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May 13, 2007


Javier Marti

""may make it more attractive to advertisers than conventional TV, because viewers can't risk leaving their screens to make a cup of tea during every commercial break.""

That's old and wishful thinking, in my view. Most consumers of video on the internet are early adopters, familiar with technology. As soon as one particular system gets mainstream (e.g msoft products, gmail, skype) it will be hacked, or tweaked by users, to see and do with it exactly what they want...and the information on how to do this, will be spread overnight and access facilitated to "newbies" through graphic interfaces that don't take much technical knowledge -or none at all- to be mastered. (e.g. serials2000)

The shift in consumptions of media patterns is even more profound than most people think.

I am not sure what's the next way for publishers, musicians, writers, to make money, I am deciphering that as we go along, but I have the strong impression that from now on, anything that is digital, will be free.

Of course this is a strong assumption and I have no proof today of this. But look at what happened with Pirate Bay, what happened to the HDVD key on digg...the younger generations, that are the ones fueling these trends, don't want to pay anymore, are resouceful, and have tools of mass distribution of knowledge that make any kind of locked system totally irrelevant in hours (e.g. Vista OS). It only takes one decoder getting around it, posting it on Digg or similar clone, and that's it.

The magnitude of this change, for its speed and span, is leaving us in awe. Certainly many thousands of people will be out of work. Certainly many TV stations will go broke. Certainly wages in the content producer industry may well go down for everyone...the social change in developed countries will be phenomenal. Copyrights laws will have to change, since you can't effectively protect your content around the world, prosecuting every single uploader when next day that content is back up online be it in YouTube, Pirate Bay or Emule.

However, all this doesn't mean that it'll be the end of content, as some argue. Writers love their craft, and they won't stop. So do musicians and other artists. They won't stop producing content overnight. Real artists will keep on producing even if nobody pays them for it. Some even if they have to pay for it. Producing art and communicating are basic human needs that have been with us for millions of years and won't dissapear just like that, no matter what big corporations say to scare the populace and protect their content.

However, getting rich out of that content alone will be much more difficult, if not impossible, in the future.
If we don't give our content free, someone else will do (e.g. hotornot, linux...) somehow, somewhere. And that will be available to us all at the click of a button.

Now the interesting thing is, where will jobs be created to allow the producers of content to keep on producing for free in their spare time?
That's the question of our times, not if things will be free.

If it can be uploaded, it can somehow be copied. If it can be copied, it will be copied. If it is copied, it'll be free.

Good news: we'll have a whole world of knowledge and entertainment as we've never seen it before, anywhere in the world, no matter how much money we have, when we turn on our network connecting device.

Bad news: we may not have the money to buy or switch on that device in the first place.

In any case, business leaders should already be trying to adapt, instead of trying to resist the inevitable.


Javier Marti

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