Prediction 2: The Media Cycle Continues

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by: David Polinchock

Learn about and use the new tools, but always remember the cycle of media.

If you want to take advantage of the social networking tools of the web, you need to stop looking at it from an advertising POV and start looking at it from the consumer’s POV. Stop telling me things and start helping me have a better life. As we’ve written about before, people will start to realize that despite all of the hype (including Time recently proclaiming us the person of the year), this is the normal cycle of new media since the beginning of media!

We wrote about the Penny Press before and NPR recently ran an interesting series about the start of radio. In fact, the beginning of radio sounded a lot like what’s happening right now in the online world of myspace, blogs and youtube. When radio started, it was apparently extremely easy for anyone to get a broadcast license and it seems that many people got those licenses. They would broadcast from their homes and they could broadcast anything they wanted.

Then, big business got involved and all of those individuals started disappearing. Today, of course, there are a small handful of companies that control radio in almost every city and I’m thinkin’ it would be almost impossible for an individual to get a broadcast license today.We’ve also written before, that those that don’t know from history, always think they’re doing something new and that’s what’s happening today with all of the social media hype. That’s not to imply that there aren’t some valuable tools being created here, but there’s a cycle to media that I’m pretty certain we’ll be seeing again. Google’s already purchased youtube and most of the media companies are coming up with their own versions of youtube.

Everyone in our industry is trying to figure out how to turn these social sites into a marketing tool. We wrote about a potential "future of advertising" that William Gibson laid out in Pattern Recognition that was pretty accurate. In that book, he talked about the huge interest in anonymous video clips being posted online and how many people were swept up in trying to figure out their story (like Lonelygirl) and that people are being paid to create false WOM marketing programs, something we’re seeing almost daily now.

We’ll be one of the first to predict that when youtube starts running advertising (either pre or post-roll ads or whatever format they come up with), their traffic will drop by at least 25% and people will move onto whatever’s next — and advertising free.

So, look at everything new, but don’t forget the lessons of the past!

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