Frankfurt Book FairA just-released survey of media industry opinion, conducted under the auspices of the Frankfurt Book Fair in the long lead-up to the European publishing industry’s number one event in October, finds the media sector caught on the cusp between past and future, and highly uncertain about which way things will go.

Carried out by Frankfurt StoryDrive (an initiative that “bursts the boundaries between narrative worlds”) and newthinking communications GmbH, the “Market Climate Survey on the Future of the Content and Media World” polled 1,400 media pros, asking them broadly: “What will the [media] world look like in 10 years ?”

The resulting survey is available as a PDF here.

“The industry is caught in a constant balancing act—between back and forth, today and tomorrow, tradition and innovation,” declared Frankfurt StoryDrive. “It follows logically that the results of the study reveal a sense of indecision.”

The full survey consisted of seven scenarios for the possible future of the media sector, worked up from 22 video statements “from innovators in the media and content industries … trend scouts , publishers , authors , film producers and games developers.” (Scroll down to view one of the video statements; the remainder are unfortunately only available in German. —Ed.)

In summary, these were:

  1. In 2022, you’ll have access to everything at the swipe of a finger
  2. The virtual world will permeate all aspects of life in 2022
  3. In the future, stories will be independent and fluid
  4. Stories will be highly individualized in 2022
  5. New working relationships will define the media market in 2022
  6. The year 2022 will be dominated by cooperation
  7. In the future, media companies will rely on new core activities

These scenarios were then put to “around 1,400 representatives of the international content and media world—ranging from the managing director of a large book publisher to a librarian.”

They were very unhappy with the virtual world scenario, with close on 80 percent rejecting or cautiously monitoring its development; and not overly receptive to the principle that consumers should be active in the formulation of stories, with only around 20 percent concurring with this.

As for personalized stories, 81 percent were against adapting “the content of a story to the specific circumstances of individual readers;” and 73 percent declared themselves “not yet prepared for a future of complex products with shorter life cycles;” while 66 percent were “reluctant to embrace consumers as business partners;” and only 17 percent were “preparing to use crowdfunding” to support development.

All in all, then, a pretty conservative response to some admittedly challenging proposals, which tends to confirm received opinion about the media business.

“Unfortunately, new technologies are still all too often seen as a threat, rather than as an opportunity,” said Frankfurt StoryDrive’s Britta Friedrich, co-author of the study. “Many of those surveyed expressed a clear tendency toward maintaining the status quo and, along with that, the hope that they won’t be affected by these changes.”

Seems that even in 2013, Big Media still sees technological change as something to be kept at arm’s length rather than embraced, and is absolutely not ready to go cheek to cheek with it. At this rate the Apples and Googles of the world, present and future, can look forward to more untrammeled disruptive innovation, with the media pros only moving, as so often before, to engage with them when it’s already too late.

Again, click here to download the survey as a PDF.

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Video Statement: Message from the future #05 — Alexander Baumgardt (Management Consultant and Educator)


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