Monday, November 17th, 2014 | 3 min read
It hit me like a ton of bricks.
It was about a year ago. I was doing research for my book, Epic Content Marketing, on the valuations of particular media companies. Of course, I started with The New York Times.
At that time The New York Times had a little over a $2 billion dollar market capitalization. It hasn’t changed much (as of writing this, it’s valued at $2.14 billion).
Then I started to look at the available cash for a few well-known brands.
According to Bank of America US Trust division, Apple has $160 billion in cash-on-hand. Microsoft has $85 billion. For comparison’s sake, the US government has $49 billion in available cash.
So, arguably, the most prestigious media brand in the world could be bought 80 times over by Apple. It’s couch cushion change for Microsoft.
What does this mean? In our current economic model, there is no possible way media companies can raise the amount of capital needed to compete with non-media brands.
That doesn’t mean that media companies will go away. Far from it. (I actually believe we are currently seeing a renaissance in niche publishing.)
But it does mean that the content that consumers engage with on a regular basis will be coming from companies that aren’t asking for advertising or paid content.
Red Bull’s solo channel on Apple TV gives us a hint to this. So does Chipotle’s situation comedy, Farmed and Dangerous.
But this is nothing.
I expect the Coca-Colas of the world to stop sponsoring shows like American Idol and simply produce it themselves.
I expect the largest business trade shows in the world to be produced by brands.
I expect the majority of “Must-See TV” appointments being produced by brands.
Put on your media production hat. Set your sites on becoming the leading content producer for your niche. Stop with the content campaigns and tell consistent stories that evolve over time. Focus on delivering amazing experiences to your customers as often as possible through content. Start hiring and working with smart people that understand your audiences and know how to construct and produce and distribute stories. Begin an internal communications program to senior executives showing the importance of content marketing for the organization.
The path is right in front of you… and the time is now.
Joe Pulizzi is founder of Content Marketing Institute, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s third book, Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine.
If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange.
Connect with him on Twitter @JoePulizzi