washington Post in terms of unique visitors.

Walmart's site does way more traffic that traditional media sites

The point is that Wal-Mart is a media site in that it sells its reach to advertisers, a reach that vastly exceeds two of the top newspaper sites in the world. This is why I keep harping on everybody that the future for local media companies lies beyond their own walled garden websites, and those who refuse to hear that (like, everybody) are sprinting to the tar pits.

Comments

  1. hold on

    advertisers don’t need newspapers
    newsmakers don’t need newspapers
    newsreaders don’t need newspapers

    but I heat with wood. How am I going to light my stove without newspapers?

  2. Your point is true, but Walmart.com does fall down a bit on some of their own product marketing. I’d been watching the rumors that the iPhone would be sold at Walmart. When it did, I checked their site just to see what kind of store locator they would have for it, since it’s not sold at all stores.

    Until today, you could actually get to a map with a single specific store on it if you clicked on the right links. Now, I don’t even find that. They do however offer a 48 page PDF text listing.

    On Sunday I took that PDF, spent about 4 hours parsing the data, and another 30 minutes to push it up to my combined iPhone store locator site and … iphone.whereimat.com now includes Walmart stores as well as Apple, AT&T, and Best Buy.

    Their IT guys get paid to do this and had weeks to prepare and all they could do was build a PDF file. I added their stores to an interactive map in 4 1/2 hours as a hobby.

  3. @ Peter
    I think you nailed it, when you said,

    advertisers don’t need newspapers
    newsmakers don’t need newspapers
    newsreaders don’t need newspapers

    But, don’t confuse newspapers with print. Print is still the best way to scan and search in the physcal world. As soon as the cell phone connection from the object to the cloud scales, everything is going to change .…again.

    Check out the december issue of martha Stewart Living. The print ads can be read by a cell phone which then delivers a website to the phone. Sooner or later, some newspaper people are going to figure out that the way to go is a 16- 24 page paper that mostly serves as a table of contents for info on the web. (Think of the Daily Briefs column in the Wall Street Journal.)

    I figure 3 pages of summaries and 3 pages of public service announcement and 10 pages of local ads. It’s all about “read for free, pay for print” and “local advertising for local print distribution.”

Trackbacks

  1. […] [UPDATE] Media consultant Terry Heaton picks up on the theme “that advertisers don’t need media companies anymore“, noting that Walmart’s website has more traffic than the two largest US newspapers combined,  concluding: The point is that Wal-Mart is a media site in that it sells its reach to advertisers, a reach that vastly exceeds two of the top newspaper sites in the world. This is why I keep harping on everybody that the future for local media companies lies beyond their own walled garden websites, and those who refuse to hear that (like, everybody) are sprinting to the tar pits. addthis_url = ‘http%3A%2F%2Fwww.shootingbynumbers.com%2F2008%2F12%2F31%2Fwho-let-the-big-dogs-out%2F’; addthis_title = ‘Who+let+the+big+dogs+out%3F’; addthis_pub = ”; […]

  2. […] Why media companies are hosed “Wal-Mart is a media site in that it sells its reach to advertisers, a reach that vastly exceeds two of the top newspaper sites in the world. This is why I keep harping on everybody that the future for local media companies lies beyond their own walled garden websites, and those who refuse to hear that (like, everybody) are sprinting to the tar pits.” […]

  3. […] [UPDATE] Media consultant Terry Heaton picks up on the theme “that advertisers don’t need media companies anymore“, noting that Walmart’s website has more traffic than the two largest US newspapers combined, concluding: The point is that Wal-Mart is a media site in that it sells its reach to advertisers, a reach that vastly exceeds two of the top newspaper sites in the world. This is why I keep harping on everybody that the future for local media companies lies beyond their own walled garden websites, and those who refuse to hear that (like, everybody) are sprinting to the tar pits. Tagged as: advertisers, audience, newsmakers […]

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