The Past, Present & Future of Media

In this opening module, we discuss:

  • The traditional relationship between media companies and advertisers
  • The state of content marketing
  • Where content marketing is headed


  • Content Marketing - a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action

Where We Were

Successful media companies — the New York Times, NBC and National Public Radio — used to have major leverage over businesses and organizations that wanted to reach large, qualified, engaged audiences because these media companies almost exclusively had:

  • The technology and infrastructure (such as satellites, TV networks, radio stations and printing presses) to produce, publish and distribute content at scale
  • A network of talent, including hosts, journalists, directors, editors, producers, personalities, multimedia professionals and publishers
  • Systematic, scalable and strategic distribution methods that translated into ever-growing, highly engaged audiences

Because of their leverage, these media companies were able to charge large sums for advertising, since there was so seemingly no other way for the average business to consistently reach a substantial amount of people.

Where We Are Today

The Internet, its publishing and distribution tools, and now social media networks have effectively leveled the playing field, giving everyday businesses of all types and sizes an equal (if not better) opportunity to produce, publish and distribute content at scale, while developing a highly engaged, relevant, ever-growing audience.

In other words, businesses no longer need the outrageously cost-intensive technology and infrastructure (satellites, TV networks, radio stations, printing presses) to reach and engage large, relevant audiences that were almost exclusively gated by media companies before the dawn of the Internet. Furthermore, it has never been easier, more affordable and more business savvy — with comparatively minor barriers of entry — to produce, publish and distribute content at scale (what is known as content marketing).

However, most businesses that have been doing content marketing are starting to realize that these efforts are difficult to scale. In other words, the more content you want to produce, the more of an investment you need to make — especially if your business wants to keep up with all of the established and new social media networks.

By trying to keep pace, businesses have (incidentally) entered into a content marketing arms race against every other business and person who creates and shares content online, because people only have so much time and attention to consume content, regardless of the publisher.

To add insult to injury, 60-to-70 percent of content marketing goes completely unused.

As a result, content marketing is financially unsustainable in the long run for most businesses.

Mark Schaefer, a marketing professor at Rutgers University, writes: "The volume of free content is exploding at a ridiculous rate. However, our ability to consume that content is finite ... there is a theoretical and inviolable limit to consumption, which we are now approaching."

"In a situation where content supply is exponentially exploding while content demand is flat, we would predict that individuals, companies, and brands would have to 'pay' consumers more and more just to get them to see the same amount of content."

Where We Are Going

If producing, publishing and distributing content is becoming an exponentially less viable longterm marketing solution, and as advertising as we know it is dying a slow death — which we detail in the module Embracing "The Business of Media" — how should businesses that do not have the world's deepest pickets market themselves in the digital age?

Cue: The Business of Media a smarter, scalable, more systematic, more effective and less expensive form of digital marketing, with both short-term and long-term returns, including:

  • More exposure, higher sales, new customers and increased lifetime customer value, and
  • Revenue streams taken from the business model of successful media companies, enabling your business to recuperate a significant amount (if not all) of its investment in The Business of Media (which we explain and detail in Section 5)

The underlying premise of The Business of Media is to build a highly engaged, relevant, ever-growing audience using the principles, framework, strategies and systems that serve as the basis for how and why successful media companies have been very profitable.

If you have worked in digital marketing or related fields during the last decade or so, you probably know that the notion of everyday businesses becoming their own media companies is certainly nothing new. However, most people who make this assertion have largely failed to detail what "becoming your own media company" actually entails, and more importantly — there is not an easy-to-understand blueprint that makes undeniable business sense for doing so.

This course will comprehensively detail the rationale, insights, components, processes and blueprint for everyday businesses in every industry, whether B2B or B2C, whether service- or product-centric, and whether SMBs or enterprise brands, to become their own media companies — and by doing so, ensure long-term health and prowess for their business.

The Business of Media is presented by yarn, a collective of talent across media, journalism, marketing and design that helps brands create, distribute and monetize memorable content experiences.

For more insights and observations about the future of marketing, check out our publication and podcast.