why molten lead?

March 5, 2009 at 10:23 pm 2 comments

As bits to the screen, so are the days of our lives…

In the late 80’s and early 90’s I was involved with a publishing startup. We produced the first full color ‘vogue quality’ magazines targeted specifically at verticals within the computer industry. Starting in a spare back room and outsourcing stuff we didn’t know how to do, we quickly progressed from typesetting to an early version of Ventura (running on GEM), though to a network of PC’s running Quark. Yes! wincrazy eh? We should have been using Macs, but they were too expensive and we loved VMS, unix and they were a bit more interoperable than MacOS at the time, and certainly PC’s that we built ourselves were a heck of a lot cheaper. We went from one solitary magazine to five, and by the way, the magazines were free!

A couple of things we learned. Mr. Packer and Mr. Murdoch had just replaced legions of typesetters and presses with digitally enabled .pdf based printers that signaled the end of printing as we knew it. They were starting to produce color newspapers! We also learned that ‘desktop publishing’ (remember that cute phrase) for the masses really meant trying to see how many fonts and colors could be crammed onto a page. We also learned that you could take a skill, like good page design and repackage that skill with a different tool and you could start a new ‘cheap as chips business’ and make some very good money. Targeted advertising for an industry segment leveraging free content!

So… adding that experience to my varied experiences in media leads me to the following conclusion. A conclusion by the way that I have been espousing since October 2003 (if you’re interested I can tell you why that date).

Here it is. The world of video is changing. Captain obvious you say! But just as printing went from molten lead to bits, so video moves from BNC to bits and from video engineers to IT engineering. Still obvious. Printing evolved through this transition almost 20 years ago and is now losing serious money as a segment. We know that too. This time, video will meet the same fate, but it will not take 20 years! Look at the news. The content owners and distributers want your identity, not because they want to see what you’re ripping off, but rather because they want to prop up their model. Too little too late?

Why and How? This, I’ll explain in forthcoming blogs.

Tell me it isn’t so… I’m listening.

Entry filed under: Media. Tags: , , , , , .

when tv grows up…

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tim P  |  September 17, 2009 at 7:16 am

    Just read this… And so happens you know a guy who has actually run an old linotype machine. When I worked for a check printer, before we automated the printing operation, we produced thousands of check books every day using automated linotype systems, with “molten” lead. Always fascinated by printing presses, I learned how to run one myself. I guess that puts me near dinosaur status, but I have printer’s ink in my blood.

    • 2. tbugir  |  September 18, 2009 at 6:42 am

      Funny expression “having… in my blood”. We’ve often spoken about getting media in your blood. Having affinity for something is a difficult habit to shake…


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