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Ten Things That Will Happen to TV and Newspapers

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Video on the Net, or VON, is beginning to cause excitement in the opinionati, that class of thinker and speaker who gets to call the next hot topic. In fact, VON is beginning to replace Web 2.0 as the topic du jour a trend that saw some of the better known pundits in online convergence scurrying over to Boston this week for the annual VON conference.

At the recent VON convention experts tried figuring out the future of online media and its significance for newspapers and television broadcasters.

Well here’s ten points they missed.

1. Newspapers will have shorn most of their staff within five years and will be relying on a new breed of writer/audio/video patch-maker to add to their online quilt. There is no point hiring people when you can get content for free. Journalists who survive this change will be doing the writing, radio and visuals alongside bloggers, podcasters and vbloggers who have mastered the skill set more quickly.

2. Newspapers will have a much reduced physical presence on newsstands and on shop counters as they deploy their online strategies and will realise belatedly that physical distribution gave them the kind of presence only the milkman and the baker dreamed of. The result will be a much reduced influence in their new online role.

3. Wikipedia or an equivalent will become the Daily Delphic aggregating “authority” from around the web. Newspapers are well placed to be part of the Daily Delphic but so too are news broadcasters, A list bloggers, specialist bloggers and niche meme aggregators.

4. What you know will become more a case of what can you believe and who else believes it too. Confusion and uncertainty will have an impact on social and political life.

5. That means online affiliations will be crucial to a sense of certainty and it will be embedded in virtual and animated worlds like Second Life. What we know and feel comfortable with will be nourished in a fake world.

6. As all information will be free to the end-user, everybody in news production will have to go to the advertiser-pool for every cent that it takes. News bureaux around the world wilil close and the authoratitive “source” will become the local blogger-pool.

7. Television companies will go shock-jock, increasingly focusing on the bizarre and the celebrity as talent moves onto the web as part of the creatives-pool. But they have to comepte with vlogs that can do shocking much worse and hence much better.

8. The television set will be given over to individual and group creativity. In five years time the TV becomes a tool in the house where we carve out a pattern of interaction and creative endeavour, co-building new applications such as our own e-democracy dossiers that compile and deliver messages to erring politicians or we’ll be cobuilding our own games hacked from content that’s out there. Making video clips for YouTube will be passe.

9. Every major organisation and many minor ones have their own audio-visual production facilities and many own channels. The sports network will be run by Adidas, Puma, Nike and Reebok with no need of content and distribution intermediaries.

10. Recommenders will become a new profession.

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About Haydn

  • 4 and 9 are the scariest ones to think of.

  • Youtube is one of the most popular video sharing sites on the net. A year ago, co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen were in between jobs, a pair of twentysomething geeks running up big credit card debts as they tooled around a garage trying to develop an easy way for people to share homemade videos on the Web.

    Hurley says, “I do not want to work hard. I want to live a soft life. I want to sleep for three hours every afternoon. I do not want to stay awake the whole day so that I can get a few grand at the end of each month. That is why I choose to live off the net. I am too lazy to try and survive in the real world. That is why I did not bother to hold down a job though my credit card debt soared. On the net things are handed to me. The idea of youtube came to me from a dinner party with a half-dozen friends in the geratest city in the world San Francisco. It was January, 2005, and we couldnt figure out a good solution. Sending the clips around by e-mail was a bust: The e-mails kept getting rejected because they were so big. Posting the videos online was a headache, too. So we creaed a site and put in basic software.

    “What I and Steve came up with is a Web site, now called YouTube, that has become an Internet phenomenon. Show the honey and the bees will flock to it. We worked for about six hours each week for two months designing youtube. We had the idea to create a community around the video. Once that was done we knew that tons of millions of dollars would just flow into our laps after a buyour which we expect to happen very soon. We will not have to work hard. In the old economy you have to work really hard for a lousy promotion which might give you a few more grand if your employer is very generous. You have to acquire new skills to stay employable. You have to work for 10 fucking years to be able to become financially stable. that is so pathetic. On the net once you have the idea magic will happen. That is what happened at Paypal.

