It's easy to become infatuated by all that the brave new media world has to offer, and the speed by which new products are launched, but the reality doesn't always match the rethoric, and somtimes consumers are decidedly underwhelmed by what media companies think they want.
In Denmark the surge in new door-to-door distributed freesheets has meant those who subscribe to have paid papers delivered on their doorstep are left waiting, and in the US, Variety complains that TV companies love to talk about the brave new, on-demand future, but fail to deliver on present and former promises.
Mads Øvlisen, writing in Berlingske (Montgomery-owned Berlingske Officin is one of two national newspaper groups publishing both a free doo-to-door distributed newspaper and a paid national one) :
"The morning call from the doorstep "The newspapers are here!" has become a much awaited message of joy. For even at our place, it has become an exception that we get the morning paper in time. But the freesheets - owned and subsidised by the big newpaper groups, who find it so difficult to deliver what I consider their primary service, a service I pay for – they are there! I find it difficult to understand the strategy behind this. I don't know many businesses that survive by focusing on their peripheral products at the expense of their core products."
Variety (via Mediabistro):
The CEOs of the giant media companies are out there every week at investor conferences hammering home the same message: "We are hip to the emerging new platforms, we understand the nirvana of anywhere/anytime media, we know the old media's doomed
That's the message, but here's the reality: This summer these very same digital prophets will spend vastly more money on "old media" than ever before as their mega-budget tentpole sequels roll out. So the CEOs are paying lip service to the new, but betting big time on the old.... Ironically, Time Warner's "big sell" comes along at the moment when the company is facing a firestorm of class-action lawsuits and consumer complaints that its existing services are dysfunctional. In short, the "big reality" is that the company doesn't come close to delivering on its present or former promises.
One has to wonder, at what point will consumers say, "I want my old TV set and my old email and my old cell phone, and stop telling me I'm missing out on the future."