Monday, July 02, 2007

The New Old Media

And so it begins. Google starts acting like a traditional TV network with it's (sort of) attack on Sicko. from The Inquirer:

Here's the recap. Michael Moore's new film, Sicko, goes on general release this week and has been widely applauded by critics, pundits and bloggers - across party lines, interestingly enough - as a well-made and powerful document of the flaws in the American health care system and the providers of that care.

Consequently, the health care industry is taking something of a beating in the popular press, and many would argue deservedly so. Not, however, Lauren Turner of the Google Advertising team - she suggested in a recent blog post to the Google Health Advertising Blog (yes, such a thing exists) that the movie was deeply flawed, and failed to show the health industry in its best light. The answer, she suggested, was for healthcare monopolies to buy ads on Google against the keywords "Michael Moore" and "Sicko", thus promoting the healthcare industry to those searching for information on Moore's film.

Where have we seen this before?

Let's give away a service, say, entertainment... and instead of charging each user for access, let's shift the payment for that service to people wanting to sell their products by pitching them during use of that service.

That's television.

Google (and Yahoo, and any other internet based service that gives away a service in exchange for the selling of advertising) are heading down the same road. And, human nature being what it is, they'll very likely look and act just like Television Networks (and radio and other advertising supported media) more and more as time goes by.

This Sicko flap happened because Google isn't very sophisticated about this (yet). You can bet they'll get sophisticated quickly enough though. In a few years you'll likely be seeing behavior's very similar to what you've seen the TV folks doing for decades. Google (and all the others) may be technology companies in how they operate, but their business is media and advertising. And that's what'll drive their day to day decisions.

It'll seem a bit slimy and evil (like this Sicko thing), but it's really just a young innocent set of companies getting older, more mature and, in the process, losing some of that naive child-like glow. And yea, it's still a little slimy and evil. It'll happen anyway.

Welcome to the new old media!

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An excellent read from an ex-evangelical.

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