    “The basic software that I and Chen designed allows people to post almost anything they like on YouTube in minutes. Now we are sitting at home on our arses waiting for a buyout. I expect to make at least 400 millon dollars personally. Content has been handed to us on a silver
    platter. We do not have to slog hard to create content like a poorly paid online journalist who makes a lousy 450k each year. We do not have to experience daily financial pressure because our site does not get enough readers.

    “We have it easy. The reason why we never held a job for more than a year was because we felt that a rope was attached to out necks. We would have had to stay chained in an office with four walls. It is such a pain to get up and run in the morning for the sake of a few grand at the end of the month. The content that we offer is free. That is easy for us to that as we do not have to work to create it. Copyrighted work is there for our users to copy and paste as that is work which we have the right to copy. Other content
    comes from common folk wanting to share stuff.

    “Revenues will come from advertising. the net is a click and eyeballs business. The clicks wil come from youtube’s milllions of eeyballs that we have not worked for. It is unearned traffic. We do not have to sweat and bleed for it. That is the privilege of poorly paid online journalists. I do not have to worry about losing my job as my content does not get get enough page views. I do not have to take the initiative about my own life. I do not have to discipline myself. The millions of youtube.com visitors will ensure that this will never happen. I can simply focus on trying to build relationships with my tall, tough women friends in San Francisco. We hang out together. We work out together. We sleep in the afternoon together.”

    [Personal contact info deleted]


    Summary of the Future

    1) Bad and Mis- information at the speed of light.

    2) American Population = Always Entertained; Never Informed.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    Have you read this article? Your thoughts on it would be most interesting, as you may have the most to gain – or lose.

  • andy

    Pretty glib set of predictions I’d say. I also think you are wildly over-estimating the penetration of this sort of technology and the number of people willing to embrace it. rememer youtubes 1% rule… and of that 1% the mass of utter irrelevant dross is astonishing.

    I also think you are hugely understimating TVs greatest strength – i.e to edit and package quality info and entertainment for easy unthinking consumption. the masses want to watch what everyone else is watching and not put any effort into it. Shows of the standard of Lost are not going to vanish to be replaced by shock jock viral video in 5 years…

  • People will access products like Lost through other means. Talent is already migrating to other platforms.

    Ricky Gervais did a series of podcasts last year that reportedly scored 8 million downloads at anything from $4.95 – $6.95 per set of six. That’s for audio! John Cleese wants only to work on the Web. Dan Myrick is an ardent fan of the web as a distribution medium for film.

    The TV set will also be used for podcasts and for trading clip swarm products so we’ll see lots of criss-crossing between media but the economics already favour shock-jock TV – look at Big Brother – and talent wants control, hence Myrcik, Gervais adn Cleese favoured a non-broadcast solution.

  • Yes, Gervais does his podcasts – but when he wants to make something a bit more elaborate than blokes sitting round and talking, it’s for BBC2 and HBO.

    Anyone can write a few hundred words and upload it to the web, anyone can shoot a talking head video and upload it – but (so far) there’s nothing visual online which starts to approach a 1960s studio-based sitcom in terms of production values, much less a Lost.

    That’s not to say there won’t be, but… not just yet.

  • ka

    mostly rubbish.

  • andy

    yep – the whole ricky gervais podcast, arctic monkeys viral popularity arguments are glaring exceptions that simply prove the rule that on-line media ain’t as great or pervasive as bloggers tend to think it is.

  • Is this before or after DTP kills newspapers?

    Trying to coin new acronyms is a WOT.

  • Jacky

    Screw YouTube. No one’s stupid enough to buy that shit.

  • Good article. While I don’t necessarily agree with absolutely everything in it, times are changing.

    I also Dugg It!

  • Daniel Jolt

    You forget something important.


    In most European countries there’s a TV license tax.
    In my country it’s over US$20 per month/household you have to pay if owning a TV and laws are being changed to tax the internet as well.

    With this kind of backing, radio and TV in Europe will not die soon and with there will still be proper news.

  • Tom Parks

    I’ve never read more pure crap concentrated in one place.

    What the heck does #9 actually say? It sounds like this was written by a random jargon dictionary-scrubbing robot.

  • I couldn’t help laugh at loud at some of the ridiciulous predictions. There is no substitute for an actual reporter, the children producing “free content” are not the future. Also, you should know that Wikipedia is the biggest piece of crap available on the Net. If you use Wikipedia for a reference, you should be fired or receive and F.

