In this edition of the newsletter, we are going to talk about three exciting things:
If you were to ask me what comes next after mobile? as in, what is the next big focus area for publishers? my answer is that it's the market for 'on-demand'.
Obviously, this is a bit of a weird statement, because it's not like mobile is going to be replaced. But if you think about the progression of media over the years, we have gone from print, to digital, to mobile (and social), and now the trend points toward the next focus being 'on-demand'.
This is not a trend that has just emerged. It has been around for a long time, but we are now seeing a shift in the market.
The question is, what do we mean when we say 'on-demand media' or 'on-demand news'? Is it just when you ask for news on Amazon Alexa? ...or is there much more to it?
The answer is that it's many things, and in my latest Plus article, I talk about the concept that drives this trend and the focus that you need as publishers.
Read: "What the Heck is On-Demand News?"
As a media analyst, I obviously love data, and I use it every single day. I also often talk about data, and when I do so, people automatically assume that I mean 'violating people's privacy', because that is the association that people now have.
However, when GDPR came into effect, I implemented a system on Baekdal Plus that allows me to track what people do on my site, while also not tracking who those people are.
The result is a 100% privacy focused form of analytics that works quite well.
In this article, I will explain how I made this, in my hope that you and other publishers will be inspired by it. Because, we need to get rid of those nasty GDPR consent dialogs.
So, TikTok is 'exploding' in the west, and has caught the attention of many in the media industry. This has then led to the age old problem of people saying that it is 'dethroning YouTube' as Axios put it.
Now, I love Axios and I think that Sara Fischer is doing an excellent job, but we are not talking the same market. YouTube and TikTok are not competing against each other.
This is one of my pet peeves when it comes to how we in the media talk about the market. We still think of it as just one big market, when in reality it's actually many separate markets.
For video platforms, we really have three distinct markets.
These markets are not defined by the content, but by the type of moment that we have with them. And here, the short-form snacks that are TikTok have very little in common with the often 20-50 minute videos from creators on YouTube.
They are not even remotely the same, and as such, it makes no difference how big TikTok is compared to what is happening on YouTube.
Obviously, all platforms compete on time. There are only 24 hours each day, so whatever time you spent on one thing, will require you to spend less time on other things.
But this is not unique to YouTube and TikTok, nor directly relatable. For instance, if you are very pressed for time and stressed out, you will also buy more fast-food rather than spend an hour cooking, and we also know that people who have that type of moment, tend to snack more on media. So is TikTok dethroning cooking?
See what I mean?
Another pet peeve I have when we talk about the media market is the assumption that 'there can only be one'. This assumption is backed up repeatedly by, for instance, studies that tell you that people really only pay for one source of news.
But this is not what the digital market is like at all. Instead, we live in a world of multiples. A world where people pick and pay for multiple things all at once.
But, wait-a-minute, you say. How can that be when we, in studies, can clearly see that people are only willing to pay for a single source of news?
Well, because we in the media still make news as a mass-market product where it makes no sense to buy more than one. Every newspaper is essentially the same, so why buy two?
But think about all the other markets for media, and how people interact with them.
A simple example. How many podcasts are you following? Just one? ... Or a lot of them?
How many different YouTube channels do you subscribe to? Just one? ... Or many?
If you are using Twitch, how many different streamers have you donated or subscribed to? Just one ... or several?
What about Discord channels? Do you subscribe to just one...or many?
You see what I'm getting at here?
The real digital market, the one defined by the digital natives, is designed as a world where you can pick, pay, subscribe, follow, and focus on many separate things.
And the reason why you subscribe to so many different podcasts is because each one is uniquely focused in different ways, so you pick several that match what you like.
This is also why we fail to do the same in the media industry, because as a newspaper, your entire product is designed to be this generalized (non-focused) product.
It's not the market that defines this, the market wants variation, it's caused by the product that the newspapers have created.
So, no... TikTok is not dethroning YouTube, and no, there is not just one media market. Instead, the real market is incredibly varied ... which BTW also leads back to my Plus article above about the trend for 'on-demand' :)
Remember this the next time you hear someone talking about the media market.
Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter
"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé