GigaOm abruptly 'ceases operations' as a new wave of media industry disruption hits

The rapid shift to mobile is one of the challenges facing new media companies...
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor


Above, at the recent Crunchies Awards, Om Malik, founder of GigaOm (right) is told by Mike Arrington, founder of news site Techcrunch, that there's far more money in investing in startups than there is in publishing.

The management of GigaOm, the San Francisco-based publisher of tech focused web sites, has abruptly "ceased operations."

GigaOm was founded by Om Malik (above, right). The following notice was posted:

A brief note on our company

Gigaom recently became unable to pay its creditors in full at this time. As a result, the company is working with its creditors that have rights to all of the company's assets as their collateral. All operations have ceased. We do not know at this time what the lenders intend to do with the assets or if there will be any future operations using those assets. The company does not currently intend to file bankruptcy. We would like to take a moment and thank our readers and our community for supporting us all along.

-- Gigaom management

Foremski's Take: One of the biggest disappointments of this Internet Age is that we still do not have a value-recovery mechanism for good quality media content. A click is a click is a click - but it's not, some media content is much better than others.

But we have no rewards mechanism to support the creation of more great media content.We still have no satisfactory business model that can save the media industry from the disruptive economic forces of the web, that continue to hound its shrinking news rooms and dwindling pools of exhausted professionals.

It's not just the old media but also the new media companies that are squarely in the path of this disruption. [GigaOm's Matthew Ingram, its Media beat reporter, totally missed this one. He is a constant critic of traditional media businesses versus new media's paperless "advantage."]

Mobile is killing media...

The shift to mobile is extremely disruptive to new media titles because it is happening much faster than the transition from print to digital (which is still in progress).

The problem with mobile media is that it's near impossible to monetize via adverts that earn one-tenth that of desktop ads, which earn one-tenth of print ads.

The collapse in ad revenues due to mobile users, is a key reason Say Media, a very innovativeSan Francisco based publisher and advertising network, has been selling its titles, such as tech site Read Write. It has pivoted into a technology company with its Tempest content management system.

GigaOm's demise brings up questions if other sites can survive, such as VentureBeat which shares much of the same audience.

Kara Swisher, co-founder of Re/Code, said late last year that the tech news site is not yet profitable following its split from Dow Jones a year ago.

Unless you are Buzzfeed, Gawker or Business Insider - you can't make a living as an independent publisher from ads because the traffic numbers required are out of reach. And it's getting worse.

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