The media industry's Death Card in Mary Meeker's Internet trends deck

The media industry's Death Card in Mary Meeker's Internet trends deck

Summary: The future looks extra bad for the media industry with the switch to mobile -- it's a case study in how disruptive technologies disrupt -- no matter what you do.


Former Wall Street analyst Mary Meeker this week published her annual analysis of Internet trends and market projections. It's useful data, especially all the charts and numbers that are often reused in tens of thousands of startup business plans. The section that interests me the most is in mobile media and mobile advertising. There is a massive revenue chasm for media companies in the mobile space.

Pew Research and others have noted the fast pace of change towards mobile devices in peoples' access to news and other media. But media companies make five times less from mobile advertising

It's hard enough for media companies to transition to a digital business model, which produces one-tenth the ad revenue of print. Now with their readers' rush to mobile, they face a further massive loss in advertising revenue! Here is the problem facing media companies and the move to mobile in Meeker's deck:


The media industry is unable to monetize the ad opportunity in mobile by tens of billions of dollars!

If Google is having trouble monetizing mobile, imagine how hard it must be for traditional media companies. This is a very serious issue. Is it because tiny ads don't work? Or that we haven't managed to create a mobile ad format that works? Or maybe media on mobile devices can't be monetized by media companies through advertising no matter how clever and innovative?

I think it's the latter and that makes life even tougher for media companies in transition. Matt Sanchez, CEO of Say Media is right: mobile is killing media. 

(Disruptive technologies disrupt even when you see the train wreck ahead of you on the tracks — there isn't much you can do.)

Here is Joshua Benton at Nieman Labs on the Meeker data: The scariest chart in Mary Meeker’s slide deck for newspapers has gotten a little scarier

Topics: Social Enterprise, Mobile OS

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  • ads i general have priblems

    The audience is more savvy, online shops already offer suggestions, alternatives and the ability to actually make valid comparisons.

    Marketing is about lying and ramming products down throats.

    I don't buy any printed media, I don't watch adverts on tv and I use an advert blocker on the inet.

    Why would anyone want to watch, or click on, an advert?
  • Correct

    Exactly zero people want advertising. Some will tolerate it.

    However, the problem remains that there must be some communication mechanism that links seller and buyer so that buyers know what is available for sale at what price. Without such communication commerce is definitely decreased.

    I block ads on the internet everywhere I can, on my router at home, on my laptops and desktops in browsers, on my phone with custom hosts files. Almost the only ads I see on TV are on live sporting events.

    While that's no solution to the seller/buyer communication problem, it makes my life more peaceful.
  • Huh?

    Every time a new technology comes along someone says that it's the end of the world for the established players. But in the end, it turns out like the R.E.M. song - "and they feel fine".

    Look at cable vs. broadcast vs. streaming (or more properly as it is evolving "Internet TV". Funny how many of these "channels" are actually in the hands of one of the big four media companies NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX. Yes, Comcast owns NBC-Universal and Disney owns ABC. But I'd hazard that while the old guard from Comcast still manages the "get the wire to your house" side it's the guys from NBC really running the show. And similar paths for the others. And yes, Internet TV will make life miserable for broadcasters for a while (like cable initially did) but they will figure out how to play (can you say "retransmission rules") and life will go on.

    The wild card is Google, which is controlling more and more of the advertising market - and indirectly more than the online market. But they are starting to hit the wall already ("antitrust" has been batted around WAY too much for their own good, and the EU sharks are starting to sense blood in the water) so how much longer will that last in this form.

    And look for one of the big four to hedge their bet with streaming like NBC did being absorbed by Comcast. A company like Roku would be an excellent target. Or perhaps a formal alliance with Apple which would blow up Apple TV and get the others to hop on quickly. But in the end, the original players end up doing just fine. Always have.

    They watched the platform shift almost kill recorded music and don't want to play that game again. That shift from traditional broadcast to cable did some of that but retransmission stopped that (and Congress not wanting us to pay for the Super Bowl). Now notice how fast cable outlets are trying to get into streaming?

    The other wild card are the mobile carriers. What's to say that one of the big four doesn't do an end-around and an alliance (or merger) with one? It will happen, for the same reason.

    And pooh on the ad thing she bases this on. Whoever can provide the most eyeballs will get the ads. And when the four majors start playing, even Google will have to acquiesce. Google may have the ads, but the big four will have the eyeballs. They will work it out.
  • Print Media's Problems

    Dead tree media problem is not ad revenues but competition. Everyone online has more sources for news and information. So, one is not as dependent on the local fish-wrap or TV news for information. Competition dilutes the value of ad on any specific site or media. Ads will follow the eye-balls; so if the eye-balls are here they are not on the fish-wrap's site.

    Some purveyors of fish-wrap will make the transition to the digital world. Others will fold. It will take time. Also, much the fish-wrap hand wringing ignores the fact that many fish-wraps have come and gone in most markets.