retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

There is a fascinating piece in Fast Company about what fairly could be called the new HBO:

"The media landscape is rapidly changing," Fast Company writes. "The advent of the DVR and the rise of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have enabled a generation of binge viewers who can watch what they want, when they want, where they want. Viewing habits have never been more in flux. Until now, HBO has been mostly on the sidelines of this revolution. But in the past year, the company has begun taking aggressive steps to not just join this revolution, but lead it."

Part of this is HBO Now, the new streaming service that allows people to access HBO programming without a cable subscription ... meaning that you don't need traditional cable to watch "Game of Thrones." But also part of the revolution is the fact that HBO no longer feels like it has to fit within traditional programming parameters ... it if wants to produce 15-minute movies, or even two-minute movies designed to be watched on mobile phones, it can do it. In essence, you have a major media company taking a guerilla-approach to creating and marketing product ... which is both an enormous cultural shift as well as a recognition of the competitive realities in which it finds itself.

That approach could have an impact on other companies' business models as well.

Fast Company writes that "HBO also has a new deal with Vice, the gonzo news organization that airs a weekly newsmagazine series on HBO. This year, Vice will start airing a daily half-hour newscast on HBO, and the newsmagazine show will increase from 14 episodes a year to 35."

Think about that for a second. The major networks are watching their audiences shrink and in some cases, their credibility ebb away. (Thanks, Brian Williams.) More and more young people are getting their information from alternative news sources like "The Daily Show," but Jon Stewart's departure could put that audience in play ... and so a newscast from a "gonzo news organization," especially one that can be seen anywhere, anytime, might be just the right prescription for the new world of news dissemination.

These are enormous Eye-Openers, and lessons in how to compete in a 21st century environment.

In order to be competitive, one can't fall back on old habits and respect old boundaries. Whether you are a food retailer or a taxicab company or a media company, it is important to dispose of old biases and find new opportunities.

You can read the entire, fascinating story here.
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