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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Jeff Jarvis on the Future of Television

Jeff Jarvis posts the text of his keynote address at this month's Video on the Net conference in Boston. It included not only his vision for TV's future, but some great context about its past. A snippet:

    We see at last the perfect convergence that is leading to the explosion of TV:
    1. The equipment is getting better and cheaper and smaller. It literally puts TV production in our hands.
    2. The tools are getting better and easier and cheaper. We can create anything.
    3. Distribution is limitless and also cheaper and easier. See YouTube.
    4. And here’s the key element that we had to wait for before we could see the explosion of our new television. It is the same key factor that made blogs and podcasts explode. It is our means of marketing: The link.
    So now we can make anything, distribute anything, market anything. We own media.

    Second lesson: We debated for decades in media whether content or distribution was king. Turns out, neither is. Conversation is the kingdom. Trust is king. You can’t own all the content. You can’t control all the distribution. It turns out that trying to do either is extremely expensive – and, in our post-scarcity media universe, ultimately futile. In the old, closed world of media, owning content or distribution gave you the advantage. It gave you control. Now it just gives you an unbearable cost structure that millions of new competitors – us – are not burdened with. So what should media’s relationship with all of us be? Are we competitors? Or are we partners? If conversation is king, then we must be partners. For the big guys are not in control of the conversation anymore. We are.

    Which leads my third lesson, which I pompously call Jarvis’ First Law of Media (and Life):
    If you give the people control, we will use it.
    If you don’t, you will lose us.