Mathew Ingram, writing for Giga, puts out a pretty consistent message about the media business. In his view, the future for media is to find more flexible internet based business models that make it easier for fans to directly access content. So he lauds recent efforts by Louis CK and Amanda Palmer who have been able to do this. He writes
The main lesson? Building a community is more important than ever.
… the web and social media — along with crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo — have added more horsepower to the concept that Wired magazine founding editor Kevin Kelly described as “1,000 True Fans.” In that model, trying to become the next global superstar through traditional media is replaced by connecting with a loyal fan base and then engaging with them, whether it’s to fund a tour or an album or a book (marketer and author Seth Godin is funding his new book through Kickstarter).
Cringely as a different take on this. He just put up a post saying that internet media (he refers to Youtube) cannot deliver consistent mass audiences to attract Hollywood level production. So Hollywood level production will not migrate to YouTube and TV will remain what it has been — a major source of living room entertainment.
So who is right? I think that they both are. The more interesting question is which is the growth market? Where will it be easier to ride the wave? While it is very early in the game, my best guess is that the Hollywood business model isn’t it. Why not? Two reasons. First, more ambitious big name artists will wake up to the fun of running their own show, the way that Lous CK and Amanda Palmer are doing. They will bring a creative energy that over time will make Hollywood production look more and more stale. Second, cultural patterns are shifting. People want to connect, not just consume. While Hollywood can do some things well, they re not good at promoting connection.
But - let’s see. This is a fascinating story.
And BTW there is another story at work here. Cringely, Louis CK and Amanda Palmer are known entities. Where will the next generation of media movers come from? In the old days, Hollywood was able to use its promotion muscle to dominate this game. I suspect that next generation wannabe famous types will be ready to experiment with door number 2 now. But that means new types of platforms dedicated to building communities around rising stars. Like tunected?
FOLLOW - For NYT, Rob Walker offers an in depth look at YouTube culture, where wannabe stars court loyal fans. Cringe is right. This is not Hollywood stuff. It is something totally different. And my guess is that it will grow as a parallel attraction.