Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Chaos


Oh baby, I love it. The big mondo media world is finding size, in fact, does not matter.

From today's Wall Street Journal:
The first round of bids for Tribune Co. have come in low, prompting the newspaper and TV company to notify bidders that it is now prepared to consider offers for parts of the business, say people familiar with the situation.
The brief story then talks about how 'wealthy individuals' like David Geffen are interested in buying parts of the Tribune Company like The Los Angeles Times.

We're seeing this in radio land as well. Rumors are afoot that Clear Channel, with flat profits and no more room to grow, is looking at selling off stations.

Could it be the value of these assets is dropping as they get farther and farther behind how real people are using media? Smearing ink on ground up tree's and sending out energy on a tiny slice of electromagnetic spectrum were once cutting edge technology for media distribution. No more. Geffen is in his 60's. He's interested because he has an ego and 'owning a newspaper' is one of those ego gratifying trophies that an older generation still think of as valuable.

I, personally, read newspapers (from all over the country) daily. But not a single one is printed on paper. I dont' think I've read a physical world newspaper in several years. And I spend alot more time reading blogs that, often, reference a newspaper story. This gives me context (I trust the bloggers perspective which gives me confidence that reading the story is worth my time). 80% of the newspaper stories I read now are filtered THROUGH a blog entry recommending it. Hows that for role reversal?

And the same applies to radio. It used to be at the center of my music world, but no more. Now, I listen to podcasts of personalities playing music I like, or streams from services like Pandora and LastFM that let me create my own radio station on the fly or through linking with other like minded (or not like minded) music fans that recommend things I might like.

Even my favorite radio, NPR, is being supplanted by 'talk' podcasts like David Cohen's Coloradostartups, Diggnation, Web2.0show and some old NPR shows that are getting the podcasting religion like This American Life.

The media landscape is changing fast. Media consumers are rapidly shifting from atoms to bits. Long tails are popping up all over. Social networking is driving content creation and consumption more each day. Much of this was predicted back in 1995 when the web really took off, but it didn't happen quickly. But here we are, over 10 years later, and the tipping point may very well have just hit in earnest. As Gates says: we tend to overestimate what will happen in the next year and underestimate what will happen in the next 10.

Did I miss a meme or buzzword in that last paragraph? Yea, but I got the big ones.

It's a great time to be in the middle of the chaos. The Chinese character for chaos is a combination of two other characters : Trouble and Opportunity. I couldn't agree more.

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