Joshua Topolsky, co-founder of The Verge and Vox Media, and formerly Editor-in-chief of Engadget, has published an article on Medium wherein he analyzes the ongoing and long-term issues with digital media businesses and their increasingly growing thirst for more and more clicks. Topolsky says that the rate at which media outlets are adopting the new technologies and platforms (such as video, "bots, newsletters, a morning briefing app, a lean back iPad experience, Slack integration, a Snapchat channel, or a great partnership with Twitter") in an attempt to capture more audience -- and save its receding loyal reader base -- isn't going to fix the problem. Topolsky, who left Bloomberg news outlet last year amid his disagreement with Michael Bloomberg himself, writes: The Problem is that we used to have a really neat and tidy version of a media business where very large interests controlled vast swaths of the things we read, watched, and listened to. Because that system was built on the concept of scarcity and locality -- the limits of what was physically possible -- it was very easy to keep the gates and fill the coffers. Put simply, there were far fewer players in the game with far fewer outlets for their content, so audiences were easy to sell to and easy to come by. [...] The media industry now largely thinks its only working business model is to reach as many people as possible, and sell -- usually programmatically, but sometimes not -- as many advertisements against that audience as it can. If they tell you otherwise, they are lying. [...] The truth is that the best and most important things the media (let's say specifically the news media) has ever made were not made to reach the most people -- they were made to reach the right people. Because human beings exist, and we are not content consumption machines. What will save the media industry -- or at least the part worth saving -- is when we start making Real Things for people again, instead of programming for algorithms or New Things.
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