Here’s a quote from an Economist article — guess what year it was published:

Jessica Reif Cohen, a media analyst at Merrill Lynch, reckons that profits from online advertising and paid content could represent up to 8-9% of total earnings for Disney, Viacom and News Corporation in 3-5 years and considerably more for Time Warner, courtesy of AOL. The most obvious opportunity is to put the content they already own on new platforms.

No, not 1999, this week.

Of course, this time around the big Internet gold rush is being driven by broadband/digital video and (heaven help us) Web 2.0.

Paul Kedrosky appropriately observed how Thomas Pynchon-esque this all seems.

What jumps out at me from that Economist quote is the last line. Print media companies went through this cycle of taking their existing content and shoving it online (and most haven’t evolved past that).

When are any of these media companies going to start thinking about creating content FOR digital media — then unbundle it and let the 2.0 network effect take over?

The problem is the deeply entrenched economics of Old Media, e.g. DVD sales, print circulation. But that will pass soon enough — just ask music companies about CD sales.

The parting quote from the article:

“In 2002 it was career death to be involved with the internet, now it’s a career priority.”

Even my two-year-old daughter can tell you that a sheep says Ba Ba.