CHAPTER 11 Screen play: post–mass media

Of all the industries that are being disrupted during the great fragmentation, none is being affected more than the media industry. It’s fair to say it’s already been fully disrupted in the sense that the power players of today are no longer the power players of the pre-web world. A new set of stalwarts has already changed things dramatically. But this doesn’t mean we’ll have relative stability in the coming years and decades. The process of change in the media landscape will continue. The amount of fragmentation to come will be far more significant than what we’ve already seen. The mere definition of media as we know it may even evaporate.

Television is no more

Whenever I’m presenting to a group of business leaders on the topic of media, I ask one simple question to test whether they’re yet to change gears into the technology age and whether they’ve perceived the changes that have already impacted the simplest of media tools: television.

The question I ask is this: ‘How many free-to-air television channels are there currently in your country/market?’

Nine times out of ten the answer is wrong, even when I ask a room full of media, advertising or marketing executives. They go through the motion of reviewing the emergence of the new free digital channels. Some include subscription television in their reckoning. But few ever give me the answer that’s our market reality today: there are currently more than 6 billion free television channels. ...

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