Tuesday, November 21, 2006

User-controlled Media

What does this mean and why should you care?

It all started back with the remote control. That is the first time we as Americans did not have to get off our duff to change the channel. The result? Commercial comes on and we hit a button to see what's on elsewhere. Fast forward to cable television and now our audiences are segmenting with targeted programming. Channels solely dedicated to music, history, etc. Fast forward to the Internet 1.0 and we now can get any information we want at our fingertips. Fast forward to broadband - the audience is now tired of, and beyond that, fed up with the bombardment and quantity of ad messaging thrown their way, tired of watching programming that is of marginal quality and delivered according to someone else's schedule, and is rapidly migrating from traditional stalwarts like the evening news, primetime programming and traditional retail to non-traditional alternatives like the ever expanding Internet, services like iTunes and social communities and a variety of personal devices like the iPod.

The user is controlling their experience with media like never before and it is turning industries upside down. Sounds exaggerated doesn't it? Well, how do we account for the number of music downloads skyrocketing daily while record stores close, or network news ratings plummeting while blog, news site and news-related forums grow their audiences by the thousands daily, or how about the most telling sign - ad revenue at all traditional media outlets stagnating or even dropping (with the exception of niche magazine pubs), while online ad spending is growing in excess of 25% year after year. So why would the Short Attention Span Theatre make the bold statement that the same digital industry that is crippling the traditional media industry will be it's savior? Stay tuned to find out.

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