On the final panel at the Future of Business Media Conference, ContentNext editor and publisher Rafat Ali and paidContent.org executive editor Staci Kramer discussed the meaning of “disruption”, particularly as it relates to business and financial media.
– What is Disruptive?: SeekingAlpha CEO David Jackson discussed how his company is changing the model of financial news, as the site aggregates content from more than 500 contributors, most of them bloggers. As Staci noted, a big part of what makes the site disruptive is its printing of conference call transcripts, which has opened up an entirely new avenue for investors to get to know companies. Jackson added that the key question any disruptor has to ask is “how do you compete with the Long Tail?” Either you’re category killer or a platform. SeekingAlpha, by aggregating long tail financial content is the latter Patrick Spain, CEO, Highbeam discussed the launch of the company’s new site Newser. “We’re trying to disrupt newspapers” by presenting news in a way that actually makes sense for the internet.
– Investing: Drew Lipsher, a partner at Greycroft, discussed what he looks for in a disruptive investment. “The consumer is the ultimate disruptor… things that we invest in are things that are helping to change the way consumers are consuming media.” “Fundamentally, you have to get a mass amount of people, you have to get them to change the way they interact.” As for lucrative exits, Lipsher noted that it might be getting more difficult, in part because strategic buyers, like Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), have gotten more sophisticated about how much to pay for deals.
– Competition and First Mover Advantage: “At the end of the day, it’s about us being better at breaking stories than the rest of the industry”, said Rafat, in reference to paidContent.org and its competition. Scott Moore, SVP Yahoo, argued that Yahoo finance basically created the online finance industry and that Yahoo as a whole is still in an incredibly strong position. It gets lost that Yahoo is still #1 in several categories. Patrick Spain asked whether Yahoo could still be a disruptor, since it’s essentially an incumbent now. Moore argued that in the grand scheme of things, Yahoo still gets a sliver of total ad dollars and that there’s plenty more to take. In the meantime, it keeps innovating. Rafat also noted that disruption often is borne out of market downturns and often comes about accidentally.
– In five years, who won’t exist?: Spain: there won’t be any newspapers as we know them in 5-10 years.
Disclaimer: Greycroft Partners is also an investor in our parent company ContentNext Media.