Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Silicon Valley has become Media Valley - someone should tell NYC

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 24, 2007

 Silicon Valley is rapidly turning into Media Valley--and New York, NY should look out--the capital of the media world is shifting about 3,000 miles westwards.

Some of Silicon Valley's largest companies are media companies: Google, Yahoo, EBay, for example are media companies--they publish pages of content and advertising around it.

Some of the most interesting and most valuable new Silicon Valley companies, such as Youtube, Facebook are based here in Northern California. So is Craigslist, the seventh largest online media company in the English language world (in terms of traffic).

Take a look at Business 2.0's 25 startups to watch and look at how many of these mostly "social" media and advertising companies and are based in the Bay Area:18. Only two are based in New York.

Masters of the Universe

But if you work in Manhattan you feel at the center of the media universe. Midtown and the Avenue of the Americas is where the capital of the media industry has sat for many decades.

Whenever I am in New York, it feels as if I am in the coolest, the most media saviest place in the world. Just as in the famous New Yorker magazine cover, in which New York is depicted large and the Rest of the World is shown as distant, small, and uninteresting, that's the way it feels to me when I'm there.

As a media professional, New York has always been a mecca, where I love to be. It was one of the perks and attractions of working at the Financial Times that our US HQ was smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, in the ITT building, and I loved those opportunities of working in New York.

Which leads me to my point, New York's media industry doesn't see the shift that is going on because it feels as if it is master of its universe. It has noticed that its business models are under tremendous pressure but it hasn't noticed the shift westwards, the competition in Silicon Valley and in Santa Monica.

Google, Yahoo, Ebay, etc, are keen to portray themselves as technology companies rather than media companies--it is much more conductive to establishing partnerships and ad network deals in which they benefit far more than their old school media partners. If they were seen as more media company than technology company, I'm sure things would be different.

The New York Times, for example, would not give over its online front page to Google AdSense, which means Google owns the advertisor relationship ("if you would like to advertise on this site click here").

If Google were seen more as a media company the partnership advertising deals would be a lot different.

Our media industry is growing

Which is why our media industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Last time I looked New York's media industry was contracting, facing lower revenues, layoffs and a confused future. But still building skyscrapers(!)   New York Architecture Images- Times Tower.

Let me help out the New York media industry...

Five basic rules for media company success:

-Tomorrow's media industry is all about being technology-enabled and community-powered.

-Get your content as near-to-free as you can with machine harvesters such as spiders and searchbots.

-Use algorithms and community-power (also nearly free) to organize the content.

-Publish it widely and in many forms (video, podcasts, etc) through the amazing scale that the global internet provides and that our media technologies (RSS, media platforms, TCP/IP, etc) provide.

-And remember Foremski's First Law of New Media: Content is infinitely scalable.

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