  • FrankieGoesToHollywood

    I like your creative thinking and imagination. It’s fun to try and ‘predict’ what will happen in 5, 10 even 50 years. It’s easy to think from ‘your perspective’ what might happen, but doing some research might help you understand the reality (and lack of credibility) of blogging and posting. There will always, read ‘always’ be a demand for news and information that has quality control systems in place like the AP. Remember, back in the 1800’s, anyone could publish. It was the publications with the most credibility that survived – formed organizations like the AP, etc.

    A more realistic ‘vision’ for even 10 years from now, would look something like this:
    1. Newspapers learn to focus solely on local content. Small newspapers in isolated areas have the best chance for surviving.
    2. TV Broadcast news will take the biggest hit (as it already is). Again, more laser focused locally, with more hard-content like community and less violence broadcasting.
    3. Blogosphere: Still kicking, a thousand-fold number of blogs. Perhaps the bloggers will subscribe to a new doctrine or organization much like the AP by this time to attempt to establish credibility.

    Remember, just because a single person can ‘report’ and ‘post’ a story out of the web doesn’t mean its accurate. Anyone can type a flyer and pass it out on campus, it doesn’t mean it’s “news”. I’m not saying TV or Newspapers are accurate all the time either, but the protocol with data gathering, reporting and the system of editors and chief editors and finally AP quality control is at least a means for finding errors prior to publishing/broadcasting.

    In the meantime – keep on blogging, keep on grass-roots reporting. It’s that spirit of free speech that makes this country so great. If you have a voice and an opinion, it’s your choice to express it!!!

  • Baronius

    Interesting, especially the predictions about television. I agree with most of it. There’s an opportunity for the right entity to bridge television and the internet, kind of like MSNBC thought it would but didn’t. I have no idea what the end product would look like, but it would provide the depth of (better) internet sites and the authority of (better) established news outlets.

    Figure that one out, and you’ll be feeding caviar to all the tigers in your estate’s private zoo.

  • Interesting article, maybe a bit on the exaggerated side however – but still some cogent points made. Internet TV already exists actually.

  • Newspapers often offer online news feeds – this will undeniably survive. Service like this clearly takes advantage of the availability of such free and high-quality content.

  • The whole Ricky Gervais, Arctic Monkeys thing – I had to come back on this.

    There’s an assumption that we’re looking at a division between TV – talent; and new media – no talent.

    When you work inside media organisations you develop a siege mentality – there’s so much talent out there its damn scary to go to work in case more than the odd one or two gets through the door – that’s why TV and newspapers are hostile environments. Likewise with bloggers, many do a better job than staffers at newspapers. Likewise with the lack of diversity in the voices we hear, they’re knocking, they’re knocking.

    Current changes are fascinating because they’re going to make us all think harder, create more astutely, articulate with a better eye on who society belongs to. It ain’t just about Gervais and the Monkeys but about an educated society that used to limit opportunity.

  • Everybody said the newspaper is dead when Internet marching along in 1999. Are they?

    Now this so-called ‘pundit’ is saying that Bloggers will rule the content-network and so on and so on. Will they?

    Apparently not. The accuracy of a blog or user-generated media will never ever match those from source-generated media. It takes someone to supervise the story to guarantee that the content is accurate.

    And that can’t be achived in a user-generated content.

  • Max

    Internet has a long way to go to kill the TV news. The problem is infrastructural – there is not enough bandwidth and there is not enough IP adresses. The IPv6 protocol (Web 2.0) is adapted very slowly, and the Internet bandwidth that can match the HDTV quality is nonexistent even on paper.

    However, many newspapers will be forced to migrate to the Net, because the Net perfectly matches the newspaper format – it’s fast and provides good dynamic content. But displacing TV – forget about it.

    What I think will happen, is that TV will become hybridized with the Web – it may become much more interactive.

  • jfilby

    Very scary…. we are already where we have more news commentaries than news. Items 1, 4-6 are the most concerning. As we need more diversity in our lives, this movement allows us to stay coccooned in hearing nothing but what we want to hear and the loudest and most vehement are the “opinion leaders” of the day. “Truthiness” wins over facts.

  • I want to be a Recommender! 😀

    P.S. what’s a Recommender?