Am pleased to have been invited by the Scientific Committee of the World Media Economics and Management Conference to present my latest paper, 𝐷𝑖𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑁𝑒𝑤𝑠𝑝𝑎𝑝𝑒𝑟 𝐼𝑛𝑑𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑦’𝑠 20𝑡ℎ 𝐶𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑦 𝐸𝑥𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑠 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑉𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑜𝑡𝑒𝑥𝑡 𝐿𝑒𝑎𝑑 𝑖𝑡𝑠 21𝑠𝑡 𝐶𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑦 𝐵𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝑀𝑜𝑑𝑒𝑙 𝐴𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑦?, at WMEMC’s next biennial meeting this May in Seoul, South Korea.
𝐼𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑑𝑢𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑀𝑒𝑑𝑖𝑎 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝐼𝑛𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙 𝐸𝑟𝑎, the previous paper I presented to WMEMC during 2021 when their conference met in Rome, Italy, was subsequently published in the 𝐽𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑛𝑎𝑙 𝑜𝑓 𝑆𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑔𝑖𝑐 𝐼𝑛𝑛𝑜𝑣𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑆𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑖𝑛𝑎𝑏𝑖𝑙𝑖𝑡𝑦. That paper described how, thanks to the ever-increasing available powers of computers and of delivery bandwidths, it became possible for computer-mediated technologies to produce and deliver to consumers ever more highly-customized (and ideally towards individuated) feeds of news, entertainment, and other information, aggregated from all possible sources. That is now, of course, what New Media companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Vkontakte, Sina Weibo, etc., do in general and that Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, Netflix, Douyin, Kuaishou, etc., do in specific genres of contents such as music or video.
Billions of consumers worldwide have clearly demonstrated that they prefer to receive such individuated feeds–which can better match each individual consumer’s own unique mix of needs, interests, and tastes, than can the non-individuated, Industrial Era legacy products and services, which during the Industrial Era became colloquially known as Mass Media (newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations and networks, etc).
This is why in only 20 years’ time Individuated Media products and services has become the predominant means by which the majority of people worldwide under the age of 50 nowadays obtain news, entertainment, and other information; why companies that produce Individuated Media products and services now dominated the online advertising;, and commensurately why the viewership, listenerships, readerships, fortunes and future of Mass Media companies have become grave.
My new paper focuses on the myopic folly of why Mass Media companies failed to perceive the truly epochal capabililties of computer-mediated technologies and instead utilized such technologies as wired-mediated (plus nowadays also wirelessly-mediated) means of electronically delivering to cvonsumers the Industrial Era packages of contents that are otherwise printed or broadcast over-the-air to consumers.
The new paper describes how during the closing years of the previous century Mass Media companies shortsightedly became fixated almost solely on the wired delivery capabilities of computer-mediated technologies (colloquially known as ‘digital’); still are today; and thus (ironically despite Mass Media executives’ and journalists anecdotal fascination with computer dynamics such as ‘Moore’s Law’) abjectly failed to perceive, comprehend, or utilize what has become the truly epochal advancement that these technologies begot. The advancement is the ability to go beyond just Mass Media’s reach by adding am entirely new dimension in media: the simultaneous mass production, mass distribution, and mass 𝑐𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑚𝑖𝑧𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 of media products and services. That new dimension in media is impossible with the Industrial Era’s analog printing presses or analog electromagnet waveform transmitters. This new dimension in media is the true definition of ‘New Media’.
[Now during the advent of Artificial Intelligence, how particularly antediluvian of the Mass Media industries during the past 20 years to have not forseen that the power of the mediating computer, not of the mediating wire or wireless, is the ultimate dominion of ‘digital’!]
Both of my recent papers solicited by the World Media Economics and Management Conference, as well as another presented during 2019 at the International Media Management Academics Association conference in Qatar and subsequently published in the Nordic Journal of Media Management, are the ‘after’ bookends to the ‘before’ article I published during 2002 in the University of Southern California’s 𝑂𝑛𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑒 𝐽𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑛𝑎𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑚 𝑅𝑒𝑣𝑖𝑒𝑤, an article entitled 𝑊ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑁𝑒𝑤𝑠𝑝𝑎𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝐴𝑛𝑑 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑊𝑒𝑏 𝑆𝑖𝑡𝑒𝑠 𝑀𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝐷𝑜 𝑇𝑜 𝑆𝑢𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑣𝑒. During the subsequent 20 years, newspapers didn’t do, and haven’t done, what they must have done to survive.
They and other Mass Media industries, any or all of which could have utilized the new dimension in media, didn’t. More than two deacdes ago, they instead blindered themselves into thinking that ‘digital’ meant simply wire-delivered rather than computer-𝑎𝑔𝑔𝑟𝑒𝑔𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑑, -𝑎𝑛𝑎𝑙𝑦𝑧𝑒𝑑, -𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑑𝑢𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑑, and wire-delivered: the full capabilities of New Media. They instead let startup companies–notably search engines (original purpose: sales of internal search software to corporations) and social media (original purpose: social linking and commentary)–stumble into tapping the latent demand by consumers for Individuated Media; companies that then recognizing it then utilized the full capabilities of New Media to deliver it.
WMEMC conferences aren’t televised or recorded, but I’ll post a link to my presentation deck afterwards.