It’s a fair bet that 2016 will be the year of ever more ambitious collaborations between traditional media and digital disrupters. We have seen the Alibaba and Jeff Bezos acquisitions of the South China Post and the Washington Post respectively, the Axel Springer buy-out of Business Insider, and legacy media investments in BuzzFeed, Vox, and Vice News. These will surely be followed by a new wave of deals and collaborations. But with a difference.
Acquisitions, mergers, joint ventures and alliances can always be catalysts in digital transformation. But, regardless of who is buying whom, traditional media must increasingly pass the task of reinvention to ‘digital-youth’. As a result, some acquisitions – especially by newspaper-centric groups – may come to resemble reverse takeovers. “Old brands in new hands” might just become the media theme of 2016.
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