Media Influencer

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The revolution that never happened

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Leslie Moonves, chief executive of CBS, the grey flannel of the
traditional broadcasting world, summed up the mood of the time.
“There’s no such thing as old or new media any more,” he proclaimed,
making a public overture to Chad Hurley, the co-founder of YouTube who
has become the face of the second internet revolution. “There is just
media.”

Bullshit! Internet is not about media, let alone ‘the media’ – whether in its first, second or whatever revolution. And while I am at it, what revolution? Only in the minds of media executives who believe their own propaganda and assume that everything happens in neat headlines. The First internet revolution! The Second Internet Revolution!! The Third Internet Revolution!!! Coming Out Real Soon Now!!!!

Chad Hurley is the face of the changes caused by the internet only because it is convenient for speeches like the one delivered by Leslie Moonves. The faces behind the trends that keep the old media awake are the ones emerging from the mass consumer demographics. But times are tricky for the ‘old media’ to pay attention to such trifles.

Technology companies such as YouTube and Apple, which
have found innovative ways to appeal to digital consumers, want a
bigger say in setting the rules for how business is done. It is not
clear yet how far the media groups, already chafing at losing control
over distribution and now threatened with ceding ground over
fundamental business issues, are prepared to go along.

So the media industry needs new strategies that incorporate the ’social media space’ and harness UGC. And job positions and budgets to create those. That’ll teach the online technology upstarts. But what is the point when the foundations of media business models are far from solid. Paid content anyone? Walled gardens? DRM? Ads? None of this was ever ‘user-friendly’ but it was bringing money in the channel world. The network works differently though. From the long tail via iTunes, BitTorrent to YouTube and to the hundreds of thousands of videos ‘produced’ outside the media supply chain, there is an alternative. And that may be more than the media executives can stomach.

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