Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
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Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Industry Note: Media Innovation, Or Why it Mostly Isn't

You know, Mark Cuban often has interesting things to say.

But lately, it seems like much of what he says is a not-so-veiled attack on, well, anything that threatens the fortunes of HDNet.

Here's his latest piece, which is almost Nick Carrian in the sheer cleverness of it's title - but, sadly, unlike Nick's pieces, is almost empty of insight.

The point is - wait.

Let me preface this by saying that it really tires me to have to say this over and over again.


The point is that YouTube's fortunes are prefaced on achieving deep strategic and business model innovation.

Mark is right - in a very limited way. If YouTube is just the same old broadcaster/publisher, well, then, it's Clear Channel.


But that's what we might call a tautology. It's a classic - and utterly specious - bit of circular reasoning, totally devoid of validity.

It's kind of like those people who said in 2001 that Google was just another search engine. Sure, it was - until it reinvented basically the entire business model for media for the next decade.

The bet that's been made on YouTube (and that YouTube is making) is the same. That it can, again, redefine the media business model for yet another decade - this time, for richer media, with greater depth, etc, etc.

And here's where we come full circle - because perhaps Mark, with a heavy investment in HDNet, has just a wee bit of a vested interest in making sure that new model never, ever sees the light of day.

You know, this is a nice case study of just why innovation in media is almost nonexistent. The old business model requires such onerous commitments that it will take decades to decay - and those who have invested in it will fight tooth and nail (viz, record labels, newspapers, etc) to go down with the ship.

As irrational as that sounds, it makes perfect sense - if the only thing you can see on the horizon are sharks.

-- umair // 12:24 AM // 1 comments


Umair, would you say that Yochai Benkler's thesis about non-commercial medai/art production competing and [likely] winning against 20th-century proprietary models has a lot or a little to do with the Google's YouTube play?

Thanks for addressing Cuban's article...he had me for a second there ;-)
// Blogger Ethan Bauley // 6:03 AM

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