What does Time Magazine have in common with Salesforce?

The CEO Marc Benioff, that’s what.

Benioff has spent $190 million dollars in acquiring one of the world’s most respected publications. Is this a surprise? No. It is becoming a common business trend for tech giants to buy news or media outlets.

 

 

The platform economy is continually re-inventing and repositioning itself.

Benioff is not alone in his conquest. He joins a rank of other tech supremes owning media outlets like:

  • Amazon’s Jeff Bezos who owns the Washington Post
  • Biotech king Patrick Soon-Shiong owns the L.A. Times

 

The Platform Economy

Reminds us of a book we found earlier this year….

 

 

The platform business is the new economy. In their book ‘Modern Monopolies’, Alex Moazed and Nicholas Johnson, reflect on the common business ethos of companies like Google, Snapchat, Tinder, Amazon, and Uber

They’re platforms – a new business model that has quietly become the only game in town, creating vast fortunes for its founders while dominating everyone’s daily life. A platform, by definition, creates value by facilitating an exchange between two or more interdependent groups. So, rather that making things, they simply connect people.

What does this have to do with Marc Benioff buying Time Magazine? What does it have to do with Comcast opting to bid for Sky in Europe and Disney winning a bidding war for all of Twenty-First Century Fox assets, earlier this year?

The platform business provides the best content and congregates a large number of people, servicing them with a value proposition that they find just too irresistible.

 

 

 

While all of these point to an evolving business model of deliberate acquisition and ownership of most or all of the value chain, it also points to aggregation of who controls the message, for what purpose and with what intent.

While both Benioff and Bezos reported buying Time and the Washington Post respectively to “preserve the heritage of these long standing icons of news”, it is a deliberate move in owning yet another part of the communication journey that drives and dictates societal movement and thought.

 

So what are you supposed to think or do
about these billionaires buying up every
piece of media real estate?

 

Take away the lesson of understanding what the platform economy means. Do you simply build a business based purely on the service or product you offer? How do you aggregate enough users on one platform to provide a gateway to diversified interests?

 

But most of all, what intention are you doing this with? Sure, we all want to build the most commercially viable businesses! But how do we direct the platforms we create and support – for propagandist, political manipulation? OR to ensure the well-being of those who provide the platform’s very survival.

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