November 26, 2006
A Few Good Men (and Women): The Front Line in the Big Media Battle to Understand Its Digital Future

A great piece from today's New York Times about the big media companies and their need to find someone to be able to tackle all the new digital questions. With such a daunting task before them, new digital VPs are being named every other day it seems, and the turnover is coming because companies are looking for new ideas and directions every day, with the feeling that the ground is constantly shifting underneath them.

That's what Richard Siklos' article is about, the continuing shifts among major players in the industry. He starts with an a propos want ad that describes the job perfectly...a job with heavy requirements and constant turnover but with companies looking in some pretty untraditional places for leadership as they entered unchartered territory.

With several new figures being named to top positions in the past month, Siklos writes, "Has an archetypal digital genius yet emerged amid all this movement? Not exactly. The screenwriter William Goldman famously said of Hollywood's hit machinery that 'nobody knows anything.' When it comes to the digital machinations of media companies, the new tag line may be that 'nobody knows everything.'"

One specialist divides experts into three camps--well-versed old school media types who have track records but not a great amount of Internet knowledge; so-called "Web stars," and the "general corporate athlete" who is neither a "seasoned operating executive nor a Web head."

Be sure to give the article a read, as Siklos tries to make some sense of all the changes that have taken place in the industry over the past few months...a much more consise job as our messy posts have done. His title "Media Frenzy" is not far off, considering how hard it is to keep track of all these shifts in power, even more than usual than most media network tenures when it comes to trying to put people in place to master a plan for the digital future.

See last month's post about Siklos' article about "the two publics" newspapers are trying to serve: investors and readers.

And see my post earlier this month about Quincy Smith's new position as head of CBS Interactive for an account of one of these power shifts.

Thanks to Lynn Liccardo for bring this to my attention.