Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Friday, July 14, 2006

Future Of Media Report Released: Highlights And Commentary

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The Future of Media Report has just been released, a few days in advance of the Future of Media event taking place next week in San Francisco and Sidney. Ross Dawson, one of the two key organizers of this event, has just sent me a short email informing me of this and providing me permission to share with you both the highlights and the detailed information contained in this 15-page PDF report.

Photo credit: Future of Media Report - PDF (15 pages)

Global media market highlights.
In 32 years media will have doubled its share of the global economy. Newspaper revenue is stagnant, but television, driven by cable subscriptions, is growing healthily. The US is heavily overrepresented in the global media markets, boasting 42% of all revenue. However China's media appetite is exploding.

Global media comparisons.
Other countries are catching up to the US in online advertising, though classifieds is a particularly strong source of revenue growth in the US. Teens spend more total time with media than adults, but less time watching TV.

Emerging media relationships.
The Washington Post far outstrips other major US newspapers in blog references per print copy, but still lags The Guardian. Almost half of all "mashups" are based on location. PhotoBucket outstrips the growth pace of MySpace.

Content creation and usage.
Eighteen percent of Americans over 65 years old have created content on the Internet, showing it's not just for teenagers. 37% of all blog posts are in Japanese, more than in English.

Media industry networks.
Microsoft remains the company most central to global media alliances and joint ventures. Yahoo!, Apple, CBS, Viacom, and Sony Ericsson are among those that have become more central over the last five years.

The Future of Media Strategic Framework.
A framework to pull together some of the many threads that make up the future of media, including the symbiosis of mainstream and social media, the consumer/ creator archetype, content, formats, revenue, distribution, globalization, localization, and intellectual property.

Five ideas transforming media.
Key ideas include "time compression," describing how people's media consumption habits change when they get busier, and "infinite content," about a world in which limitless media is available.

Media snippets.
In 1892 there were 14 evening newspapers in London. Today there is just one. 36% of US high-school students believe that newspapers should get "government approval" before stories are published.

The first announcement of the availability of the report, which was released just a few hours ago, strongly underlines that the main intent of this report is to a diving platform to build a global conversation around these "issues".

Photo credit: Media Map 2005-6 - Future of Media Report - PDF (15 pages)

Robin Good's comments:

The report is way too US-centric. The revolution in the making is a global lone, not an American one. Do you think that if by accident the US had a sustained balck out this would somehow stop? Many other local and regional realities are at work, and often with a much greater impact on society and with a faster evolutionary speed than what the US content and advertising marketplaces have done.

"Nonetheless the Chairman of the Future of Media Network, Ross Dawson, clearly writes in his intro: "It
[the report] is certainly not intended to explain the immense diversity of what is emerging.
" it then fails by promising that "..its intent is to provide a variety of perspectives on the future of media, particularly internationally, that will spark conversations, ..."

As a humble representative of the media research community outside of the US, I would be in fact much pleased to see truly more of an international perspective, with more non-US voices contributing to this founding framework and with more research data and sources that could show more of what is happening beyond the US, UK and Australia. I think this set of countries do not reflect global trends as they used to do in the past, and that you need to look well beyond them to have a comprehensive picture of where the media world may be headed.


Given the highlights and the relative majority of research data focusing on the US-UK-Australia triangle only, ironically the report could have been better titled something as The Future of American and Anglo-Saxon Media.

Here more specific commentary on each of the key components contained in this highly visual and well illustrated Future of Media Report:

Global media market highlights.
32 years? I think it will take much less time than that, and looking at the report I get no reference or URL to verify and deepen my understanding. The data reported to support this point say only: "based on 1999-2004 trends" (page 3 of the report). What more troubling to me is in fact the assumption that future evolution moves at a linear pace. All I have learned in these last few years is that the pace of future innovation accelerates at an ever increasing pace every year. Wouldn't it be more appropriate, and scientific, to place such mathematical values into this equation while providing more detail on the original source of this data and the calculation leading to the 32 years estimate?

