The Four Horsemen and Publishing’s Future

Scott GallowayScott Galloway is a clinical professor at the NYU Stern School of Business, where he teaches brand strategy and digital marketing.

In 2012, Professor Galloway was named “One of the World’s 50 Best Business School Professors” by Poets & Quants. He is also the founder of Red Envelope and Prophet Brand Strategy. Galloway was elected to the World Economic Forum’s Global Leaders of Tomorrow, and has served on the boards of directors of Eddie Bauer, The New York Times Company, Gateway Computer and UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. He received a B.A. from UCLA and an M.B.A. from UC Berkeley.

Professor Galloway is a presenter at the 2016 Digital Book World Conference + Expo, where he will discuss the impact that the “Four Horsemen”—Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google—are having on book publishing.

Digital Book World recently released a white paper titled “Viewpoints on Publishing’s Digital Transformation,” which you can download here. The report offers an insider’s look at both the current state and the future of digital publishing, and is filled with interviews and articles.

Below is an excerpt from an interview we conducted with Professor Galloway, in which he discusses what the above four companies are doing, how traditional media is responding, and more. To read the entire interview, please download the the white paper.


How is the book and content publishing ecosystem being shaped by big tech companies? What role do they play?

Technology has torn down the barriers to entry that have allowed traditional media companies to continue to reap profits while hanging onto outdated, high-cost business models. Almost 50 percent of media consumption now happens on digital platforms, and new, tech-driven competitors are siphoning off eyeballs and ad dollars from traditional media outlets. These new companies are also redefining viewer expectations. Consumers now expect on-demand, multiplatform and personalized offerings – and are only willing to pay for a truly premium content experience.

The change is apparent in all conventional media outlets – books, magazines, newspapers and television. Even Cable TV, the largest and most protected bastion of traditional media, is losing its grip.

Why should the book and content publishing communities pay close attention to the “Four Horsemen” of the digital era: Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google?

Those four companies are all technology companies, and tech is sharing the throne with content. Old media companies like HBO and Time are taking measures to become, or at least look, technology savvy. Meanwhile, new media outlets like BuzzFeed and Vice are investing in content creation practices that mimic traditional media. (E.g. Vice’s partnership with HBO.) Despite their efforts, none of these two groups will achieve the scale of media companies that produce no content. Google, Facebook, Amazon, and to some degree Apple have a media distribution businesses, and reach more eyeballs than any other media company.


The Digital Book World Conference + Expo is March 7th-9th in New York at the Hilton Midtown.


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