I think it will change dramatically. No longer will news organizations be linked to their medium but to their content. So sports fanatics will just look to ESPN for all their sports news, which ESPN will gladly provide to them in broadcast, print, newspaper, email, radio and podcasts. Heck, in ESPN's case they're already half way there.
Look at the WSJ,NY Times, and even here in my own backyard of New Orleans, our very own WWL has TV, Radio and Internet delivery. Though they still treat the radio/tv units as separate with different reporters covering same topics (sports, news, etc).
Overall, I think this will be a good trend as it will make these organizations compete on the basis of quality content, which given the ability to cross utilize a single reporter's story should allow them to focus more effort on going deeper into news.
With the recent birth of my fourth child, my wife finally is going to close our little advertising firm Brandmarken. As such, it is time to shut down the phone/fax lines and move the DSL service to our home phone line -- to save a few bucks.
As my flight was canceled this morning I find myself with some time to kill here in Chicago and I fire up the laptop and head over to ATT's site where I find that I can manage my entire account online. Which is where the idea for this post began.
I entered my account and was looking at the current DSL offerings versus what I have now. My current offering, which I've had for many years offers 1.5Mpbs/256K and costs $42.99/month. Much to my surprise, I see that currently, and I'm assuming for some time, ATT has been offering faster speeds (twice as fast as I currently have) at $37.99/month and comparative speeds at $19.99/month.
Now, in realty we're talking $5 bucks a month here which is no big deal and truth be told, I'll convert to the fastest option they offer 6.0Mpbs/512K as it is the same $42.99/month I pay now. But I still find myself pissed at ATT. They could have been giving me a far greater experience and made me feel much better about the brand by just sending me a simple email, a quick call or a notice in my bill -- something like
Dear Tom, congrats. We've upgraded you to our fastest DSL plan and we hope you enjoy the even better ATT experience. Thanks for being a loyal customer. By the way, if you'd like, we can also bundle your TV, wireless, etc.
Worst case, I'd have done nothing. Best case, I would have upgraded to other services, blogged about it and likely told the story to a bunch of my friends and co-workers -- all of whom could have bought services from ATT and likely this all would have cost ATT nothing.
For too long, and telecom is the worst, companies have been pursuing new customers and neglecting old. This really is something they have to fix. In today's hyper-connected world of limitless choice, it will be simply too easy for customers to bolt.
I sure hope someone at ATT reads or gets this post forwarded to them and then uses it to improve their services to their customers proactively.
My wife and I just had our 4th child and thus spent a few days in the hospital, which reminded me -- I hate hospitals. They just aren't fun places to be and frankly there really isn't any good excuse for it.
On the good side, the hospital had free WiFi in every room and waiting area, which was great. I was able to immediately send a photo of my son Maes within about 15 minutes of his birth. Could have even streamed it live using Ustream.tv -- but thought that might be going a tad far.
However, that is where it stopped. My wife gave birth at dinner time. So while the hospital brought her a rather inedible dinner, I got nothing. We finally finished moving from delivery to our recovery room about 9:30pm and by that time all the food outlets in the hospital were closed. So began my quest for food, which ended an hour later with a luke warm pizza -- but at least I had a great bottle of wine to go with it.
But all of this really drove home to me that hospitals should be run more like hotels. Just sitting in our room chatting with each other my wife and I came up with a dozen cool things we'd gladly pay extra for. The hospital could let us put up a credit card for "incidentals" just like hotels. For instance, hospitals could offer:
In room fridge stocked with water, soda, snacks and fruit
Rooms service with good food
Spa services -- maybe a manicure or pedicure while moms are in early stage labor -- before the real fun begins. (obviously my wife's idea)
In room speakers to attach an iPod or CD Player to
Good coffee -- like Community or Starbucks
24/7 Convenience store where you swipe a room key or debit card that tracks back to your account -- here you could get anything you forgot
Then today I come across a McKinsey Quarterly article titled "A Better Hospital Experience" and what do you know, the fine folks at McKinsey have done a study that indicates my wife and I are not alone. Seems plenty of consumers would gladly pay for services just like these and many more we hadn't even thought of yet.
The best thing the report showed was that not only would folks pay for these services but the presence of these advanced services actually would influence where they'd go for treatment up to and including telling or badgering their doctor into referring them to one of these more hospitable hospitals. Docs in the study even admitted to referring patients to hospitals with lesser facilities because the service was better and their patients would be happier.
Having just picked up a hospital client, I can't wait to try some of this out in the real world. Should be interesting.
What I find most interesting though is what isn't talked about. How, if this became more than a test, lets say more of a new model, how this might affect the way TV ads are bought. Normally, we use sweeps data to project audience size and then determine cost per spot or per thousand people reached. But under this model, there will likely not be historical data to go by and hence no way to project costs.
Now if these test series, like all series become repeats, as many of Thom Beers shows have been, then there is no real news here but it makes me wonder, with such a low cost model, might Networks begin to take greater risks by programming more new content versus trying to find the next big "series" they can run for multiple years? Take more of a movie model vs traditional TV model.