SODOM & GOMORRAH: Some very exciting things are taking place in technology. These developments are making it easy for disruptive, non-mainstream sites and views to be more accessible. Let’s take a look at three primary trends that are reshaping the content industry.
1. E-Readers and Tablets
The PC put a computer on every desk in every office and home. However, the reading experience was somewhat formalized. One usually had to go to the desk, at least until the development of lightweight laptops. But even those devices take up more space than is always convenient. With the development of low-cost tablet PC’s and e-readers, the content industry is forced to contend with truly personal devices.
E-readers disrupt traditional publishing models by how easy they make it to transfer content. Old publishing companies had to forecast potential book sales before going to print, making the industry very heierarchical. The barriers to entry often forced out smaller, lesser known writers and led to a virtual cartelization as publishers determined who published and how many books were printed. It also led to a situation of fairly strict price controls; publishers would decide on the price of a book and retailers would comply. E-readers changed that because the cost of production dropped so significantly. The only barrier is the one-time cost of digitizing the work and reformatting it in a way that works with e-reader software. Smaller authors can publish, larger authors can no longer charge as much for their works. While many publishers are still insisting on the old pricing model, it’s not likely they’ll be able to do so forever.
Tablets have done a similar thing to online media. The numbers show that more people use tablets during the hours when they’re home than they do other devices. The iPad, the Samsung Galaxy, and a score of other gadgets are invited into the home and into more relaxed settings. Content is often more intimate, since it must literally be touched in order to be consumed.
2. Free Technology and Content
Most online news sources have been placing their content behind paywalls. They’ve done this because they cannot support themselves on advertising revenue alone. The reason why advertising revenue has fallen so dramatically in recent years is painfully obvious: the news has become irrelevant. If newspapers had something interesting to say, they would have plenty of pageviews and plenty of advertisers to fill the space. The paywall model is a temporary fix that relies on squeazing more money out of people who are invested in the newspaper regardless of quality – business owners, lawyers, politicians, people ignorant of other information sources, etc. It falls apart the instant a free alternative emerges.
And they are emerging. This article hints that newspapers are blissfully ignorant of the independent publishers about to rain on their parade. With very little overhead and surprisingly relevant things to say,
The rise of social-reader applications mean that content is being displayed based on personal preferences. People are getting more of what they want and they’re getting it more easily. With improving search engine algorithms and an increased interconnectivity between people with like interests, people are able to personalize their content more than they could before. We are living in a time when people grab a camera and make a documentary on their own, instead of waiting for a major news outlet to do so.