An image in the crystal ball

It was my pleasure to be on The Chris Pirillo Show last night, even if it did mean staying up past my bedtime. Chris is a smart and entertaining fellow with a very bright future, and I enjoyed our discussion. As soon as the stream is available, I’ll provide a link.

I woke up this morning thinking about one aspect of our talk. In discussing the future, I said that the opportunity is there for local independent creators to take over the television industry. In an essay I wrote a year and a half ago, I made the prediction that local stations will soon begin employing independent video journalists (VJs) to help do the news. Economics and technology make this inevitable. As local stations continue to search for the bottom by cutting expenses, the door is wide open for a new entity to be developed that’s built from the bottom up.

Chris’s program is delivered via the Web, and he has a respectable audience, one that is expanded by the on-demand capabilities of streaming. AOL and Yahoo! are getting a lot of attention for Web simulcasts of television programs, and the world of video blogging (vlogs) continues to expand. And today comes word that Walter Koenig (Chekov) will star in an upcoming episode of the home grown, Web-based, bit torrent delivered “Star Trek: New Voyages.”

The cost of creating a local Web-based TV station are insignificant compared to the potential return, and that’s why I think it’ll happen. Hyperlocal content is the final frontier in the communications firmament, and this would be a good time to dive in and stake a claim. Here in Nashville, Belmont University’s wonderful New Century Journalism Project is developing a community information Website for the zip code in which it is located. This is a brilliant idea and one that could be replicated many times over. Small businesses, after all, get most of their customers from the nearest zip codes, so it’s a natural place for them to advertise. Hyperlocal is the place to be.

My young friend Holly wrote this morning that receiving AP stories via RSS is changing her need for the newspaper.

This morning’s paper all sounded very familiar — I read all the national and international stories *yesterday*. However, it’s still irreplaceable for things like finding out which play is being performed where, keeping up with the asshole who wants a liquor license for a bar next to an old folks’ home, etc. The paper is going to have to get much more hyper-local in order to compete with the web long-term.
While a local media company could (and perhaps should) do this kind of thing, the truth is they probably won’t. It’s too “small potatoes” now, and that’s too bad. It does, however, open the door for small entrepreneurs.

I envy guys like Chris Pirillo, for he occupies a front seat on the roller coaster that is today’s changing media.

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