Old Media Industries At Different Stages Of The Grieving Process
from the denial-anger-bargaining-depression-acceptance dept
One of the interesting people I met at last week's Princeton workshop was Douglas Dixon, who points out that almost all 20th-century media companies are going through the five stages of grief, but different media industries are going through the stages at different rates. Back in 2006, we noted that the music recording industry was still in the denial stage. Now, Dixon says that it seems to be "stuck cycling between Anger, Bargaining, and Depression -- as it still lashes out by suing its own customers, and grabs on to each next new copy protection scheme while simultaneously going DRM-free in other venues." And indeed, as we pointed out a couple of weeks ago, Hollywood is still firmly in the denial phase, insisting that effective DRM is just around the corner.
In contrast, the news business has been responding pretty well of late to the disruptive technologies of the Internet. The newspaper folks at last week's conference seemed to accept that print was a dying business, and many of them declared their committed to making the painful changes necessary to stay competitive. As we've noted before, they've been dropping their paywalls and aggressively experimenting with new media. It remains to be seen if they'll be able to change fast enough to avoid large losses in readership, but at least they've begun moving decisively in the right direction. In contrast, the recording industry has been taking three steps back for every two steps forward, while Hollywood is still doing little more than shooting itself in the foot.
I don't think it's a coincidence that the lowest-bandwidth industry -- news reporting, which is largely text-based -- is showing the most flexibility, while the most bandwidth-intensive industry -- Hollywood -- still has its head in the sand. News organizations have faced serious competition from the Internet since the birth of the Web in the mid-1990s. Internet bandwidth was not sufficient to conveniently transfer music until the late 1990s. And there wasn't enough bandwidth to transmit movie files until recently. Arguably most peoples' connections still aren't fast enough to transmit high-def video. So news organizations have been facing serious competition for almost fifteen years, the recording industry for about a decade, and Hollywood for less than five. Industries that have been facing competition the longest are making the most serious changes.