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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - November 2019

Publishers, you need to think like fashion companies

There is a question that people in the media industry have started asking. It is, "now that we have so many publishers doing subscriptions, when will we reach the point of subscription fatigue?" ...Or, "now that we have so many podcasts ...when will we reach the point of podcast fatigue? ...Or newsletter fatigue? ...Or streaming services fatigue?"

My answer to this is really simple: We won't!

The problem is that we are thinking about it the wrong way. What is happening is that we are moving from one type of reality to another. In the old days, we lived with media scarcity. There were always only a few movies you could watch in the evening; there were always only a few newspapers relevant to your area, and you only had about 5-10 radio channels that you would ever really consider listening to.

And, in this space, we spent a lot of time thinking about which one to pick.

However, today we live in a world of abundance. We don't have 10 radio channels anymore, we have 100,000 podcasts to pick. We don't only have a few movies to watch, we have the entire Netflix, Google Play, HBO, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu libraries (just to name a few)... as well as another 100,000 YouTube and Twitch channels.

This creates an entirely new reality. A reality where trying to figure what to pick from the whole (which is impossible) is replaced by the same type of reality we see in so many other markets.

One good way to understand what this means is to compare the media industry to the fashion industry ... and the way people buy fashion.

So, let's talk about that.

The media world has become a fashion world

As some of you know, I know a lot about the fashion industry, because that was where I worked before I became a media analyst (many years ago).

And one of the things that is fascinating about fashion is how similar it actually is to how publishers work.

Now, obviously, there are differences between fashion companies and media companies. For one thing, fashion companies are not trying to 'keep those in power to account'. Nor are they spending every day reporting about crime or corruption.

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What is Baekdal?

Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

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


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