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We are witnessing the beginning of the end of channels, and the professional infrastructure of content gathering that feeds into them.
That what we heard back when the cable companies first started. All sorts of wonderful things were predicted, new program formats would emerge, 1,000 flowers were supposed to bloom, & blah-dee-blah-blah. I know in LA several whacks at 'alternative programming' delivered over cable were attempted, all failed when the backers ran out of time, money, and/or interest, all failed to capture a measurable 'share' during their time slot.
The failure came to one significant fact and one business fact. The significant fact: it's hard to consistently produce a quality product. The business fact: mass media requires mass manufacturing to produce mass goods requiring mass consumption so the manufacturing buys advertising time sold by the mass media so the mass manufacturer can sell their geegaws, baubles, and other worthless shit, massively.
Looking at the charts kept by YouTube I submit, at this time, independent, uploaded, video production is a 'trailing edge' of the mass culture promoted by the vertically integrated mass media "infotainment" and entertainment corporations.
Another important factor is the existing media companies have enough economic and political clout to move the Fitness Landscape - media consumption environment in total - and structure the Fitness Landscape so as to privilege themselves. Meaning, change, of whatever kind, threatening them will be "outlawed," in whatever sense.
Also the fixed costs of media production are a significant barrier. The average TV show costs ~$3 million US requiring somewhere around $9 million in gross revenue per show. Someone smarter than I needs to come along to run the figures but this is a pretty good idea of what it takes to make a show "successful" under current conditions and, I note, a show has to be successful under current conditions ... got to start where you're starting from. (If ya get my drift!)
One systematic effect on the "suit-side" of the entertainment business as the number of channels increase is the overall decline of TV viewership of a successful show:
as the number competitors in each time slot increases. So as the cost of a show has risen over the past 50 years the number of viewers, directly related to the ad income of a show, has fallen so the amount of ad revenue per viewer has to rise, meaning more ad time per show to 'cost-average' across the network's offerings.
Now add the well recognized fact the planet is already media-saturated and a substantial answer to the question, "Who Cares?" has to be found. Allied to that is how to get those who would care to notice your existence. Then got to figure out how to keep the audience coming back. And, finally, how to get money outta the viewers to pay for It All. Plus profit. Also. Too.
The most likely outcome of proliferation of Yet More media consumption channels is audience fragmentation leading to an ever-greater reliance on the established media companies as the only ones capable of accumulating the money needed to spread-out - like The Blob - across as many channels as possible.
She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
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