State of the Media: Keynote by Jason Calacanis on Day 1 of #Pubcon

Oct 23, 2013 | 1,469 views | by Navneet Kaushal
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The most awaited search & social media conference of 2013, Pubcon Las Vegas started with a keynote address by Jason Calacanis, founder of Mahalo.

After a brief introduction & overview of Pubcon by Brett, Jason took over the stage & shared really interesting insights about the "State of the Media Business".

Taking the attendees back to the year 2012, Jason said that Internet has earned more ad revenue than radio, magazines and newspapers. However, the revenue generated by TV was almost double to what Internet was making. Jason believes that Internet will gradually take a toll over TV. Boom in the mobile games is the Big Story though. 


Gaming is the number 1 activity on the mobile devices in the US, while social & online casual games will see a moderate rise in the demand.

The trend of in-game revenue is picking up in buying a mobile. When we see Candy Crush making $1M per day, we won't mind saying that casual mobile gaming is a winning trend. Jason said that blockbuster movies and AAA games are also doing big business.

Another trend according to Jason is the emergence of microconsole markets like Ouya and Gamestick. He predicts that PS4 and Xbox One will be key players in saving the console market.


Jason revealed interesting data about TV by comparing cable vs. streaming subscriptions. He said that Live TV lost 25% of market share to streaming & recorded TV between 2009 and 2013. Google Fiber is expanding to every city and nothing can stop Google in this area. In comparison to cable, Dish, and DirectTV, video streaming is growing more because viewers want a better control of their time & they are also spending more time in streaming & recording.

Sharing data from 2012, Jason said the 73% consumers in the US stream video to catch up on missed episode while 56% stream videos to catch up on a newly discovered show.

Jason hinted that Internet TV is trending towards free. Apple TV was introduced at $300 and went to $99. Chromestick is $35 and comes with 2 months of free Netflix.


Nowadays, winners and losers are defined faster. The consumption rate of audience has increased, as s result; producers are creating elaborated & textured shows.

The next trend will be of Live stunts, Super Bowl etc. Live events still matter and Red Bull space jump breaking the streaming record by 1 million+ is a proof.

Jason’s Predictions 

  1. Google will buy NFL digital rights
  2. Apple will launch TV and buy Netflix. Jason explains that the new Mac Pro has 4k capabilities but does not have the technology. So, it would make more sense if Apple introduces it with the TV
  3. Twitter will take on YouTube since Twitter has been amassing video partners and will start splitting revenue with partners in a matter of time
  4. Growth in Direct-to-consumer TV

Books & Magazines

eBooks at present account for 23% of book space and are expected to takeover the space occupied by hardcover books in next 5 years. Another trend is that books are getting cheaper with most of them priced under $10.

Jason believes that Wattpad is the up-and-coming platform.

Magazines according to Jason are fighting for survival and selling half as many ads. There has also been a significant decrease in the subscription sales and single copies. If we believe Jason, the only reason why people buy single copies is to spend the 15 minutes on the plane, when they can't use their electronic devices. But, this demand is also fading away.


WSJ, NYT, USA Today, and LA Times are amongst the top 10 newspapers in the US as per the number of subscribers. NYTimes and WSJ have a pretty good number of online subscribers. Jason predicts Crowdfunded newspapers to replace local paper and product better product.


Search ads are leading the competition with 46% advertising space. The total ads spending in 2013 is $36.6 billion, which includes 46% search, 21% display/banner, 7% classifieds, and 9% mobile ads. It is interesting to find out that the top new media sites are socially shareable instead of SEO strategized. 

Jason also revealed that publishers have taken AdSense and Google advertising off their site because publishers were being pushed to advertise down the page. Although Google is good at selling based on what readers like, publishers are viewing Google as an enemy.

Native ads are driving major revenue with Buzzfeed being the leader in the space.

With Jeff Bezos buying Washington Post, Jason believes that consumers do not have to worry about the news and world will be serviced with great journalism. Put the reader first. Invent. And be Patient is what Jeff Bezos believes in and Jason agrees with him.

Consumers are driving creators and rewarded content that appeals to them. The example is the success of Bill Simmons' Grantland and 30 for 30 series. Star journalists are also becoming powerful.


Consumer driving art films are appealing to the world and will work against the creative content, because a major portion of international sales comes from consumer driven products. Jason also said that sales of DVD will continue to drop.

Video streaming is the new hope of the industry. Many directors are adopting Kickstarter to get email addresses of their dedicated and most interested fans. Producers are also contributing to Kickstarter to promote the achievement. Finding your true 1000 fans and building a deeper relationship with them, is what is acting as an investment signal.


Online radio is gaining momentum & the use of AM/FM radio is dropping in cars, at home, trains, buses, and on the go. Jason said that Pandora is the most popular radio channel.

Trends & Predictions by Jason

Public radio is dominating podcasting because listeners like branded shows, remember them and also search for them. While Direct-to-consumer radio concept is growing, Swell is the most dominating online talk radio platform. As the new platforms are influencing terrestrial radio, listeners have started identifying with verticals instead of stations. Spotify will be the next Netflix according to Jason. YouTube is the "real Spotify" and there are several ways to rip MP3s and download videos from YouTube.

Jason has predicted that Spotify will grow from a streaming service to a record label. It will have 20M paid subscribers and will soon start providing tour & merchandising support to artists.

Jason concluded the Keynote saying that it is the ability to make a world-class product, UX, design, and overall execution that will drive success.

State of the Media: Keynote by Jason Calacanis on Day 1 of #Pubcon, 5.0 out of 5 based on 5 ratings
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Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
4.thumbnail State of the Media: Keynote by Jason Calacanis on Day 1 of #Pubcon
4.thumbnail State of the Media: Keynote by Jason Calacanis on Day 1 of #Pubcon