For those of you who watched some of the recent YouTube Music Video Awards, you witnessed a historic moment. The beginning of the end of broadcast TV.
With a limited number of VHF channel licenses sold by the FCC to the highest bidder, TV channels have, over time, migrated into the hands of the global media moguls like Disney, Comcast, Time Warner and Rupert Murdoch/News Corp. These needed billions of dollars in broadcast equipment, technology and communication satellites to expand and maintain their hold on the public's eyeballs.
Then in the 1980s Ted Turner broke into the media monopoly when he innovated transcontinental broadcasting using satellites and cable to create a superstation out of a dinky UHF station. He ended up the Chair of Time Warner and ultimately bought AOL.
More recently media genius Arianna Huffington orchestrated the ascendance of electronic print media through her Huffington Post which is now owned by AOL. She completely flipped this industry around and, at this point, runs the largest news outlet for electronic print media -- beyond the online presence of the LA Times, Washington Post, New York Times, ABC, CNN and Yahoo with over 88 million unique visitors per month.
Her quick ascent and emergence at the top should have been all the media companies needed to see to know that broadcast TV would soon be toast. Sixty percent of TV viewers in mature markets (U.S., Europe) now watch content on their PCs and related devices and in emerging markets like China, Brazil and India, it is 72 percent. Meanwhile, of the worlds 7 billion people 6 billion have access to mobile phones while only 4.5 billion have access to a toilet. This speaks volumes.
Over 74 YouTube (self-produced) videos have now been seen by over 200 million people worldwide. Besides YouTube and the Google Well project, technologies like LiveStream and UStream, and with the proliferation of chat rooms and many other novel on-line ways of interfacing individuals and groups, it has become apparent that any one with a laptop can shoot, edit and broadcast content which can reach millions around the globe. By contrast, it costs $3 million to make one episode of Homeland. Who the hell is going to need a network serving up uninspired leftovers with production costs in the millions?
Not only can anyone make and broadcast content globally, but if it is good, it will get seen and may even go viral with millions of viewers. And now it can even be quickly monetized with success-based automated advertising targeted to the individual by their keyword use and sold at $.25 to $1 per click.
I suppose this could sound scary, but I am not really worried about someone from the NSA having a file on which toothpaste I use. The broader implications are that despite our fears of media giants controlling what we see and hear, the exact opposite is going to happen. Anyone with a brain, a message and flashlight will be able to expose and flush out the 'cockroaches' hiding in the shadows that are trying to control the media and create fictitious news.
It is not coincidental that repressive governments and fundamentalist organizations around the world are a beehive of activity right now attempting to assert themselves and close down websites, censor news, ban girls from going to school, etc. This is the last chance they will have to control the hearts and minds of those under their domination before their censorship dam breaks open and 24/7 access to knowledge and truth becomes the prevailing paradigm.
"And that's the way it is" Bye-Bye broadcast TV.