Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Media Paradigm

We live in rapidly changing times.  Technology is changing and in many ways certain things are not moving with the time.  With the hurried pace that the way media interacts with us changing, it is interesting that very few media outlets are leading the charge.  This idea came up recently while watching House of Cards, the U.S. Production.  It is the first major Television series not to be on a network.  It was produced for Netflix.  All thirteen episodes were available the day of release.  In the show itself, the subject of news and how it is disseminated in the new internet paradigm comes up.  A character, an old school journalist, calls blogging and Twitter fads.  Calling it a fad is a mistake, blogs have been around since the late 1990’s.  So we have had over sixteen years of them, many blog sites have become legitimate news sources such as Ain’t it Cool News, Huffington Post and The Drudge Report.  The show was showing the resistance we are seeing in the corporate culture of the older media paradigm.  The interesting thing is the show itself is breaking the distribution model for Television that is prevalent today.

Thanks to the internet content providers (show creators, musicians, writers, and artists) can go directly to their consumers.  This scares the media conglomerates that were the gatekeepers for the longest time.  iTunes, VUDU, Netflix, Kickstarter, Comixology, and e-books are examples were people are going straight to the consumer without needing publishers, distributors, and media company’s help.  The internet has made us closer when dealing with certain pop culture communities.  In the 80’s there were cassette sharing mailing groups, now we have iTunes and YouTube.  You can show your friends stuff even half a world a way in an instant.  Writers like Scott Sigler, Tee Morris, Philippa Ballantine, Abigail Hilton, and Nathan Lowell are building their own audiences and self publishing their works.  These examples and others by growing grass roots audiences have caught the notice of major publishers.  Many have signed, while others continue to self publish so they have more control of their work.

A new pattern for watching Television has developed.  People are waiting for whole seasons to become available as DVD or on sites like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon for purchase.  Then folks will watch episode after episode.  This is referred to as marathoning or power loading a show.  With House of Cards, Netflix put out all 13 episodes, the day of release.  Reviewers, who were used to the old way of media distribution, were use to getting episodes weekly early as screener or reviewer copies.  They had difficulty with everything being available all at once.  They were not sure how to gauge the pacing of the show with the whole season being available immediately.  Many people however are used to this.  Various pop culture web sites talk about waiting till the show is completely available online, as DVD or till the whole season is saved up on their DVR.  Some networks make it difficult to see a show online without a subscription through cable or another content provider.  Many folks would like to see an online subscription format for many cable networks.  Hulu does this to a degree with Hulu Plus.  One problem with this is that many of the cable companies and content providers are also ISPs as well.  They do not feel the need to offer this, since it countermands their methodology.

Due to the changing ways we are getting our media, many media outlets are failing.  Radio and Print media are in serious decline.  Why listen to radio where you do not choose the programming when with a smart phone or media player you program your own.  You pick you music, shows and other content, not some executive who may or may not share your tastes.  Many are doing this with television with Hulu, Amazon, VUDU, Netflix and DVD home delivery formats.  CBS recently set up a deal with Amazon to sell episodes of their shows soon after airing. Things are rapidly changing and these companies need to change or possibly become extinct.  That is My Not So Humble Opinion. 

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