Posts Tagged ‘Media’

What do the media really do for us?

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Papers, TV, radio, films… They are all full of accidents, wars, conflict, scandal, improprieties, a few bits of business, sports, a bit of culture – and we are no better off for following their productions and writings. A few exceptions can be found.

It is all short term and ad hoc, sensational, out of context…. No follow through: how did it end? What is the consequence or can we learn from it? Analysis anybody?

There must be some entertainment in there as well – some of it good – but not only entertainment.

A change must come. The media must be able to assist us in our thinking – hard thinking – as that is the most interesting and it does not hurt either.

We need help to monitor the long range changes and happenings in the world, our habitat, human health, emerging knowledge that may be useful, new thinking, exposures of falseness, security issues over the long term, economics evaluations of substance, scientific deep news not only tit-bits, substantial art writings, originality, creativity and more. Original stuff – deep, knowlegdeable thinking, engaging, non-superficial.

If we could have this, would we pay? Business models must be unravelled as the lumped all-inclusive offerings of the present are no good. The old offerings are dying and understandably so.

We are eagerly waiting for the future.

Tumultuous media

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Cinema studios are increasingly going international – the big movies are selling well around the globe: 2012, New Moon, Avatar – global sales are what counts. Many films are now taking in most of the money outside the US. The American production dominance is huge and getting more so, but remember Slumdog Millionaire. These films have huge budgets with corresponding risk. Maybe new international film studio entrants are emerging? That could be exciting! Waiting for the Asians to emerge as a force – are tastes too different around the world?

There are now lots of choice in entertainment: increasing number of films, cable and satellite television are doing well with many new services added. Online video is up: everybody is pushing material on to YouTube and quality is improving. Downloading services via the net is improving as internets improve and and the media get their business models right. The many internet shops has greatly expanded choice in DVDs, music and books.

We are now also moving into the cloud – see Apple buying Lala for cloud-music.

The supply of lesser and more special films and music is growing fast, but it seems that so far many are left out in the hassle that big films make. Audiences are also forming special-interest groups, and so the content that occupies the middle ground may be in trouble.

Broadcast television is finding it difficult to continue as before, but is still the biggest as a mass medium. Changes in offerings and business models are overdue for many.

Recorded music is a troubled business with unpaid file-sharing as a big activity. Paid digital download services such as iTunes are doing well. Hit albums can still sell well, and the old music is staying in there and selling well.

The profile of music buyers is changing – young fans are coming in, the grown-ups are now spending more on pop and rock music choosing what is known while the rest is not used. There is now on offer a virtually infinite choice of songs, but people still go for the hits – take no chances! Some songs are streamed, but most are not touched at all. The narrowing of music tastes is in progress? Is classical music still in there?

Mass behaviour is such that a disproportionate share of the audience for a hit is made up of people who consumed few products of that type: People who read a no. 1. novel do not read much else. The audience for an obscure novel is often composed of people who read a lot.

Technology makes entertainment expand the range of products available and it also gives people greater choice in how and when they consume it. So far more choice has not made people go for more special entertainments.

In books the number of special titles bought each year has risen and yet their market share has been reduced. The bestselling books have increased their market share in most countries.The retail marketplace is changing too: the big general bookshops with “everything” is going away and being replaced by online retailers with more than “everything”. Supermarkets now sell a selection of popular books. Reading tablets are in there as well (Kindle, Nook) with enormous selections and advanced technology. And audio books too for the mobile user.

What is a media company to do? Sales become ever more concentrated, hits are all that counts, special interests are present but difficult to make money from. The challenge is new thinking along the old buzzwords:  add value for the customer, use new technology, increase your creativity, improve production, construct advanced payment models, add premium services. The “new” media companies are looking at a thrilling future!

The international market potential is huge: Subscribers increasingly come from the Asia-Pacific region where the people are (they have money too). We’ll see – there are more than 6 billion people in the world, the US has about 5% of that. Maybe we will see a shift of attention into new territory?

As customers we need not worry – the offerings will surely be there. Choice will be ever more abundant and prices will be OK!

Media – getting back to itself – in new armour

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Media houses, especially newspapers and TV-channels, are finding it hard to survive in the web-world.  The net has changed the way we do things and more changes are coming via the many writers – bloggers – aggregators that are sprouting.  Anybody can comment – it hardly costs a thing to start – and the amount of information and commentary is already huge. Many of the new channels are now quite good.

But big fixed costs like printing presses, staff are difficult to sustain. New business models are required – the economics of providing information and news is being reinvented.

An independent press has been the ideal for a long time – to give correct information, to balance the forces in a society, to be a watchdog.  At the moment the big question for the old media seems to be survival – nobody seems to be willing to pay them for news and commentary, and advertising is not giving enough income.

At the same time it can be said that the new media are technically oriented, but not very conscious about its role in society. The new technology is truly awesome – it provides vastly improved possibilities.

Apart from technology and business models there is the question of the public availability of information. Public debate is a prerequisite for a sound society. The old media has been taking this job seriously, and in the new world there is a real danger that the flow of information will change. The access can possibly be controlled by “someone”: the state, the “rich”, the organizers of scams, the lobbyists, the spinners, the marketeers (the mad people).

The conspiracy people are now busy telling the world what goes on, and this is probably a good thing.

But surely people are willing to pay for independent news, commentary, good editing. Public openness must be part of our future – transparency, critical journalism, boldness, journalistic depth, digging out information, perspectives.

The new media is surely arising – but we must also get rid of the old media that we don’t need.