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The Future of Media- Musings

Awhile back, someone interviewed me for a business class.  I thought a couple of the questions dug up some hot air worth blowing around, so here it is!

In your opinion is small businesses, including physical and online stores, growing? Also do you think they will ever grow to the point where they are a bigger and more influential part of the economy than big businesses?

That’s an interesting question- since I mostly just make a comic, my insight is limited.  I haven’t a clue pertaining to business as a whole.  Regarding entertainment media, things are moving in two starkly different directions right now, and it fascinates me.    

Corporate media conglomerates continue cannibalizing one another, growing fewer and bigger, into titanic monoliths.  Think Time Warner- or as a recent example, look at how Disney has assimilated both Marvel and Star Wars.  All those properties are now the domain of one massive corporation.  It’s unprecedented.  These conglomerates keep growing, consuming everything in their path, and solidifying their Hollywood influence over their rivals.  On the corporate side of things, it’s get big or die.  

But at the same time, the internet is giving anyone- literally any person- the ability to start their own show, and start gathering their own audience.  There are hundreds of thousands of individuals sharing their creations via platforms like Youtube.  While a lot of these efforts are of course unprofessional and poorly executed (one could say the same of some corporate-produced films) many are becoming surprisingly sophisticated and entertaining.  I’ve seen lone individuals using special effects in their videos that rival the most expensive mega-budget effects of 1980’s film.  Everything is getting cheaper and easier for a layperson to do- and people are doing it.  And more people are watching them do it, as TV ratings and film attendance steadily declines.  TV’s can now browse the internet and play Youtube videos just as easily as they can play American Idol.  

So I see things polarizing at two extremes, corporate and individual.  With the internet leveling the playing field, the source of entertainment will matter less in it’s success- it will be all about whether it’s actually entertaining.  I like to think that, without the need for board-room approval, creativity will be stronger on the individual side and we’ll see the conglomerated monoliths become less ubiquitous.  But that’s wishful thinking, and historically large organizations have been able to leverage their influence to hoard power very effectively.  

Also do you believe self publishing will ever grow to the point where they are just as common in stores as other published works?

Possibly…  That depends a lot on what one defines as published vs. self-published.   The line is getting blurrier, with individuals starting their own LLCs or sole proprietorships.  Individually published books can now get freelance editorial polishing and professional-grade presentation, while editing standards at large publishers tend to be dropping, as they stop cultivating talent in their search for the next overnight blockbuster.  When present and future blockbuster authors begin to question why they’re handing the fruits of their labor to a middleman, and consider self publishing themselves-   Well, amateur vs. professional publishing will be a fuzzy prospect down the road.

But stores are practical- especially when it comes to books, since physical bookstores are having a tough time surviving.  They will carry what sells, and drop what does not.   I think in the future, that will have less to do with what company is presenting the work, and more to do with whether readers actually consider the work valuable, and recommend it to other readers.

That’s the one thing that encourages me most about the influence of the internet on commerce- it puts the customers in control, and gatekeepers  lose their power.
Viewed: 36 times
Added: 5 years, 9 months ago
5 years, 9 months ago
NEat! But when will you continue with commissions? I'd really like to be upgrading mine :3
5 years, 8 months ago
We're doing about one a month, I've just been bad about posting them in here when they're done.  E \    We're working through them, though- we're now in the twenties.  
5 years, 9 months ago
In your opinion is small businesses, including physical and online stores, growing? Also do you think they will ever grow to the point where they are a bigger and more influential part of the economy than big businesses?

That would depend on government corruption.  Large businesses are already moving to absorb, or bully smaller businesses out of existence through unfair legal tactics and aggressive opportunism.  Their strategy involves a process of Assimilation or Extermination.  Many have already sued for broader legal authority over the internet and other media, and despite popular resistance, it is gradually being granted.  I couldn't see anything short of a revolution stopping it on paper.  Though Civil Disobedience may forestall it's enforceability.

Also do you believe self publishing will ever grow to the point where they are just as common in stores as other published works?

In physical stores?  Probably not.  Dead wood is expensive to publish.  In virtual stores, maybe.
5 years, 9 months ago
In retail and manufacturing, I think the future is bigger and bigger business.
In publishing and entertainment, I think the reverse is true. It's pretty much considered a done deal that network TV and conventional publishing are dead technologies.
5 years, 9 months ago
Regardless of the variety of media, this is a complicated question. Almost twenty years ago, I worked at an amazing independent book store that, like so many others, was undercut by the large chains such as Barnes & Noble. The fear back then was that these chains would wind up dictating to publishers by refusing to carry books or media deemed marginally profitable. Something akin to the role Texas plays in school text book publishing. This was before the internet really spread its wings, to say nothing of the rise of Amazon.
It turns out we weren't looking far enough ahead. The rise of the chains was merely a precursor to the decimation of all brick and mortar bookselling...except for used book stores. Much like used record stores, I believe they'll have a place for some time to come.
Speaking of records, the ancient groove and needle technology was, the last I checked, the only physical audio media to maintain, even increase, its market share. That share hovers around 2% of new physical audio releases, but then hipsters like me go and buy old records, and  while eBay is great when you know what you want, nothing really beats digging through crates at a store. This is true of the Gutenberg technology as well. Shopping on eBay will never be like browsing a funky old bookstore with cats running through the stacks.
As for movies and other visual media, I'm not qualified to even speculate, at all.
5 years, 9 months ago
Given technology means home replication will become ever cheaper, moving from the digital realm into the physical realm, companies have to realise that they are loosing the fight against being able to do things that the induvidual cannot. You cannot download a car? What about the 3D printed titanium struts for the 1000 mph Bloodhound car? Sure thats a really expensive printer, but you only need to sell one car to make your costs back. Then you can start making loads of mere 200 mph cars with simpler parts etc.

Of course, if you have a titanium laser sinter printer, why bother with a car when spacecraft are far beter returns.

If you are an artist who demands high prices, beware the Painting Fool. It was created, and destroyed once, it can be recreated, and widespread, again.
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