The Future of Media is Integrated

Posted on July 28, 2007
Filed Under OMG! Old Media is Dying! |

With all the debate about new media versus old media, I figured it was time to discuss in greater detail where I believe media is going. It isn’t new media or old media; it’s integrated media. I am not the originator of the concept, but it is one that I am convinced represents the future of media.

What is Integrated Media?

For simplicity’s sake, if we define media as content (information in various forms) distributed through a medium, integrated media is content distributed through multiple mediums in an integrated fashion. An integrated media company, therefore, is the media industry equivalent of a multi-channel retailer. Whereas a multi-channel retailer sells products through multiple channels (catalogs, stores, TV, the Internet, etc.), an integrated media company distributes content through multiple channels (television, radio, print, the Internet, etc.). The crucial component, however, is integration. Integrated media requires that a specific content property effectively leverage the multiple mediums that property is distributed through in a coherent, seamless fashion.

Why is Integrated Media the Future?

I believe that integrated media is the future of media because:

Integrated media addresses these market dynamics and:

The implications of these three things for integrated media companies are:

American Idol: A Case Study in Integrated Media

I believe that American Idol represents a great case study for integrated media. American Idol has the following:

All of these components are integrated in a coherent fashion to create a media property that offers consumers a variety of ways to interact with the property in multiple mediums. Additionally, each component of the property has the capacity to generate revenues. Advertisers and sponsors involved get to exercise a considerable amount of creativity in developing innovative campaigns where their brands become a part of the consumer experience across these multiple mediums. This makes American Idol a brand marketer’s paradise.

Who is Best Positioned to Take Advantage of Integrated Media?

American Idol is owned by CKX, Inc., an entertainment company founded in 1986. CKX is more likely to be considered an old media company despite the fact that it clearly gets new media too. Many technologists often seem ignorant to the fact that old media companies like Viacom and News Corp. are actually pretty darn savvy when it comes to new media.

In my opinion, old media companies are much better equipped to capitalize on the opportunities afforded by integrated media for a number of reasons:

None of this means that old media companies will hold a monopoly on integrated media, but old media companies do have some significant advantages. In my opinion, the biggest disadvantage technology-oriented media companies have at the moment is that they truly believe old media is dying. When Silicon Valley types proclaim that Hollywood will be taken over by Silicon Valley, it’s a reflection of a certain level of arrogance on the part of technology-oriented individuals who again often don’t really understand what the media business is about.

How to Take Advantage of the Integrated Media Opportunity

Developing an integrated media property is admittedly not easy. The barriers to entry can be quite high. For instance, if you want to develop a property that leverages television, you obviously need access in the television industry to have any realistic chance at succeeding.

Individuals and startups looking to develop integrated media properties should focus on two things:


Let the old media and new media proponents argue all they want. The future belongs to those who take a holistic approach to the media business and recognize the huge opportunities that integrated media presents.

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One Response to “The Future of Media is Integrated”

  1. Kevin on July 29th, 2007 6:40 pm

    brilliant stuff! makes a lot of sense….

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