"Today Any Hotshot With A Camera And A Facebook Page Can Be A Media Company."
Posted June 14, 2018
Yesterday, a federal judge OK'd the pending merger of ATT and Time/Warner.
This morning, it seems that Comcast is about to buy 21st Century Fox for $65 billion.
What is happening?
And, more importantly, what does this mean for us?
First the macro.
There is no question but that conventional linear TV is dead. So is cable. They are not totally dead yet, but the handwriting is clearly on the wall.
TV viewership has been declining for years, and there is a reason that the bulk of advertising on conventional TV, particularly on news programs tends to be for Viagra, Cialis and a whole raft of medications for diseases you probably didn't even know you had. (When was the last time you ran down the store to stock up on Taltz?)
The future (and the present apparently) belong to the non-linear 'channels' (if that is not an anachronism). You can see that Netflix is killing cable, and no wonder. You can watch whatever you want, whenever you want for as often as you want. Compare that to what used to be called 'appointment viewing'.
As old as My Mother The Car (which I think you can also get on Netflix).
Lisa and I find ourselves now watching a lot of YouTube, but on the big screen. Where else can you find about a million episodes of Escape to the Country (UK) and Countryfile (also UK).
Now, ATT and Comcast are going to present alternatives to Netflix and YouTube and Facebook's Watch (if anyone watches it).
This is the antithesis of anti-trust, so to speak.
Now, what does this mean for 'us', that is, the content creators.
I was greatly encouraged by an OpEd piece in The New York Times today from Stephen Moore at The Heritage Foundation.
"Today, any hotshot with a camera and a Facebook page can be a media company. Is that enough competition for the Justice Department?"
That is us.
We are the 'hotshots' with the cameras.
We are clearly headed for a bifurcation of the media industry - very high end costing millions per episode (NB: The Crown came in at $3 million per ep.), and lots and lots of low end video. Nothing inbetween.
We're in the low end part of the business, but as the physicist Richard Feynman once said, 'there's lots of room at the bottom'.