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

Why Silicon Valley is Media Valley: And Why Japan Is Interested...

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 21, 2008

For about three years now I've been talking about how Silicon Valley is transforming into "Media Valley" because our brightest, and our fastest growing companies are, according to my metrics, media companies.

Companies such as Google, Yahoo, eBay, Facebook, Digg are all media companies. They publish pages of content with advertising around it.

These are not technology companies but rather technology-enabled media companies. And this is a key distinction.

I've been writing about this change for about three years, and how the center of the media industry is shifting from New York city to Silicon Valley.

Our media industry is thriving and expanding, their (NYC) media industry is shrinking (as one example New York Times last week announced 100 newsroom job cuts).

Initially, only a couple of people picked up on my Media Valley concept, a couple of journalism professors at NYU. But gradually, over the past couple of years, more and more people have grown to understand this perspective.

This has been especially evident within the Japanese media community. Last year, I was featured in Nikkei business magazine, Japan's largest business magazine. And today (Wednesday), a four-person TV crew flew in from one of Japan's largest TV channels and interviewed me for three hours on this topic.

[I took some video that I will post very shortly, of them interviewing me, about the media industry. I love talking to the media about the media industry, but it always feels a little (sometimes a lot) Alice-in-Wonderland-ish, a hall of mirrors effect.]

In my world, I see everything as a media technology, and as a media strategy. I've said this before many times: Every company is now a media company to a greater degree than ever before. Even if a company makes steel, or napkins. Every company publishes to its customers, staff, partners, neighbors, to itself. It had better master the two-way media technologies that we now have or it will not survive.

Three years ago, when I would write about this, few people understood. Now, this is becoming better understood. But only slightly, which means there is still a lot of work to be done to help organizations understand this fundamental sea change.

And we, in Silicon (Media) Valley, are best positioned to help educate others about what is going on. It is happening not because we say it is but because it just is.

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