In October 2015 Mediahuis Nederland initiated an online mediabrand called Mindshakes. Here journalists, photographers, video makers and so on, got the chance to tell quality stories. The platform was free for everyone, which was possible because they used ‘commercial partners’.
With this mindshakes paid great attention to the two polarities that one needs to keep in mind when managing a company with cultural goods, thus lamel et al.: When it comes tot the practical business of creating and selling cultural goods, firms must proceed with both polarities in mind. (…) If artistic values dominate commercial survival dictates that market realities cannot be ignored indefinitely.
But the bubble burst. Although the platform won prices and there were over 300.000 unique visitors on the website every month, it wasn’t a commercial success. In January 2017 it was announced that the platform would merge with ‘Bedrock’, part of Wayne Parker Kent.
According to Lamel et al. it is hard to be revolutionary in the cultural industry. Most of the time it works a lot better if they use existing structures to come to new synergies that will help them to differentiate from their competition. It might have been too revolutionary to start an online platform with free quality content, and survive commercially. Merging with Wayne Parker Kent is a synergy that might be more successful.
On a critical note, Lampel et al. suggest that in the current media landscape “managers are more likely to rely on (…) a process of interpretative enactment rather than systematic or rational analysis.” Looking at the popularity of Mindshakes and how they successfully advertised, this might be an outdated statement. Especially keeping in mind the way Facebook uses algorithms to select audiences. It’s impossible not to be rational and analytic about that in campaigns.
Lampel, J., Lant, T. & Shamsie, J. (2011), ‘Balancing act: learning from organizing practices in cultural industries’, Organization Science (vol. 11.3): 263-269.