Mar 11, 2016

The Future of Media with Thrillist’ Ben Lerer


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IMG_7338By Alexandra Hilker, Strategist

As Day 1 kicks off in Austin, we hit the ground running with a dive into the rapidly transforming digital world. Content is everywhere at SXSW, with no limit to how you can create, share or consume the messages you’re absorbing. We found it only fitting to first immerse ourselves in the disruption currently happening in media. With the emergence of new media owners like Facebook and Google, the way we access information, and the way we access content has been turned upside down–leaving the old players in jeopardy of demise.

Enter Ben Lerer, the founder of burgeoning media powerhouse, Thrillist. Lerer has developed a theory surrounding media, one that could potentially predict who distributes it, and who owns it in the years to come.

Historically, all major media brands today were bred from the original digital pipe owners like Comcast and Time Warner.

With the evolution of television came a change in consumer behavior, and a filling of the pipes with quality content. As computers and personal devices exploded into the universe of communications, a changing of the guard occurred. The old formula came full circle. Changes in technology lead to changes in behavior, leaving open a space for massive opportunity.

So how are players like Google and Facebook continuing to grow at such a breakneck pace? It’s happening through continued acquisition, and evolving disruption. They act first and foremost as technology companies, building tools, building culture. From their infancy, they’ve operated framework of continual evolution, a cycle that the traditional guys just can’t seem to accomplish. A slow moving ship is never easy to turn.

Who does Lerer believe hold the keys to the next media kingdom? It’s not NBC…it’s Buzzfeed. It’s not MTV…it’s Vice. It’s not CNN…it’s .Mic. Data-driven distributors, delivering more tangible results to their ad partners, and honing in on more of what people want, in real-time.

Lerer predicts in the near future we’ll see more pipe owners getting into owning content. Through a perfectly orchestrated balance of truly native revenue generation, sourcing digital influencers, and a mobile-first mentality, the new pipe owners will continue to find ways to integrate content for a better consumer experience. Bottom line, to remain a player in the game, media companies will need to buy innovation now, in order to buy into the future.

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