Media company profitability in 2013

Much of the conversation in media companies still hangs on how the organization defines what it means to be digital first. Often, it seems, the conversation keeps going, but no meaningful action occurs at any level despite agreeing that transformation must happen.

As the first quarter winds down and organizations have already adapted for sustainability in 2012, the focus at all levels of the business must now turn to profitability and survivability in 2013 based on the known economic uncertainties.

Rather than debate the meaning of digital first and why we’re still asking that question today, what will organizations – especially media – do in the next nine months so more doors aren’t closed come 2013?

Here is my two-step approach:

The business becomes the ecosystem

Collaboration, experimentation and driving shared value will spur revenue¬† growth. I use Dion Hinchcliffe to further my point when he says, “the value is in sustaining dynamic relationships and not fixed transactions.

I think most understand the fixed way of running the business of a newspaper, TV station, a startup or whatever doesn’t apply any longer and certainly won’t in the near future. The company must be smartly connected to customers, users, partners and its employees via digital ecosystems to create networked impact.

“Being able to elicit the network (Internet, community, shared data, whatever) to maximum effect to fuel and grow your ecosystem is thus the core competency of the digital era,” Hinchcliffe says.

Shift resources to meet the new digital strategy

Defining a digital strategy seems to be a daunting task. General guidance around the business objectives of an organization with a keen sense of audience metrics may be enough.

Using Hinchcliffe again to spur conversation, he offers a 34-point list of elements to organize the digital strategy around. It includes some of the initiatives already underway including e-commerce, mobile operations, video and content management.

Ultimately, it will be up to each individual organization to determine the viability of each of those elements. But, if nothing else, start with some and shift resources now to build a more sustainable digital businesses before the window of opportunity closes.

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