Michael Wolf: Join an Attacker or a Defender?
May 29, 2008
Until January 2007, Michael Wolf was president and COO of MTV Networks and before that lead partner in McKinsey’s global media and entertainment practice. He is also author of The Entertainment Economy: How Mega-Media Forces Are Transforming Our Lives.
I saw Michael at TechTalk Menorca shortly after his non-compete clause from MTV expired.
Should Michael go offensive or defensive?
Michael views the media world as divided between Defenders (traditional media) and Attackers (upstarts like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, etc).
Defenders’ comprehension problem
The problem is that too few traditional media companies understand that they need to get more involved with their users than just delivering content, Michael said.
Defenders’ structural problem
Traditional media must learn to eat its own lunch to find the next meal. The structural problem is that established media companies have lines of revenue, expectations of profit and shareholders who want a good return. This makes it easier for a start-up to steal revenue lines than for a traditional media company adapt.
There is hope! (sort of)
As the economy gets worse, traditional media companies will be pressured to make necessary changes.
Working to change an old media company could be fun
“The real challenge is to go to a place that has not made the transition and drive it,” Wolf said.
And some traditional media companies have changed
News Corporation is an example of a company that has embraced changes and beyond just purchasing MySpace.com. Almost all News Corp properties. Fox News has a large web presence, while ESPN is a magazine, online property and a mobile presence. News Corp leveraged big franchises like American Idol to create this large presence on the Internet.
But joining an Attacker offers tremendous fun
Michael is on the board of Jack Hidary‘s iAmplify, a video syndication company that has built a library of more than 25,000 hours of expert generated video. He describes the business as going gangbusters and showing what creation of a new distribution channel can do for traditional video.
Michael’s bottom line?
“I am looking for companies where it is really possible to redefine the business and own a category.”