The present and future of post production business and technology

Why ‘Big Media’ Was Just a Historical Blip!

Why ‘Big Media’ Was Just a Historical Blip

The question isn’t so much that Big Media is giving way to New Media, but rather that the era of Big Media – i.e. mass media, is a historical anomaly.

Before mass media all media was small, serving local audiences or (with books) very slowly distributed over wider territories. Then came an era of mass capital and limited airwaves that allowed broadcasters to build mass audiences, up to the 130 million Americans that saw “Roots” during its first broadcast.

The movie studios once owned all the production technology, talent and distribution channel – the movie theaters. That structure was forcibly broken apart, but the broadcast industry has fragmented due to the proliferation of cable channels, and now direct Internet distribution.

The cited article covers the why in detail and proposes:

Put very simply, if we take today’s early adopters as a sign of where things are headed, the structure of people’s lives has changed such that no one content creation OR distribution company takes up the bulk of a person’s day. Instead, time is spread very thin across a number of outlets of not only media, but other activity too. Work, social life, travel and family, now spread out over both space and time as more and more people live in cities, occupy more of a person’s day.

To wit: people’s lives are no longer organized in a way that will allow media to dominate someone’s days for hours. Media can no longer be as dominant because of the strange situation in which it is both everywhere and nowhere all at once.

The article continues with some great ideas on how the whole nature of “work” and “non work” is changing (among the leading/bleeding edge consumer) which will lead to inevitable changes to mass media because of the way the structure of people’s lives change.

What will it look like? In a day, a person might use a personalized news service, check a social network, watch a TV show – but never in the same place and from the same content company. And because more and more people will live in the city – where a multi-faceted day in which people move around, go out and are just ‘busy’ more often – less and less people could watch four hours of TV a day or spend 2 or 4 hours a week at the movie theatre.

And so for that reason and many more, big media companies will just have to accept that they will never be massive companies again.