Everything is about to change, or the horizontilization of media

In a week where Facebook bowed its TV app with Samsung as a launch partner and Google launched a YouTube TV channel, we have to ask what this means for TV and then every other channel. We’ve always split vertically, from newspapers to outdoor, TV to cinema and from traditional to digital. And everything new from — social to mobile — we’ve added on as a new vertical silo. Yet when all devices do everything, the line between radio and streaming, TV and video bends and blurs.

Twitter is now broadcasting live sports. Apple has a radio station; YouTube has 2,000 channels with over a million subscribers; Facebook is undoubtedly about to become the largest TV channel ever known overnight. Amazon’s Echo is a whole new media channel, while print publishers are heavily into Snapchat. Change is everywhere.

To explain to a 5-year-old nonchalantly swiping between TV shows on YouTube that they are not technically watching TV, would involve all manner of explanations that are technically accurate, but of no relevance to most people. And as screens like VR, wearables, in car tablets, even smart refrigerators or devices and platforms like Echo and Siri proliferate, we need to be flexible to a whole new way of thinking.

Publishers are no longer those who produce, curate, bundle and distribute content like in the past. They are simply those with the largest audience, the people who own the customer interface. In the modern landscape the top publishers will be a group that includes Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Google. The TV companies, magazine and news publishers of old face a fight on their hands to retain a relationship with audiences, maintain dominance in quality content production, while not merely become content creators.

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