Friday, April 15, 2005

Murdock on Media...

Rupert Murdock made a great speech about the future of print media. Basically he says that the newspaper is dead. It just does not supply information quick enough to younger readers. Moreover people are no longer interested in passively reading what the editors and publishers choose for them. They want to choose what to look at for themselves. What impresses me most about this speech is the Murdock clearly recognizes the challenges his company is going to face and knows the strengths and the weakness of his strategic position. This is the mark of great leadership.

New technology creates new elites that replace old elites. During these times, systems can undergo profound shifts and transformations changing not just the main actors, but the system itself. Is the internet and the new media so different that it will give rise to a new political or economic elite? The last time that such a revolutionary technology was available was when Guttenberg created the printing press. Luther clearly used it and Calvin’s following to organize political and economic resistance to the Catholic Church. Then several rulers of Europe used the religious movements to increase their control over their kingdoms and the lessen the power of the Roman Catholic Church. However, at the end of the 17th Century the absolute power of popes was replaced by the absolute power of kings. In the end did anything really change.?
The internet is clearly a bog threat to traditional media, but only to its production networks. Less paper will be printed, but companies like Murdock’s and Dow Jones are making great transitions and supplying new kinds of value to the marketplace. Bloggers are producing new types of information but eventually they will also be harnessed to serve various corporate interests as large corporations but blogs and bloggers. Governments and corporations all over the world are working hard to control the Internet. It is naïve to assume that they will not figure out a way to have an impact on content and control the more controversial elements of this new technology. If they cannot control the technology directly, they will attempt to control it by regulation and laws.


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