Friday, February 20, 2009

New Media vs. Old or We're Not Making Cake Today

It can be intensely frustrating trying to talk to old media people about new media. You can talk away and feel like it's sinking in and you are making progress and suddenly it all vanishes in a puff of smoke.

Let's say you were teaching a cooking class and were telling people how to make calzones, so you give everyone an overview, make sure they have all of their ingredients and get ready to start mixing dough. Just as you're about to start someone from the back of the room shouts out, so we're making cake? You step back, start again, and once you are convinced that everyone is on the same page you get ready to start again. 'So why don't we have any frosting? Are we going to make that later?' You sigh, take a deep breath and go back over your overview (repeat ad nauseam).

This is the way it starts to feel after awhile when people keep bringing up things like Cancon requirements, broadcast licenses and the CRTC. All of these things are in their dying days. In ten years anyone with an internet connection will be able to broadcast, the days of having a 'broadcast license' will be over. Broadcast towers will, for the most part, be torn down or used for satellite relay. Cancon requirements will be unenforceable. The CRTC will only exist to enforce net neutrality and privacy laws (or it will not exist at all.)

The good news is that the CBC will still be required to make Canadian shows, and people who want to tap into the Canadian Television Fund will have to as well. In fact everyone will have to produce their own content because there will be no more incentive for show producers in the U.S. (or anyone else) to sell or license their shows. They will be able to deliver them around the world without the need for someone else to re-broadcast them. (The towers are pretty much gone remember).

At home people's televisions, internet, radio, cell phone etc., will all be connected and do the same things. That is how people will get shows and it won't matter where a show comes from. If you want to watch it, you can, regardless of whether it's a Canadian show, US show, British show or other. So, if CTV, City, etc., want people to watch, they will have to make their own shows. Many production companies will even bypass these altogether and go directly to the consumer. Alliance Atlantis, for example, would be able to take CSI directly to consumers without the need to sell or license the content. That means that in house production or (contract) work for hire will be essential to survival.

Again - no broadcast license, no legal Can con requirements (though if they are Canadian they'll need some). This is not a possibility, it's what's happening, it's already begun and unless we run out of all energy supplies and western civilizaiton collapses it's pretty inevitable.

While we're at it I'll make a few more, farther reaching predictions: By 2020-2025 ish, sophisticated animation and graphics programs will allow people with just a story to create photorealistic 'feature films' on their home computers. They will be able to select characters, dress them, shape them, choose their voices and cause them to 'act' with simple instructions. But, once everyone can do it, they will have to be really, really good stories to get any attention.

Shortly after that 'virtual reality' will finally become a real reality and people will be able to plug themselves into story lines, as if they were the lead character and virtually 'live' the stories - living in photorealistic, three dimensional worlds of their own creation where they can do as they please. This is going to be nearly impossible to compete with as a content producer but don't worry. Shortly after this technology hits the market there will be a growing chorus of calls to ban it - when people can plug into a world of their choosing and lead any life they want 'without consequences' it will be hard to get them to stop. In fact even the market for narcotics and alcohol will plummet. An alarming number of people will stop going to work, cleaning the house, taking care of the kids etc.,

After that something else will happen! At any rate, we're not making cake so put the frosting knife away and get over it.

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