Why Stale Media Won't Survive

I could probably give a thousand reasons why Old Media, referred to by me as stale media, simply won’t make it in the brave new world of new media. It’s the same argument that Apple’s Steve Jobs tries to make in his spinnish way regarding DRM and the music industry, and the same argument that YouTube is trying to demonstrate to the movie industry. In the 21st century, revolution is the same as it was in 1776 when a bunch of ragtag farmers took up arms against the polished steel of English forces servient to King George. Revolution begins at the grassroots.

Stale Media won’t make it in the 21st century trying to play the game the 20th Century way. In the 20th century, information was disseminated from golden palaces set on hills and adorned with letters that struck fear and trembling in those they wrote about. Those letters spelled out words such as ‘New York Times’ and ‘CBS Evening News’.

In 1969, Americans gathered around television sets to witness Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. In 2001, the tubes were clogged because people were trying to get to the internet to find out about the World Trade Center. In 2007, Google indexes blogs next to mainstream news sites. The relevance has shifted.

Mark Twain famously said, “Never pick a fight with people who buy ink in barrels”, referring to taking on those with the power of the pen – main stream media, or newspapers of his day. That has generally been the accepted rule until new media changed that. Now, the record labels license music to be sold (with DRM) on iTunes and the Zune store among other places. Now, many of the television networks air their shows on the internet and, notably many online news outlets have embraced new media-centric tools, such as Technorati, as a feature of their websites. Blogburst helped by syndicating bloggers to online news centers.

But there is still a bastion of arrogance that will kill the online stale media business if it is not rendered obsolete. That is, this notion that users should have to register to be able to read articles on websites like the Washigton Post or the LA Times.

You see revolutions begin with people like you and me deciding that things can (and should) be different. I have taken the position that I don’t register for these websites. It’s painful at times especially when those newspaper columnists have toiled away at that killer headline. Truth is, I have the world of new media and generally, the content is much more lively.

I leave you with this video (thanks, Seth!) which is an Apple commercial from 1984 when the first Mac would be introduced. Revolution starts somewhere.