Danny Taggart's Blogarama

A more-or-less daily dose of news, politics, techmology, and any random thoughts that pass through my head.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

A look at the media revolution

A lot has been written lately about the overthrow of the MSM by the blogosphere and the new media. I want to explore this further. For starters, why did the Big Media arise in the first place? Why wasn't the main public medium local newspapers or pamphleteers, which are similar to today's bloggers?

One answer is advertising revenue. Previously, it took a wide readership to generate lots of ad revenue, to pay for printing and distribution costs. So, with the lower production cost of the web, blogs can effectively compete without much advertising revenue. But where does advertising fit into the cause-effect cycle of media influence?

There is also the aspect of credibility, of branding. Out of a fiercely competitive environment there usually arise a handful of stars, the "gods" of the environment. We are witnessing the destruction of the old media gods (old TV networks, old newspapers, etc.), but also the erection of new gods online. After all, most news-blog traffic goes to a few popular sites, (e.g., InstaPundit).

What does this mean for the future of decentralized media? Do we have the same risk of the media falling into bias and corruption - or is there something fundamentally different this time? My feeling is that it is indeed a different world, but not as dramatic as some make it out. The image of everyman setting up his own blog and speaking truth to power is just that - an image. It is a symbol of the revolution that is happening, but not the revolution itself. The vast majority of blogs will not be newsmaking or influential, but they will collectively form the competitive milieu in which the new media must operate.

The real results of the new media will be 1. lower production costs leading to 2. a highly competitive environment along with 3. technologically sophisticated media delivery and therefore 4. more variety, more choices, no monopoly of information.