Sramana Mitra: I am guessing the answer is that not many people will make the transition. I think I agree with you. The companies that have the highest chance of making it are the ones growing up in a technology world – companies that can, by design, start with a comprehensive strategy.
Andy Nibley: I think there are a few points. One of them is scale. You need large audiences. The second is, you have to be really flexible. I tend to agree that new media and technology companies tend to move much faster than traditional publishers do. They don’t have to protect an existing revenue base. Because they are entrepreneurial, they just tend to shift gears faster and more often. Some of it is cultural, and I think technology has a culture that promotes rapid change more than people who have been publishing for longer and perhaps are not always as tech-savvy as some of the new players are.
SM: I think I got most of what you are doing. Is there anything you would like to add?
AN: Having said that, there are a number of technology companies that have tried to get into the media world and have failed miserably. I got into the Internet and digital publishing business in 1993, and I see companies struggle between being based in Silicon Valley or in New York City – New York being where the publishers and advertisers are, and Silicon Valley obviously being at the top of technology. The answer is that you should always be in both places at once, but getting the balance right and being able to blend those two unique cultures has always been an enormous challenge. Only a handful of companies have been able to pull it off.
SM: I think New York City has the retail strength as well as the content and advertising strength. In terms of domain knowledge, there is a tremendous amount of it in all three domains in New York, whereas the technology talent is largely in Silicon Valley. I think bringing those worlds together has been taking much longer than I expected, and seeing it taking so long, I think it will take much longer.
AN: I agree. It is going to take some time to roll this all out. If you can get the technology and the concept right, you can move much more quickly than you thought. Look at the adoption of mobile – I don’t think we have content and advertising rights for it, but the proliferation of the technology and consumer adoption has been faster than anything we had seen or anticipated. On the display side, we have been looking to get this right in a slow process over the past 15 years. Interactive TV has been coming since the early 1990s, and it is still not here. That combination of the readiness of the technology and the consumer along with having something that people actually want are the key concerns.
SM: Thank you very much for your time. Take care.
AN: Thank you as well.