Eventually, Accountability Comes Knockin’

“Magazine ad pages have been down slightly this year, and newspaper revenues have been tanking. But the problem might not be the medium, the readership or even that pesky shift of reader attention and marketer dollars to digital. It might just be the poor quality of print ads…”

This is an interesting article, even if you don’t care at all about advertising. It is becoming increasingly clear to me (and too slowly to the people who matter) that this is all about quality. Not delivery, not distribution, or speed or connectivity, but quality. Those are important but they aren’t the ultimate motivation.

What I am seeing over and over again is that it is not the medium but the message that has failed. This a common theme for everyone, old and new. Remember the number one complaint about online video is quality. OnDemand Cable and TV offer essentially the same benefits as the internet–24/7 access–but the problem is that there simply isn’t that much great stuff to access. The internet hasn’t solved that problem, only offered a little bit of hope.

Ultimately, what we see if that the ONE thing Hollywood has always offered monopolistically is broken: Their ability to cultivate and recruit talent. That political bloggers are even being compared to newspaper reporters is enough of a victory–after all, they did it without the prestigious editors and filters and credentials. That new niches are being discovered and markets served contradicts the notions that Hollywood and Madison Avenue have their finger on the pulse. The message to artists was always this: You can’t do it without our help. And the small semblances of success these people have had online has blown that perception away. Where many people go wrong is in thinking that no help is needed at all. Idealism like that is unfounded, they just don’t need help from the current ruling elite. Why else would 62% of Americans say TV is getting worse? But that doesn’t mean that Robert Scoble gets to take over either, he is just as clueless. Who does? I don’t know.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.