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Tuesday, February 01, 2005  

Media, Media, Media
Back in the day the TV in my childhood home had a remote control with 6 buttons (power, mute, ch-up/down, and vol-up/down.) I could either watch the same channel all night, or “surf” around the dial hoping something caught my eye. Today, I have an unwatchable amount of recorded broadcasts on my TiVo. Back then, I would ride my bike to the Wherehouse and flip-though racks of CDs until something caught my eye. Now: I think of a song I want and I buy it off iTunes while sitting naked on my couch. Old: endlessly wandering Blockbuster, frustrated because all the new releases were rented, until something caught my eye. New: Netflix, and a queue of dozens of carefully selected and ordered DVDs sent directly to my house as quickly as I can watch them.

Do you see where I am going with this? Browsing is dead, long live on-demand consumption.

I’m not sure if this is a positive chance in consumer-culture or not, but I don’t think there is any denying that the paradigm is shifting. Where does this leave the consumer? How does this effect “taste?” Take a look at this article about the (probable) emergence of a niche-driven model of media-consumption to get an idea of where technology can take the market. It supposes that distribution channels are becoming increasingly “virtual” which will lead to the dissolution of the “mainstream.” But my question is how does Joe Sixpack climb out of the rut of top-40, summer blockbuster, primetime network crap? Which isn’t to say it is ALL crap, but just look at the top album, movie, and TV show right now (The Game, Hide and Seek, and American Idol.) Most content-delivery businesses based on the net are beginning to change the way products are marketed; for example Amazon.com’s increasingly-accurate recommendation engine is sometimes scary-good (but other times just scary) and Netflix’s new social networking approach to recommendations shows a lot of promise. And as advertising becomes a less and less viable was to sell content, the marketing minds of the world are going to have to come up with some new ways to satiate the newly empowered consumer’s increasing appetite for media.

Did any of that make sense? It took me forever to type that in-between putting out fires at work…

posted by JMV | 2/01/2005 05:47:00 PM
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