Media’s Future & Cupcakes

On Friday, the last day of Internet Week/NY, I finally extricated myself from client obligations and set off to check out two happenings near one another in the city: the TechMunch Food Bloggers Conference and I Want Media’s “Future of Media” panel of players and pundits waxing poetic on, well, the future of media.

Stephens, Cupcake Queen

If food’s your thing, the day-long TechMunch drew a who’s who of the city’s food blogging community. Ironically, I was invited by Erik Deutsch, a PR pal from SoCal, though I soon recognized some familiar folks, including two of my favorite cupcake bloggers Nichelle Stephens and Allison Robicelli. Panels, cooking demos, content, eating…you get the gastronomic gist.

I Want Media’s “Future of Media” Panel

My visit was short, which was good given the waste-expanding consumables that were in abundance. (Summer is upon us.)

I walked around the corner to the TV studio of NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute where an overflow crowd had a chance to watch media news aggregator I Want Media‘s Patrick Phillips take a group of seven thought leaders through their paces. The talk centered around:

  • The Facebook IPO about which all were exuberantly bullish, in spite of the lukewarm reception the company received from the financial markets
  • The fate of The New York Times for which The Daily‘s Greg Clayman cited a recent report that The Times’s  digital subscriber base would eventually replace lost ad revenue from the print publication, while BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti opined that we’ll soon look back and question the morality of reading a newspaper given its negative environmental footprint.  
  • The explosion of commercially produced and socially syndicated content, i.e., “owned” media.
  • The use of real-time reader data to enhance a site’s stickiness (and editorial choices).  

I personally would have liked to have heard a few other media trends including:

  • The rise of Aereo, a service that delivers HD broadcast TV to one’s tablet, and in so doing bypasses the cable co’s (and the broadcast networks that sustain them)
  • The growth in socially driven news aggregators like, and other innovative ways to incorporate multimedia in presenting news and information packages such as The Atavist
  • The continued diminishment of broadcast TV audiences from changes in viewing habits
  • Time-shifted TV viewing and the social TV/second screen revolution 
But there’s only so much ground one can cover with seven speakers and 60 minutes of time. To his credit, Patrick ended the session by asking everyone to “make a bold prediction about the future of media.” Here were their responses::


Jim Cooper, executive editor, Adweek:

“My ten-year-old daughter will spend more time with Instagram than she will with Disney and Nickelodeon combined…it’s interactive. It goes with her on her iTouch. She’s very swipey…and she’s going to grow up in that world where the new metric is not a click…it’s a swipe.” 


Michael J. Wolf, founder/managing director, Activate: 

“Today social gaming is a huge phenomenon. A lot of it is driven by the sale of social goods. As we move into a world where online gambling is legal, I think that the nature of social gaming is going to explode because once people can win real cash versus virtual goods, I think we’re going to see a tremendous interest in how games get played socially.” .  


Jessica Coen, editor-in-chief, Jezebel:

“This is pretty basic but I would bet my entire income on the fact that five years from now tablets will be the number one way people are reading media. …once content becomes better and better on the tablet and tablets become more and more accessible to the general public, people are just going to start using that exclusively.”

De Rosa

Anthony De Rosa, social media editor, Reuters

“I think Instagram will become much more pivotal to Facebook’s future than it currently is. And I think that the fact that Mark Zuckerberg realized that it was such a threat is kind of indicative of how important that company is. I think in the future Instagram is going to grow and grow and tere’s going to be a little bit of friction over whether Facebook will change that product or if they’ll let it be. If they’re smart they” just let it be.” 


Ben Lerer, Co-founder/CEO, Thrillist:

“I don’t know…. I actually think the mobile thing is the biggest movement that we’re seeing.  More and more popular sites…you’re going to see the percentage of traffic coming by mobile growing in an insane way…everybody should be building mobile first for sort of everything at this point.”


Gregory Clayman, publisher, The Daily:

Foursquare becomes absolutely ridiculously huge…the couponing business blows up…they make gobs of money…and Facebook buys them for an outrageous sum…I think their product has gotten better and better and better…” 


Jonah Peretti, Co-founder, Buzzfeed:

I think on a five year horizon you can see that both social and mobile are going to increasingly start to eat in to existing industries and change the status quo…how things are done now. You’ll see social publishing become bigger and bigger…social advertising become bigger and bigger. Social will happen on mobile devices.  We’re sort of at a beginning of a shift…you can extrapolate. 

You can watch the one-hour session here: