Neil Thackray’s Business Media Blog

Just another weblog

Known Knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns.

At the RBS Media Conference last week the co founder of Ten Alps made an entertaining speech using the Donald Rumsfeld known unknowns structure. I thought it might be fun to think about business media in the same way.

Known Knowns

1) Print advertising is likely to continue to decline.
2) News is free and there is little or nothing in most free business magazines that anyone will pay for
3) Online development is not a way to prop up ailing magazines. Its a completely different medium with different rules for content creation and monetisation.
4) The end of the recession will not mean that revenues will recover quickly if at all.

Known Unknowns

1) How to make the advertiser online model big enough in scale to support a meaningful cost base.

2) We will all expereiment with paid content models but we don’t know which will be effective and sustainable.

3) The technology we use today won’t be much use in the future but we don’t what will replace it.

4) There will be some recovery in the future but we can’t forecast it accurately.

Unknown Unknowns

1) Well we just don’t know do we?

Feel free to add your own known in the comments.


January 30, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. […] Link 02-02-10 February 2, 2010 Neil Thackray’s business media blog – Known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns. […]

    Pingback by Link 02-02-10 « | February 2, 2010

  2. Neil: just came across this while trying to find something else. It must be serendipity. Here is another known known for you: free/open access sites that have sprung from the loins of B2B magazines will only make money when recruitment advertising in their sector/s is strong.
    Known unknown: Introducing content walls will probably serve to drive traffic to rival sites that are truly open access. My email is:

    Comment by John Charlton | February 4, 2010

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