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

The Holy Trinity - the Future of Media

Posted by Tom Foremski - September 21, 2007

images.jpg For a couple of years I've been working on this idea of a Holy Trinity of media. This is my model of how the media industry is transforming itself, and also how it is being disrupted.

The Holy Trinity of media is my way of forecasting the 3 key characteristics of all future media companies. But it is not a precise prediction.

The interesting aspect is that right now, there is no media company out there that is taking advantage of all three components. Which means that there is a very good business opportunity here.

The Holy Trinity of media is represented by the combination of: professional media; citizen media, and smart machine media.

The combination of professional journalists working within their communities to bring out the citizen stories, combined with savvy algorithms harvesting Internet content, will produce very successful media companies.

This Holy Trinity of professionals, plus citizens, plus machine collected media a la Google, will become the model for every future media company.

But it is not that simple. What is the killer formula?

Is it 30 per cent professionally produced media, 30 per cent citizen/blogger media, and 40 per cent machine media such as Google News? Or as my friend Tom Abate over at the SF Chronicle points out, is the formula for a media company different in different industry sectors? We don't know, which is great because we can figure this stuff out, and in the process, figure out new types of media businesses.

A related metaphor for what is going on in the media industry is gunpowder. It consists of three simple components, each one is stable and inert on its own: Charcoal, sulphur and potassium nitrate. If you get the formula wrong, it fizzles, when you get it right it is explosive.

If you can get the 3 components of media just right, you can build very valuable media companies very quickly.

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