Posted by Tom Foremski - January 4, 2010
A massive dislocation in the crust of the media landscape caused by self-publishing media technologies will raise a media Tsunami that will wash away at the value of all media.
The media is dead, long live the media. We now have more media, in more formats, in more times of the day and night, from more people -- than at any other time in history. And we will get even more in 2010.
The many different forms of media will continue to flourish and splinter and to compete with each other in 2010, only at a far greater scale.
This is all made possible because of the availability of very powerful and inexpensive self-publishing tools and services:
- Blogging software helped make self-publishing easy. Movable Type was a breakthrough product in the early 2000s, the 'Pagemaker' of its day. But you had to know how to install it and configure it. These days, there are multitudes of hosted publishing platforms that make everything simple. Posterous, for example, allows you to blog by simply sending an email to your account.
- Twitter makes self-publishing even easier, using the simple text message format to send a short post.
- Facebook and other social networks are set up to make self-publishing tremendously simple. Facebook, for example, automatically creates a news feed based on what you did: Tom uploaded some photos, Tom is going to Jill's party... all without having to actually write anything.
- Same for video, music, podcasts...
The single most important technology of the past decade has been the development of self-publishing tools and services.
And very importantly: we have now traversed the cultural change that questioned whether we needed these tools, whether blogging or Twitter or Facebook or YouTube really mattered, or have a future. We've moved on.
We're now entering the full-blown creation and publishing phase. It's not just a relatively small group of early adopters that used and evangelized these tools and services, it has now moved mainstream. It is now involving millions, tens of millions, and soon hundreds of millions of people.
We have all the elements in place for a media Tsunami. A giant wave of media of all types will wash over us.
And it won't be all dross -- there will be a huge amount of great media, great blog posts, great Tweets, great videos, great discussions, great music.
What will this mean?
This Tsunami will wash away at the value of all media. By value I mean the monetary value.
-If you are trying to make a living as a media professional it's going to be even tougher this year. You will need something else to sell aswell.
- The advertising model will continue lose value simply because there is more competition for attention and it is tougher to aggregate large numbers of readers or viewers. This will affect established media brands and also new brands entering the market.
- All the ills affecting the media industry in TV, radio, newspapers, book publishing, etc, will continue, and will accelerate in 2010.
- PR and marketing will be even tougher in 2010. It will cost more for a company to rise above the noise. But few companies will realize that they need to spend more on PR and marketing because they think that you can use 'social media,' which is free. When in fact it's all media and it's not free because people's labor isn't free.
- It will become tougher to have good government, to make good decisions as a society, to vote for the right solutions because it will be difficult to communicate amidst all the noise and clamor for attention.
The media Tsunami will come in waves but it will eventually break. And much of the freely generated media will eventually come under commercial control.
The media brands that survive the Tsunami will do very well. From a highly fragmented media landscape will emerge some very large and very profitable media businesses -- unencumbered by the restrictions that currently govern media conglomerates.
However, we face a tough time, a disruptive period, a wild west of sorts. A very interesting time. Paradoxically, media is the worst business to be in right now but media is the best story around.
Welcome to 2010 and a decade that will be defined by its media and will redefine media -- time and again.
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In an effort to make a living as a media professional in 2010 I realize that I will need to expand into consulting services to support my 'habit.' You can contact me at 415 336 7547. Or Tom at Foremski.com.