Friday, May 7, 2010

Things I've learned -- media critic edition

Felix Salmon has a good, thoughtful take on the Newsweek sale, but before I link to it, I'd like to preface it with a few things I've learned writing about media for the past twenty years. They aren't specifically at Salmon's piece but they are relevant to the larger discussion:

1. Profits from newspapers and broadcasting were obscenely high for so long that anything less now seems like the end of the world;

2. Markets for traditional media are shrinking but the rate of decline is generally overstated by shoddy statistics;

2. Most failures in media are blamed on changes in markets and technology;

3. Most failures in media are caused by unrealistic business plans, poor management, and products that suck;

4. When reading expert opinions on media and business, remember that many of these experts predicted the death of networks in the Eighties and the success of online grocery shopping in the Nineties; these experts have lost none of their self-confidence.

Felix Salmon, on the other hand, is one of those experts whose confidence level is highly correlated to his track record. Check out his very shrewd analysis here.

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