Here’s an interesting article from the Washington Post about a small FCC protest that took place a couple of weeks ago. Since I watch very little TV, I don’t really think that much about the effect of having huge conglomerates owning big chunks of the media landscape. At the same time, though, homogenization of American media is probably the biggest reason that I don’t watch TV or listen to broadcast radio.
I wonder, with the proliferation of broadband, how many people actually get all of their news and entertainment from one source. Granted YouTube and MySpace are owned by huge media companies, however, the user generated content is varied and, in general, filtering is limited to the elimination of copyrighted materials and materials commonly accepted as offensive. There are also the numerous blogs and special interests sites that on the web now, so I think there’s more than enough choice out there and as this article points out, there is no longer much advantage in monopolizing a media market. What was unsaid is that this is due to the many niches that viewers have fractioned into. How does this impact things, though? It seems that Internet companies are becoming media companies and media companies are being reduced to content suppliers who are competing with every one else in the world — thanks to YouTube, MySpace, and the like — for viewers. What’s happening now is quite a revolution when you consider that Joe-nobody’s video of whatever is competing with the evening line up from CBS, NBC or the like. The interesting thought is what could happen in the future, when perhaps today’s big media companies will have to compete with Joe-nobody’s content for bandwidth … Hmm …I’m thinking more about that writer’s strike … and net neutrality … ;p
I’m glad to see at the end of this article that the FCC did get some meaningful work done, like loosening the grips of cable companies on specific cities or areas and making sure phone numbers are portable across all telephony platforms.