Great films, recordings, books, websites, video games, advertisements, and live performances don't happen by accident. They are often the result of innovative creators working on small, well-balanced teams and paying close attention to the needs of audiences. This is the approach advocated by Lean Media, an innovative framework and toolset for media managers and creative professionals.
Anyone working in media knows how tough it is for a new release to get traction. The failure rate for entertainment and informational media is staggeringly high—some two-thirds of new TV shows will not be renewed for a second season, and in the marketplace for books, recorded music, and video games, the failure rate is even higher. The industry has been upended by digital platforms, new business models, and changing audience preferences, making it extremely difficult to develop and launch successful media.
Lean Media can give teams an edge. Using examples and easy-to-understand best practices, author and media veteran Ian Lamont describes how new ventures and established teams can leverage Lean Media to eliminate waste, focus creativity, and better understand their audiences. For individuals who make media, founders of media ventures, and media professionals working in experienced teams, the Lean Media book explains how to streamline processes, lower costs, reduce the risk of failure, and ultimately create media that matters.
All kinds of media professionals can leverage the framework, including:
* Graphic designers
* Website operators
* Recording artists
* Video game designers
* Creative directors
* Performance artists
Lean Media Table of Contents:
* The Lean Media opportunity
* A long view of the media industry
* An introduction to business frameworks
* Understanding Lean Media, from theory to practice
Chapter 1: Lean thinking in manufacturing and tech startups
* Standard criteria for success and failure in media
* Eric Ries and the Lean Startup
* The MVP
* Product/market fit vs. product/solution fit
* A lean approach to media?
Chapter 2: A new media world
* Tremors in the music industry
* Challenges to the film and broadcasting industries
* Disruption in print, struggles in new digital formats
* Embracing new production tools
* The false allure of chubby media
Chapter 3: Finding a lean fit for media content
* Media is not like other products
* Data doesn’t tell the whole story for media
* Finding product-market fit for media
Chapter 4: Three Lean Media principles
* Principle #1: Reduce waste
* Principle #2: Understand audiences
* Principle #3: Focus creativity
* Example: The making of Led Zeppelin I
* Factors driving the band’s success
* The importance of the creative center
* Lean Media for small projects
Chapter 5: The Lean Media flowchart
* A flowchart for media productions
* Modes Vu’s photography books
* A lean history of The Simpsons
* Touchpoints for feedback
Chapter 6: Building a Lean Media team
* Who leads a Lean Media team?
* How small should the team be?
* When nonessential stakeholders get in the way
* Creative vs. business perspectives
* The role of marketing in a Lean Media project
Chapter 7: Lean Media audiences
* Going beyond audience metrics
* Leveraging technology to connect with audiences
* Audience targeting
* Recruiting audiences for a Lean Media project
* Can test audiences be trusted?
* Test pods
* Surrogate audiences
* Checking outside of your target audience
Chapter 8: Leveraging feedback for Lean Media
* Qualitative and quantitative audience feedback
* How traditional media uses professional feedback
* The problem with stakeholder feedback
* Audience metrics
* The lean approach to feedback
* Feedback at the Idea stage
* What if there are no fans?
* Overcoming psychological roadblocks to prototype feedback
* Making plans for collecting feedback
* Soft launch feedback
* Dealing with disinterest
Chapter 9: Pivot or abandon
* Chubby pivots
* Lean Media pivots
* Pivoting from one format to another
* Pivoting to new audiences
* Abandoning a project
* Onto the next project
* Strategic abandonment
Chapter 10: The Lean Media project planner
* How to fill out the project planner
* A project planner for Napoleon Dynamite
* Using the project planner for video development
About the Author
Author Ian Lamont is the founder of i30 Media Corporation and the creator of the Lean Media framework. His media career has spanned more than 25 years across three continents, including a stint in the British music industry and a six-year residence in Taipei, where he learned Mandarin and worked for a local TV network and newspaper. He is a graduate of the Boston University College of Communication and MIT’s Sloan Fellows Program in Innovation and Global Leadership. He writes about Lean Media and related business and media topics at leanmedia.org.
"Lamont has successfully taken concepts from the Lean Startup movement and applied them to media production projects. No longer can there be the 'one visionary way' -- instead, there needs to be humility (know your customer) and incrementalism (test often) as the keys to creative outcomes."
- John Maeda, Head of Computational Design & Inclusion @Automattic and author of The Laws of Simplicity.
"Unlike many books that furnish advice and then tell you to go out and be successful, Mr. Lamont devotes an entire chapter to his Lean Media project planner (downloadable from his website). If you are inexperienced with this type of tool, after furnishing one for you to use, the author then gives examples of how it works indifferent projects. This is a missed opportunity by most books. By seeing how the author filled in the planner, I have a better idea how to use it in my own projects. I believe the inclusion of this chapter alone is worth the price of ten books."
- D.R. Gerstein, NetGalley
"We are in a future that is occurring now. Media has altered from what was happening five and ten years ago, and twenty years ago is almost an unrecognizable landscape. To be successful in the future, one should consider the tools and ideas that make sense in an ever-changing and evolving world. Ian Lamont's 'Lean Media' presents those tools and ideas and backs them up with solid facts. Five stars."
- D.R. Gerstein, NetGalley