Global media comparisons.
"Other countries are catching up to the US in online advertising...". While this may be very likely, my sensors and personal experience tell me that looking at "advertising" to get a glimpse of the future may not be the best way to go at it. To me advertising, as we know it today, is a dying dinosaur. The commercial communication paradigms of the near future may be quite fundamentally different from those that created the vast riches of advertising in traditional media. But as the framework through which media create, aggregate and distribute their content is being fundamentally transformed, I think it is only myopic that look at the deep transformations that future will bring, without first understanding how the new forms of marketing communications may themselves shape new media themselves.

Emerging media relationships.
New media relates better to open, controversial, investigative and sincerely open media. That is why The Guardian fares so well and why the US newspapers can't match that. The more independent and capable of serving unmediated stories, the more valuable to the reader and to the marketplace that news outlet will be. Media relationships tomorrow will grow from like-minded individuals and organizations with similar missions, synergizing their talent and skills to generate media content that will be re-used multiple times in multiple formats and across a variety of media and outlets.

Content creation and usage.
"Eighteen percent of Americans over 65 years old have created content on the Internet, showing it's not just for teenagers. 37% of all blog posts are in Japanese, more than in English." This is good news and a confirmation that the new content revolution is not only about teenagers wasting their time with silly stories on a blog and that the center of the blogosphere is not in Silicon Valley.

Media industry networks.
That Microsoft has been so far the company most central to global media alliances I don't think is any reliable indication of where the future is headed. Quite the opposite. From my viewpoint Microsoft has been moving very slowly in content related directions that would seem highly promising to me and which Yahoo and Google have long been working on.

The Future of Media Strategic Framework.
This is a good reference framework though consideration for a few additional components and factors may help better see further opportunities and a broader view of what's to come. By that I refer to the new emerging role of filterers, aggregators and newsmasters and what this implies, the intersection of radio, tv, video and film with traditional written media, the internationalization / localization / translation challenges, the emergence of personal media tools and of the fusion between physical and online events into a new form of extended interaction.

Five ideas transforming media.
"Key ideas include "time compression," describing how people's media consumption habits change when they get busier, and "infinite content," about a world in which limitless media is available." I think here we are on the right track as it is by exploring and venturing around these new ideas and other new concepts that we can start to pave and "see" what the future of media will be really like.

Media snippets.
"In 1892 there were 14 evening newspapers in London. Today there is just one." In Rome in 1976 there was only one free daily. Now there are more than ten. The number of newspapers in a city doesn't say much about the status of media democracy, access or business health, or we would have to suppose that evening papers are the reference to measure this and that Rome is way ahead of London on these media fronts (which may very well be - it only depends on your viewpoint).

"36% of US high-school students believe that newspapers should get "government approval" before stories are published."

That is the most troublesome snippet of news information highlighted. This is bad news from my viewpoint and also news that doesn't belong to the world of universities and schools I have visited or being in contact with. My experience shows that where critical thinking is encouraged and learners are given tools to question and research the news provided to them by mainstream media, there is a blooming of discoveries, realizations and personal growth. In my part of the world, I still like to think that the government is "us", and not a separate entity out there who can veto or censor what they think is good or viable news and which is not.

I have had quite enough with the filthiness of embedded journalism as well as of the dominance of traditional media driven by governments, as in my view it does not allow for the exposition of news diversity that truth and reality always comprise.

The Iraq war, 9-11 investigations and the just opened new war front between Israel and Palestine/Lebanon are all great examples of how unjust and uninformative media become when it is the government that decides which news are worth of publication.

Where do YOU stand?

If you have a blog, write there your comments and ideas to the above (comments on this site are still disabled due to heavy spam issues) , and if you don't have one, go to Ross Dawson blog and place your comments right under his post: Launching the Future of Media Report 2006

Blogs commenting this post so far:
ICT for Peacebuilding

Future of Media Summit - July 18/19 San Francisco - Sidney

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posted by Robin Good on Friday, July 14 2006, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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