I've just finished reading Shelly Palmer's excellent Television Disrupted.
Although regular readers of this blog may find the book at times somewhat basic, it is still a worthwhile read because it covers all the areas and makes all the key, subtler points that need to be insisted upon -- always in an accessible and clear way.
While Palmer is clearly at pains to write a down-to-earth, businesslike, non-academic book, the deeper, more philosophical questions prove inescapable. The shaky nature of the concept of 'content', for example, keeps stubbornly appearing throughout, along with its relationships to aggregation, nagivation and gatekeepers.
Among the key insights:
- Predicting the future of television is more a matter of sociology than technology
- Forget the old debate about whether content or distribution are king: it is contact that rules. A contact provider is someone consumers return to time and again to start their media experiences: this could be a cable provider's programme guide, a web portal, or any destination
- The fact that video production kit is becomming cheap does not by itself mean that production costs will. The costs of kit are immaterial compared to those of talent, on- and off-screen
If there is one book that should be required reading for every television executive making the transition to new-media, and every new-media executive trying to understand television, this is it.