The Future Of Media

The Future Of Media, by Z Blog.

Live streams are popping up all over. The number of dissident YouTube channels has grown to a point where it is hard to track them. Podcasts exist for every conceivable audience. Again, the small footprint guys can do well enough to make a living from it, but this model does not scale up. One guy making videos from home can do well enough to live. A company with overheads cannot make it work.

One reason internet media operations cannot scale up is that sharing is integral to selling ads for the site. Sharing stories, video and comments brings eyeballs to the site. The trouble is, the cost of pulling that off for a broad audience, exceeds the revenue from selling ads on the site, so the site has to go the paywall route. Paywall content cannot be shared, so this solution actually makes the problem worse. In other words, you can be a paywall site or an ad-based site, but you can’t be both and you can’t be big.

The exception, of course, is when an oligarch owns the operations. Carlos Slim subsidizes the New York Times, so he can guarantee positive coverage in America of himself and his allies in Lebanon and Mexico. Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post for the same reason. Oligarchs have different motivations than companies, which is why corporate ownership is not a solution. Verizon expects to make money from the Huffington Post, which is why they are cutting costs and will eventually drop the site.

Basically media doesn’t pay any more. The old models of advertising paying for news colleciton is failing.

Soon all the news providers are going to be in it for political reasons. The pay off for them is political, and they hope not to lose too much money in the meantime. The Australian ABC, British BBC etc are in the box seat, because they get taxpayer money to pursue their political agenda and don’t even have to come close to turning a profit.