There is a seismic shift rippling through the entire economy, but it’s difficult to observe because it is invisible. I call this change “vaporized”. When my clients ask me to explain what is happening to consumer electronics devices, fixed media and even retail stores, I tell them that these things — and a great many others — are being vaporized: that is, they’ve been replaced by digital software.
The process of dematerialization has been most noticeable in the media and entertainment industries during the past decade. Half a century’s growth was wiped out in less than a decade in the newspaper, magazine, and recording industries as digital software changed the habits of hundreds of millions of consumers. The television industry is going through this process right now.
This process is not limited to media and content: even the devices that play digital content have been transformed. Your digital camera, video camera, handheld game consoles, DVD player, voice recorder, GPS unit and about a dozen other devices have all been replaced by an app on your smartphone. The vaporized version is much better than they old physical version: it’s cheaper, easier to use, weightless, customizable and, since it is built into your smartphone, it’s always with you and yet it takes up no extra space. If you don’t like the default app that came with your phone, simply click to download a different one.
But media and consumer electronics are just the leading edge of the change. More than one million apps for your smartphone have replaced things that were previously sold as physical products. Today, the process of dematerialization is happening in several fields at once: finance and payment systems, automobile ownership and transportation, labor and manufacturing, health care and medicine. It’s easy to predict that several other fields will be transformed in the near future, including government, the military, the insurance industry and many others. Vaporization is set to transform the entire economy, and with it, consumer society.
I’ve had the honor of being invited to make a presentation at three different TEDx events: TEDxMarin 2011, TEDxTransmedia in Rome 2012, and TEDxHollywood 2014. These three short talks present a sequence of perspectives on the way creative activists use media to foster social change.
The first talk is called “Reclaiming the Power of Personal Narrative.” It talks about the rise of social media, the trance of mass media, and the way that creative activists are using newly-democratized access to global media to foster positive social change in their communities all over the world. This talk focuses on some of the very talented activists who are sponsored by the Creative Visions Foundation in Malibu, California, where I have served as Chairman since 2010.
The second talk is called, “Seven Gifts for Creative Activists“. This presentation is a compact distillation of my own formula for collaboration among groups. After 25 years of working with disparate teams all over the world on the launch of TV shows and networks, games, web sites, and other startup ventures, I’ve developed a toolkit that helps give some structure to the creative process.
The third talk is called “From Observer to Activist: The Role of the Documentary Filmmaker in Surveillance Society“. This talk consists of a story in three parts: the rise of democratized media, especially video and film; the race between private companies and government agencies to control that data; and finally the evolving role of documentary filmmakers as storytellers who weave meaning and purpose into the tide of audience-generated video content. In this short speech, I summarize the arguments that I made during my opening presentation at the 2014 Sheffield Doc-Fest, a large film festival in England.
Enjoy these clips. I’d be very interested in your thoughts and comments.
In my previous post, I shared the first half of the transcript for my opening keynote speech about the future of television at the PrimeTime conference in Ottawa in March. Below you will find the text for the second half of the complete transcript for my speech. This section focuses on Facebook’s impact on social media, Google’s impressive collection of video properties, and it concludes with speculation about how the future media landscape will be controlled. The final section includes a quick survey of the amazing diversity of original video content on digital platforms. Enjoy.
On Thursday, March 1, 2012, I gave the opening keynote speech at the CMPA’s PrimeTime conference in Ottawa. My topic was the future of the television. This talk examines the disruption of the old television industry and the rapid emergence of an entirely new ecosystem for digital video.
This clip includes the full video of the speech. I’ve included the text transcript below.
[Topics: second-screen apps, social discovery, over-the-top video OTT, cord-cutting, disruption in cable TV and pay TV, the rise of the new ecosystem, the changes wrought by Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon and other technology giants, and the Motorola acquisition by Google. Also includes discussion about Aereo, Boxee, and other new players.
MIPTV is the biggest international TV market in the world. Twice each year, the buyers and sellers of TV shows converge in Cannes for a frenzied week of dealmaking.
The folks at Reed-Midem who run MIPTV invited me to help produce and present a new mini-conference called MIP Cube. This two-day event offered an immersion into the latest developments in the rapidly-evolving online video industry.
I invited the co-founders of Maker Studios to join me for a lively conversation at MIP Cube. Danny Zappin and Lisa Donovan are the original YouTube stars. They both began Continue Reading
At the recent MIPTV market in Cannes, I interviewed Philip DeBevoise, the co-founder of the super-hot online video startup Machinima. This Los Angeles-based company has experienced some incredible results in the past year. They reach a global audience of 166 million viewers and they serve more than 1.4 billion video views each month. That’s way bigger than any traditional TV channel.
I’ve known Phillip’s brother (and co-founder) Allen for more than a decade. We worked together in the mid-1990s on pioneering online narratives and some early interactive TV concepts. I’ve watched his progress at Machinima with great interest because it offers some useful insight into the dynamics of the new video business that will eventually encompass today’s television industry.
I get a great deal of satisfaction from helping my portfolio of startup ventures make progress. During the past six months, I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with longtime friend Brian Bowman, who just launched social dating site TheComplete.me with a big round of funding from Intel Capital, PlentyofFish and the CrunchFund as well as a group of individual investors. Here’s the news via TechCrunch.
What makes TheComplete.me different and, in my view, significant, is that Continue Reading
It’s official. Only 8% of US households watch TV by tuning into free over-the-air broadcasts. The vast majority of American homes get their TV signal via cable, satellite or telco fibre. Gary Shapiro, the President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, says “It’s time we accept this shift away from over-the-air TV as an irrevocable fact of the TV market. The numbers tell the story.”
Why do we still give away vast chunks of spectrum to broadcast networks? Continue Reading
There’s a predictable cycle in business, at least in the sectors of technology, media and telecommunications.
In the first part of the cycle, companies achieve success by introducing a new service that delights customers: call it the “Value Creation” phase. This is the phase when lots of customers sign up. Remember when you bought your first Windows computer, your first iPod, or your first smartphone? Chances are good that you made the switch at the exact same moment when millions of other people were migrating to these new gizmos, too. Everyone was attracted by a novel combination of utility, cool factor and the right price.
But over time, as the new product/service evolves into our daily habit, some companies are tempted to Continue Reading
Bitcoin is a controversial project to establish a new kind of anonymous digital cash that exists beyond the control of any central bank. It’s an unambiguous challenge to centralized control of the financial system, and it’s probably illegal (or soon to be). But the principles behind Bitcoin are consistent with the broader Internet trend towards radical decentralization. Bitcoin is to central banking as Gnutella is to music publishing, as BitTorrent is to motion pictures and as WIkileaks is to government secrets. Yesterday, Jason McCabe Calacanis invited me to post my perspective about the Bitcoin controversy on the Launch web site. You can read the article here.