A conversation about big-box media

There’s a must-read conversation about media synergy between Anne Kreamer and Kurt Andersen at Fast Company. Andersen, who will always be known as the founding editor of Spy, is probably the most insightful observer of the media business. Some highlights:

AK: At a dinner with a few senior AOL Time Warner executives this past summer, just before Bob Pittman left, I asked good-naturedly, What was the mission of the company? The best answer was, “Well, we have to be more aggressive about our marketing and ad-sales packages.”
KA: What’s incredible to me is that most moguls still believe in size as the ultimate imperative. … When I had dinner with Rupert Murdoch at the TED conference earlier this year, I was flabbergasted when he sincerely fretted that News Corp. wasn’t big enough to compete effectively.

The conversation concludes with a comparison of media ecology to urban planning: a media culture should be like a vibrant downtown, with unique, unplanned, unstructured choices within easy walking distance. As much as I love Jane Jacobs, A Pattern Language, and The Geography of Nowhere, I never made this analogy, which is dead-on and extremely useful.