The fast development of communications technology is quickly democratizing the central control of media power held by a few traditional media conglomerates and releasing it to a vast array of emerging new media platforms. These new media platforms have adopted a simple but more efficient persona encompassing everything from the contentproduction to product consumption. Like Clay Shirky mentioned in his article The Collapse of Complex Business Models, online video platforms like Youtube have revolutionized a simple and cost-effective way to produce media content that can be shared from person to person,and poked many holes in the complex and expensive traditional media ecosystem. These new platforms are changing people’s media consuming habits and also challenging traditional media platforms in an unprecedented way. I have seen my own media consumption habits shifting from traditional platforms to digital media platforms (and several more shifts happening between the digital media platforms themselves) in the past year.
News Content Consumption: From Traditional News Media Portals, to Blogs, to Real Time Information Network
Just two years ago, I was was getting my daily dose of news online, mainly from traditional media’s news portals and blogs. But beginning last year, the rise in prominence of Twitter and other information/social network sites in generating news in real time by citizen journalists has brought a new way for me to consume news. I could also track the trends of what was happening in a certain location on these platforms in real time, and could even make educated predictions about how future events would unfold as a result of these trends. Also, instead of seeking out news by myself, the news got pushed to me by my friends or the media I subscribed to on these social networks, thus news I accessed was more relevant to me and more likely to get my attention and fulfill my needs.
Entertainment Content Consumption: From Offline TV/Movie Theater to Online Platforms on Laptop/Mobile Phone
For my entertainment media content consumption, emerging online video platforms like Youtube and Hulu have become my new destinations for content, and they are replacing traditional TV and even movie theaters in my life. The vast universe of media content in these two databases and the sheer control it puts in its users’ hands—I can choose what time to watch what content– has won them tremendous advantages over traditional TV and movie theaters. Youtube and Hulu also offer a new freemium model of distributing media content. I do not need to pay for cable or movie tickets for the consumption of media, instead I can get the content for free or for the price of spending a bit of time and attention on online ads embedded in the videos. Even though there is a one or two day delay from the show being aired on TV to it being put up on Hulu, the aforementioned two advantages have made the wait worthwhile. Also the content has been broken down from atoms to bits: I went from consuming one music album to a single song, from one TV channel to a specific TV show, or even to several seconds-long clips of a TV show. Besides simply taking in content and information on these platforms, I can post my own content, comment, or vote on other people’s content and become part of the production force. It is a two-way street for me and everyone else to become a content creator and also consumer; I also consume much more user-generated media content than professional content on these new social media platforms.
Other Media Content and the Future: Everything is being digitized and migrating from offline outlets to online platforms.
I read less and less book content from actual paper books, but I read the digital copies of book on my laptop, mobile phone or on Kindle. I predict this trend to be continued in the future, and the devices that I consume digital media content on will become smaller and nimbler, and more and more mobile. And I can also see the media content I consume will be divided into smaller and smaller segments, from atoms to bits, which will help me get what I need more conveniently.