technology creates media businesses
I stumbled to my feet
I rode past destruction in the ditches
With the stitches still mending beneath a heart-shaped tattoo
Renegade priests and treacherous young witches
Were handing out the flowers that I’d given to you.
“Pop Culture” is an interesting phrase that suggests the ever-changing nature of society. It is nurtured by media. It is never still. It is always searching, looking for more… fed by curiosity or by lust? Doesn’t matter. Only change matters.
Remember the writer’s strike about 18 months ago? At the time I concocted a theory that this was not a new phenomenon, it had happened before. I claimed that it was derivative of a technology change, and furthermore, it proved that the technology at the centre of the dispute has reached critical mass – let me illustrate.
- The 1960 Writer’s Guild Strike was about writer’s right to receive a share of revenue of the studios from the lease or sale of movies to television (commercially available since the late 1930s).
- In 1988 the Writers Guild went on strike over the home video market (commercially available since the 1970s), which was then small and primarily consisted of distribution via video tape. It did have an international component and residual agreements also applied to DVDs.
- In the strike of 2007 the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) deemed one of the critical issues for the negotiations was residuals for new media (commercially available since the 1990s), or compensation for delivery channels such as Internet downloads, streaming, smart phone programming, straight-to-Internet content, and other “on-demand” online distribution methods, along with video on demand on cable and satellite television.
Look at the clusters of technologies and potential audience mass preceding each strike. Broadcast TV ushered in changes from Movies and Radio. Strike. TV to Cable and Home Video meant even more access to media. Strike. Expanding further into the home’s total time came IP with its many new ways of providing content access. Strike 3. Thus, every time a new technology became mainstream, was accepted by the consumer and gained critical mass and more penetration – the medium attracted money. This then led to a strike, which led to adjustments in the business model to balance the rewards for stakeholders. In the case of the first strike, it came about 30 years after the introduction of TV. The second and third strikes took about 20 years. This suggests a couple of things given the 20-30 years for business to catch up:
- New technologies create new business models (just look at the chart above)
- It takes a while for the technology to prove itself
- It takes time to be broadly understood, accepted and to create an economy (this is getting quicker with IP)
- The timeframe suggests a generational change
So Taras’ Theory of Media Viability is: “A medium’s popularity is a function of the attention of the talent pool whose creativity drives, and seeks reward on that medium.”
The corollary is: “Not all mediums require talent.”
The extension is: “Popularity, if correctly monetized will ensure viability.”
For in the end, without the content to drive a connection between humans, there is nothing to transact… lonely bloggers like me actually get that! However, sometimes user-generated content is all that matters (telegraph, telephone, fax, email, internet etc.) in that case, the connection mechanism is the business.
Tell me it isn’t so… I’m listening.