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Who says Old Media won’t become the leaders in New Media? 7/14/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in Old media.

At an off-the-record session at the Sun Valley big-wig conference, Internet pioneer Mark Andreesen is quoted as saying ‘If you have old media, you should sell…If you own newspapers, sell. If you own TV stations, sell. If you own a movie studio, sell.” If that’s true, what in New Media should one buy?

It does seem that all these media will ultimately converge onto the Internet, so perhaps the printing presses, broadcast towers, and movie distribution networks will become obsolete. But, someone has to produce the content. And right now, the content leaders are all in Old Media. The most successful New Media company, Google, produces essentially no content. The mammoth blog the DrudgeReport produces virtually no original content. Facebook and Myspace produce micro content for friends and relatives.

Do we really expect that all of our preferred content will suddenly come from amateurs engaged in social computing? It seems like some professional class will need to be involved, and to date that class still resides in Old Media, still working for the big Old Media brands. So until that professional class moves, perhaps it is not yet time to sell.


1. Michael W. Perry - 7/14/08

I can still remember that media conference at the University of Washington circa 1993. Someone had suggested that the giants of the Old Media might not dominate the New. An executive at a local network news station explained why he thought that would never happen.

Quality production, he said, costs lots of money. Only they had the money, so only they could create the shows that attract large audiences who, in turn, bring in the advertising revenue that funds pricey productions. If you were in that lucrative loop, you stayed in it. If you weren’t, you could never get in, except perhaps by making a lot of money elsewhere.

Since then I’ve always looked with favor on anything that suggests that good entertainment doesn’t require lots of capital and that the ability to create it isn’t confined to a select few in NYC and LA.

Marc Andreessen may be exaggerating. For entertainment, the Internet is a distribution medium little different from any other. A show produced for digital TV and broadcast at a fixed time can also be sold via iTunes for viewing any time. No one needs to sell the old distribution medium to finance then new. The two can work side by side.

News gathering/distribution is another matter. It’s advertising revenue is drying up and no one seems to know how it will be funded in the future. Perhaps we’ll read specially tailored for us news on iPhones, perhaps not. Perhaps big city dailies will still create news stories using paid staff. Perhaps almost everyone will be doing work for hire and paid poorly.

All media can’t be lumped together. Entertainment could be entering a golden age. News gathering may not. That latter thought is depressing. Can a democracy stay healthy without a strong news media?

–Michael W. Perry, editor of The School of Journalism by Joseph Pulitzer.

2. Pavlik’s Blog » How will we produce original content in a new media environment? - 7/15/08

[…] proven that there is a market for such media entities. However, they’re not out there producing new content. Instead, they’re feeding off of Old Media for the news, and adding their own […]

3. Jeff Garrity - 8/6/08

Old media will continue to dominate major news coverage because they alone will have the capacity to bring news to the masses. In the future live news coverage will be the method huge media companies use to to attract mass audiences, and viewers will not be able to skip commercials because the programming will be live. Placements will become more and more acceptable, even in “news” shows. Veracity and usefulness will give way to the sensational and salacious. I’ve written a novel, called “Mars Girl,” that explores these ideas. The book is available for free download (under a Creative Commons license) at http://www.manybooks.net (search for “mars girl”) and at http://www.uptonroadpress.com.

Here’s a short review excerpt:

“Mars Girl is reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut’s early satire … [It’s] a bizarre, satirical romp that offers a glimpse into the media and politics of a future that is probably nearer than most would like to admit.” -City Pulse

Full article:

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