The Pioneers Get All the Arrows

Paul Jacobs makes a very interesting point in his latest blog, one that puts a different and relevant context on the streaming and digital debate:

"If you think back to what radio's pioneers must have been thinking back in the 1930's and 1940's, consider that the U.S. economy was in far worse shape than it is today. And yet, those entrepreneurs bought land, erected expensive towers, built buildings, and hired staffs - all on a bet that radio would one day be ubiquitous in homes, cars, and workplaces. And that the revenue would follow. At that time, Americans entertained and informed themselves mostly through print media – magazines and newspapers - and at movie theaters. Radio was not a sure thing, and you can bet that naysayers were in abundance."

If the broadcasters of the 1930's and 1940's were to have forged into the new medium of radio the way radio is forging into digital, where would radio be today? Their pioneering efforts established an economically sustainable medium, and those of us who have made careers in this industry are the benefactors. Using this prism, what path is being created for the industry's future? Fast forward in time. How will the industry view the "pioneers" of today? Think about it.

The best path the industry can take is one where it gets in the path of the consumer. Advertisers, and thus revenue, always follow consumers. So, as Jacobs also points out, "If we build it, the audience - and the revenue - will surely come."