Tuesday, March 24, 2009

CBC Mini-Series Blames Death of Old Media on Internet

CBC, The End, InternetWell, as big of a role as the Internet may have on the death of traditional media, there’s more to it. Newspaper, Radio, and Television coexisted for nearly a century despite being introduced as replacements. (Image: CBC) So why is it that the Internet is suddenly destroying the traditional media? Why are publishers stopping the presses or radio stations consolidating? It is the promise of the Internet that caused these things, not the medium itself.

The promise of the Internet is interactivity; we have control as users. We’ve made the shift from passive consumers to active creators. Something newspaper, radio, and television cannot provide at the same level as the Internet. Below are responses to each segment in the series:

The End of Radio

The focus of this episode is on the ability of a user to pick what they want to hear. User selection is an important shift enabled by the Internet, but it is not a shift in the industry. More content is exposed, but profitability is still key. Podcasts let people share their thoughts to many, listen when and how you want, and reach more people, but it’s still the same model. Satellite or Internet broadcasting is growing, staying, but is not a revolution.

The End of Television

Television continuing in a new form is what CBC should hope for as a broadcaster. TV was linear, but is now showing up on more and more devices however and whenever you want. Video blogs do not replace this medium; for them to match the production and content creation levels of television, the same bureaucracy would need to be recreated.

Portable devices can show both professional content and amateur content. The Internet enables this equality and opportunity; it doesn’t mean the end of big media. There's a shift in delivery, not in the inevitability of big players coming into existence.

The End of Print

Print is dying, CBC would have us understand, because of blogging growth. Regular people’s blogs are becoming self-sustained small-businesses -- that is definitely a fact. The consensus of the interviews is that the gatekeeper is removed, resulting in a more active democracy. CBC’s failure to focus on this interactivity damages the overall discussion.

Journalists interviewed in the episode reject the power of bloggers; claiming they lack credibility. What they have that these journalists don’t is the collective intelligence. Margaret Atwood claims there is a physical connection to books; they are convenient and real. These are the sentiments of past generations. The Internet may only access 5% of the world’s knowledge, but how much does a book access? How much does a library? The Internet is growing and expanding; it is ahead now and will always be ahead.

Audio, Video, and Text are here to stay. Devices change and evolve. Technological advances consolidate many access methods into few, but that doesn’t change the structure of the system. Big media exists because popularity happens; because there is money to be made. CBC may be right that paper, television sets, and radio receivers are on their way out, but the industry isn’t. Integration and consolidation is the future.