The problem with coming up with a new buzzword is that, instead of providing insight and beauty into a complex subject, it will be captured by hacks and beaten to death with the Cliche Stick. I fear for Jason’s idea of the Media Pool (sorry, man, but I just can’t smash innocent words together anymore. At least there isn’t a lowercase “i” at the beginning), because it will be lost in a sea of moronic headlines, just like the one I used for this post. I, however, acknowledge, nay, revel in my hackiness, which entitles me to make jokes about taking confident butterfly strokes in the Media Pool while lesser beings (record company executives, members of the MPAA, Louis Rossetto) struggle to doggy paddle their way across.

The future of writing, music, film, art, theater, television and radio will not be one of patronage. Fuck that. There’s money floating around from people who are dying to connect with the right audience and sell their products; you just have to know where to look. And you have to know how to look. It took me a while to understand the idea that McDonald’s is in the real estate business, the same way networks are in the eyeball business and movie theaters are in the popcorn business. Advertising can suck, but so does ninety percent of everything. Ninety percent of an audience isn’t going to buy your stuff, but fuck those cheapskates. Getting more than ten percent would be nice, but if that ten percent is coming back again and again for your products, then, hey. You’re good.

What worries me about the Media Pool is the thing that’s had me worried about any media: consolidation. Right now, a small number of companies owns publishing houses, magazines, tv and radio stations, newspapers, movie studios, record companies…along with defense contractors, infrastructure outfits and those bastards who keep churning out those plastic fish that sing when you clap near them. What’s to stop them from using their money and influence to crush smaller networks or just snap them up? As big as advertising revenue is, I’m pretty sure it’s dwarfed by that of GE’s defense subsidiaries. These are not people who are likely to give up their cash flow, even when they’ve been outmaneuvered. How do we keep the information free, in terms of both access and price?

UPDATE: Yes, dammit, there’s no space in the tag “mediapool.” I hang my head in shame.

One thought on “Surviving in the Media Pool: Sink or Swim?

  1. Yep, consolidation is a problem. It is always a problem. Aggregation creates power, and power corrupts. It never works any differently, no matter the original intent, no matter if we’re talking corporations or governments.

    However, I believe that the truly open nature of the internet medium–as in, nobody controls the distribution of content–will allow small niche pools to flourish, and even supplant, the media giants.

    It may take a while for them to get past the easy-to-use interface of the giants, but there will always be people who aren’t content with lowest-common-denominator crap.

    Yes, the geeks will save the world. Them and advertising

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