This is a book in progress. Go here to read the previous chapters.

Chapter 7

Back at the start of this exercise in this book-in-progress’ Introduction, I posited a new way to look at media per se. I looked at it from the standpoint of four elements:

First: Content. As Sumner Redstone often intones, “Content is King.”

Second: Conduit. Content may be King, but it needs to get to someone (one or many, many). So content needs a conduit … but that conduit isn’t just the mail or the spectrum or the shout. The conduit must include a format of some kind (paper? radio waves? whatever?); a way to move it from one place to, well, every place more or less; and a way to receive and decode the format to a useful way for the recipient. That need means that the device that receives a transmission needs to be able to access it and use it. That’s what smartphones, smart pads and other new gadgets have done to media … made multiple devices necessary to be interactively useful beyond the historic single use receivers such as radios, telephones and television sets.

Third: the Consumer or Consumers. Content per se has no value without a recipient; which allows me to bring in one more aspect of modernizing medias: Monetizing them. Monetizing grows from the value of the consumer (whether from the consumers themselves or from those who want to in some way reach the consumers).

Fourth: Connectivity. Mass communications in the 21st Century has added an element that only existed in bits and pieces before the growth of the Internet and the World Wide Web. Today, connectivity means interactive cacophony. There won’t be any passive recipients by the approach to the 22nd Century. Well, passive aggressive will probably still be around.

After reflection, I think I need to add a #5 … discussing monetization within the Consumer doesn’t give it the true place it needs. Therefore, I’m adding a 5th “C”:

Fifth: Currencies. Monetization is more than just what the consumer might pay for a copy or a subscription or an order. The Internet of Things (IoT) makes clear the definition of monetization from only a classic consumer point of view is outdated, as if remote monitoring of pipelines by radio and satellite hadn’t done so already. The IoT just opens lots of other applications like connected cars. The consumer has expanded to become, among other things, the subscriber or viewer or reader or responder or data collector or clicker or data contributor or eyeball or gazer or … well, you get the idea. When we get to formats we’ll take a closer look at how each of these 5 “C’s” work in each case.

Meanwhile, we’ll go back to some early history next week as media enters the explosive era of inventions that impacted existing media and created new formats.

Next week: Chapter 8 – The Birth of the Modern

In an almost 50-year career writing and reporting on media, Paul S. Maxwell started and/or ran some 45-plus publications ranging from CATV Newsweekly to Colorado Magazine to CableVision to Multichannel News to CableFAX and The BRIDGE Suite of daily newsletters and research publications. In between publishing stints, Maxwell served as an advisor and/or consultant to a number of major media companies and media start-ups including running a unit of MCI and managing a partnership of TCI and McGraw-Hill.

Send any and all criticisms, suggestions, rants, threats, corrections, etc. to him at cablemax@mac.com. He has a new Web site coming soon!

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