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Jack Myers on his Vision for MediaVillage and the Future of Media - Bonus Epi 13
Mar 8, 2018 · 11 min
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Bonus Episode - in this very special bonus issue extracted from Episode 11, E.B. Moss, Managing Editor of MediaVillage, zeroes in on Jack Myers' point of view on the future of media, and how and why he came create MediaVillage

E.B. Moss: Welcome to, well, your Insider InSites!

Jack Myers: Congratulations on such a successful podcast and for taking MediaVillage in to a whole new audio domain.

E.B. Moss: To those listening, it might've sounded like I was trying to flatter you, but when you hear a little bit more from Jack -- the founder of MediaVillage -- you'll understand my appreciation. So, let's get some insights....

E.B. Moss: Let me read more of your bio: “Jack Myers is an author, media ecologist, and visionary whose years of leadership in the media industry has garnered immense respect and admiration. Jack has studied, reported and consulted on the impact of technological advances on culture, society, business, education, politics, entertainment, and relationships. He's produced multiple award-winning films and has become a leading expert and speaker on a societal transformation being driven by technology and led by a post-millennial generation that he considers to be the next great generation.”

Wow, Jack. I've known you for maybe half of those many years in the industry, and I know you've done even more than that. You've even authored five books. Can you first fill in some of the blanks about your personal history?

Jack Myers: Well, you know, I did not have a television in my home until I was seven years old. My parents really didn't believe in TV; they believed in reading, but they also had a radio, which I remember as being a really big floor model radio. I actually remember sitting there as a kid and listening to radio programs and being completely engaged, and they came alive. But then, when I was seven as soon as that television came in to the house... I just became passionate about television. I loved it. I loved everything about it. I would watch it from first thing in the morning until I went to school, and then when I came home, it'd go on. And it still does.

E.B.: Let's talk a little bit about the future of media. Clearly, those are your core chops where you are best known. Now that we're entering 2018, which I can't believe, where do we see the media world going, Jack? And I know that you don't exactly rely on a crystal ball; you're pretty smart, but you also have a history of research and marketplace assessment. So, between that and all the people you know and your insights, what can you tell us?

Jack Myers: Well, E.B., as you know, I started working on the concept of MediaVillage ... It was 2002. It was very early and Ed Martin was involved...

E.B. Moss: Our Editor.

Jack Myers: ...Our editor. And Maryann Teller, who's our Chief Administrative Officer at MediaVillage, was involved. But MediaVillage does, in many ways, reflect what I believe is the future of media, which is as data and analytics become more and more prominent, as the business of media buying/selling/planning moves more and more toward programmatic and toward automated models, as we move more in to the internet, more in to digital, and we move further and further away from relationships, maintaining the village -- the media village -- will really be the solution for a lot of companies to maintain their relationships.

So, the idea of MediaVillage was to give everyone in the industry an equal opportunity to have a voice and to have a voice of thought leadership. Not just to have a voice of what are their numbers, what does the data say, but what do they think? What do they feel? What are their realities? What are the opportunities? And to put it in a context where they each control their own environment, but yet they're a part of a village. So I look at MediaVillage as a community. And at the center of the community is a town square, and in that town square is our [journalists] like you - You're in the town square. Stuart Elliott's in the town square. Charlene Weisler, Simon Applebaum, Brian Jacobs, Bill Harvey. Our thought leaders, and then their homes. Crown Media has its own home. YouTube has its home. Every company has its home. And in that home is where their executives and their others can share their thoughts and then we, at MediaVillage, can spread their thoughts out to the rest of the community and all the other homes. So GroupM, and Mindshare, and Omnicom, and IPG, and Publicis have their homes within MediaVillage.

It's the place where the industry can connect on thinking, on thought, on ideas, on creativity, and on relationships. We then pull them together into different events and communities and activities. So, I believe that the biggest challenge we have in terms of our future is that we become so data-centric and so analytic and algorithmic in our focus that we lose sight of what's really built our community, which is relationships.

E.B. Moss: So, we have to humanize, we have to add personality to every media brand, let's say, and sounds like we have to be one to one at scale in a way. Yes?

Jack Myers: Yeah. One to one at scale and I also think everyone wants to be a part of our community or any community needs to have a voice, and they need that voice to be amplified. That's what we do at MediaVillage.

And we do a lot of research to help them understand what the perceptions are. We look at MediaVillage as being a perceptions engine.

What I've discovered through this process is almost every major industry spends a tremendous amount of money on self-awareness...on market research both in the consumer and in their B2B community. Almost every other industry spends a tremendous amount invested in thought leadership content and communicating their executive point of view, whether it's through social media or through long form communication. Then they spend a lot on advertising to get that message out there. Well, the advertising part of it has collapsed because B2B media has declined at a rate faster than newspapers. The opportunities for community through conferences ... It's like the old Yogi Berra line. "No one goes there anymore." It's too crowded. Talking about CES, of course. Then on the research side, our industry incredibly under-invests on the B2B side.

B2B needs to be reinvented, and that's what we've done at MediaVillage. We've reinvented B2B, and I believe the model we've created at MediaVillage will be expanded out to many other industries. We've put the market research and insights, together with the content strategy, together with the content creation, which you lead, E.B.. Then what our real secret sauce is is the actual village that we've built where each of our member companies has their own home, their own place where their thought leadership is archived, centered, and becomes a destination.

E.B. Moss: Last question, Jack. Do you think that we are contraction-proof? How's the industry going to fare with all of this consolidation?

Jack Myers: No one is contraction-proof. The expansion that's happened over the last two decades is slowing. With the consolidation with Scripps and Discovery, the consolidation with Fox and Disney, and the consolidation in the adtech and mar-tech side, we're going to go from about 15,000 companies down to about 500 in the next decade.

E.B. Moss: Wow.

Jack Myers: Of those 500, about 50 will actually be meaningful and relevant to the industry. So, the winners and losers from the VC side are going to be significant and challenging over the next several years. Picking the winners and the losers on the martech and adtech side is going to be a really interesting process.

And of course, Google, Facebook, Amazon are the three-legged stool that is supporting the industry. When you look at those three companies, almost individually they equal or surpass the combined value of Disney/ABC, of Fox, of CBS, of NBCU/Comcast ... So the legacy media players and the digital media players are going to have to have some kind of reckoning on Wall Street in terms of where the power really is, and what the value of the legacy media distribution models are...and which are working, and which are not in the future.

E.B. Moss: Well, a couple of years ago, when you first invited me to write for you and last year when you gave me this position, you said, "Hitch your wagon to this star. We're going places." I think that I picked the man who knows how to pick the winners. So if we're going through that consolidation, Jack Myers, I'm sticking with you. Thank you for joining me today on your podcast for MediaVillage.

Jack Myers: And if I can get the last word, the colleagues that you work with, here, at MediaVillage are really a small and very exceptional and hardworking team. It's really you and they who are driving it forward now. I just step back and watch with joy and pleasure and excitement.

E.B. Moss: Aww, this is why he's a great boss, too. Thank you, Jack Myers.

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