|The Vision of Minyanville|
By Todd Harrison NOV 18, 2004 8:54 AM
There's a method to the madness!
"Love is the only thing that can save this poor creature, and I am going to convince him that he is loved even at the cost of my own life. No matter what you hear in there, no matter how cruelly I beg you, no matter how terribly I may scream, do not open this door or you will undo everything I have worked for. Do you understand? Do not open this door!"
--Dr. Fredrick Frankenstein
Good morning and welcome back to the critter shack. I was planning to scribe my usual vibe but wanted to momentarily digress. Minyans looking for pure market music can skip this particular post and hop to the Buzz where the content has been all ticks, all the time. This column, however, will focus on emerging trends that will ultimately redefine how we live, consume and interact in the digital age. Some of this may be old news but please bear with me as I map out my vision of the critter mission.
The genesis of this post was Jeff's column where he opined that the emergence of PVRs, DVRs and Tivo (TIVO:NASD) will forever change how we coexist in the digital age. The technology, in many ways, is a manifestation of increasingly evident personal trends and choices. People want it now, if not sooner, and don't have time for the fluff and stuff that separates the necessary content. That "now, now, NOW!" mindset is unfortunate--and some would say destructive--but it is what it is and it's driving the convergence of the mediums.
In time, traditional media, entertainment and advertising will forge into a singular consumer experience. Madison Avenue is already schvitzing as they see the writing on the wall--more consumer control equals fewer eyeballs for their precious advertisements. They've realized that the only way to ensure that their product is viewed by their target market is to imbed it into the actual content. Product placement is old hat but the integration of these efforts is still in its infancy. And before long, the advertising industry will radically change from what we've grown to believe it is.
Convergence is the first step as we slowly erase the lines of distinction between once powerful industries. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is a prime example that the boundaries between entertainment and media are no longer necessary. News and information is homogenous and often regurgitated, with the only difference being the spin that is spun by the increasingly partisan networks. It's no wonder that consumers want to laugh when they learn, it's one of the few self-cleansing mechanisms we have left. The New York Times Magazine featured a cover story three months ago describing how comics are the next-generation novel as folks are inundated with information and looking for a channel that will filter the noise for them.
Is any of this planting a seed?
When most people look at Minyanville, they see a creative financial platform that delivers uniquely branded sophisticated content. This is the first step of the evolution into a full fledged media "infotainment" network. How do we plan on taking the quantum leap from a niche market to the mainstream and commercial audience? Simple--one step at a time, building on our existing audience and leveraging that presence into an array of ancillary markets. Stable foundations are a function of organic growth and strong management and we must build upon bricks that are supportive of yet another layer.
Grandiose vision? Perhaps, there's a very fine line between dementia and genius. But our strategy is to interface the networks of our existing Minyans and allow them to interact with one another, thereby creating the dual advantage of an online B2B network and an organic distribution channel. In time, we will have critter kids teaching our youth about the value of a dollar and the importance of saving. Adolescent critters will offer insight to college students about the pitfalls of debt and the transition into financial adulthood. And, as always, the critters you've grown to know and love will continue to star in the world's first animated financial reality strip.
The ancillary markets will evolve in time. Television, film, comics, syndication, production services...I could spend the rest of the morning writing about where I see it going but we've got a market to trade. Suffice to say that the scalability of the brand, uniqueness of the platform and the merchandising potential of our critters is positioning Minyanville at the crossroads of some very powerful secular trends.
Only one thing stands between this ambitious perception and the evolving reality. And that, my friends, is the proper execution.
Good luck today.