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The final day of The Kelsey Group’s Drilling Down on Local conference featured a keynote by Merrill Brown of MMB Media. Brown is an industry guru with a history of developing groundbreaking media strategies and operations. Among other things, he has been editor-in-chief then SVP of He also created Court TV along the way.

Brown’s comments served as a fitting capstone for much of the conference — or given his morning time slot, perhaps I should say a prequel to the conclusion.

Brown thinks the various “revolutions” that are shaking up online market-making and marketplaces are in their early stages. Specifically, he believes:

  • The newspaper industry is just beginning a period of wrenching restructuring (of its content strategy and business model).
  • Verticals will continue to grow apace, to the point where online vertical markets will play a vital part of our quotidian online experience.
  • Web 2.0 capabilities (e.g., social networking, video) will become closely woven into online markets.

What was most interesting about his remarks, however, was his overall tone. Brown spoke with the urgency of someone (a guru) who senses we’re in the early stages of a real revolution, and we need to be aware of the magnitude of the changes to come.

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