Tracking the rise of personal media

(This was first published this week in our Media 2.0 Intel newsletter)

Scanning the headlines of media trades reveals a blur of stories about this company or that one positioning itself for betterment within the world of the Web. This “positioning” comes at the expense of others who are also bumping elbows within the glut of new ventures, each screaming for the attention of the Holy Grail: audience.

NBCU wants to set the prices for downloads of its programs, so the network pulled the plug on its relationship with Apple’s iTunes, where a recalcitrant Steve Jobs wants to keep the price at $1.99. NBC and Fox have launched Hulu, a really nice site for streams, etc., with the not-so-small exception of severe restrictions on how those downloads can be used (only by you) and how long they’re available (five weeks).

Meanwhile, the RIAA is running out of gas in its efforts to sue its customers, and Mark Cuban is doing his best to stop pirates from stealing videos. There are arguments about user-generated content, and the New York Times editor is continuing to do his best to separate the professional from the amateur in terms of journalism.

Lawsuits here and there, take down notices for YouTube, Comedy Central loading a complete archive of “The Daily Show,” and on and on we talk about how this new medium can serve us and our business needs.

the growth of personal mediaAnd then comes a headline like this:

Nokia Predicts 25% of Entertainment by 2012 Will be Created and Consumed Within Peer Communities.

Okay. Think about this for a minute. While we’re fighting for our rights and our business models, people are playing with media tools that used to be the sole purview of the professionals. And what are they doing? Entertaining themselves and each other. And Nokia thinks this will grow to one-fourth of entertainment in five years’ time. And get this: these don’t give a ripple chip about the things mentioned above that are attracting all of our attention today.

Eyeballs are not an infinite resource, so the problem is how will value be sustained in a world where 25% of entertainment is home made?

“From our research we predict that up to a quarter of the entertainment being consumed in five years will be what we call ‘Circular’. The trends we are seeing show us that people will have a genuine desire not only to create and share their own content, but also to remix it, mash it up and pass it on within their peer groups — a form of collaborative social media,” said Mark Selby, Vice President, Multimedia, Nokia.

You see, folks, the rise of personal media — fueled by fluid outside pureplay companies — is the real threat to traditional media, not applications that steal copyrighted material or otherwise interfere with the way things used to be. We’d better get onboard this “revolution,” or we risk real irrelevance downstream.

Gordon Borrell says it best, “The deer now have guns. What do you do when the deer have guns? Get into the ammunition business.”

Ask yourself this: What am I doing to make sure that I have a place at the table in the rise of personal media?

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