Sunday, June 01, 2008

Will free media kill journalism

A post picked up from here Tom Burton talks about the future of journalism

...and threaded by Trevor Cook, whom describes himself as a comms strategist with the line below, led to mu musings.

Yep I'm lost as well.

Trevor Cook says:
"Moffett argues online video consumers will only tolerate about two minutes of advertising per half hour and when a like for like comparison is done between TV and online video, web producers will need to produce content at 1/8th the cost of traditional TV to make the same returns. The question he asks: "Are content producers prepared to reduce production costs…by 88%? Moffett is pessimistic about the ability of Hollywood to make this transition and it is a question equally relevant to magazines and newspapers, as news organizations around the world seek to re-size and re-make their newsrooms and sales forces to fit with the new order.

I think the larger point here is that the web won't be able to do what mass media can do well and that is aggregate the large audiences that are needed to fund expensive content. Every medium finds its niche."


Hello Trevor

Re: your last point, if outfits with strong content, who want to bypass the costs/insurance inherent in Terrestrial and Satellite distribution, see the Net purely as a transmission source then we may probably not see the end of social grouping around the tele.

It's not the future we're promised by experts but. . . we'll watch television, it's just that the content will be coming down the web and with streaming data rates one day matching that of television, live transmission will make some economic sense. shows a slice of that future now.

Though, I agree with your broader premise about the web and aggregating large physical audiences... My pc, which at this point and time I predominantly access the web, is like my toothbrush - a selfish piece of harware.

So yes we won't probably won't gather around a 17 inch screen in the same way perhaps we do with TV, which knocks ad costs, but we'll increasingly share community space online whilst watching the same prog.

A family in the same house, in different rooms, watching the same prog whilst chatting with each other online and only gather together in a room for dinner ? Perish the thought.




Cliff said...

David - Here's my take.....

For what it's worth.

My premise: Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" has as much pull in political news commentary as the big three networks with 18-29 demographic. That same demographic watches more internet video than broadcast content. Correlate that into how quality web video content is produced and you have a potential for creating an audience that will probably be causing many a network programmer to experience sleepless nights.

I personally envision the idea of personal channels being created around HTPC's that will allow HD content to be downloaded to said device and watched at whatever time the viewer chooses - and do so in any room of the house due to home networking. I see this as a radical shift in paradigm for content creators to establish there own "Network company" - Niche in scope, covering such topics as Green living, travel, technology, etc.

The cost of creating ones own network is dramatically less than the cost of a typical broadcast camera - bandwidth is the single biggest expense if an internet channel takes off. All startups operate in the red - many will fail, but those who have sufficient financial backing with a solid business plan and compelling content shot in the new VJ'ism will very likely create a brand that is as mainstream as the big 3 have been here in the states.

This of course is all speculation, but the technology, even right now, is sufficient to establish a niche internet based network station. My vocabulary is insufficient right now to describe more fully what I want to describe but suffice to say, much of this could even be drilled down to a localized level, thus fragmenting the distribution of content even further - especially with the ever increasing costs for travel to exotic regions to create content. It will rely upon the creative vision of Solo shooters to create content that is compelling to their local viewership - maybe only ranging in a few thousand viewers per episode - but the majority of hardware has become commoditized to such an extent that a few thousand dollars is all that is needed to create a new internet broadcast based venue - including servers, cameras and associated equipment, etc.

This is the biggest challenge the traditionalists of broadcast refuse to accept - anyone now has the potential of being another, although very scaled down, Discovery, Travel Channel,Food Network, etc.

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