On the floor to the left of the deck in my home office perches four, three-foot stacks of catalogues. No matter how I diminish its number, it is steadfast in its commitment to maintain a presence in my space. Reinforcements arrive daily. I feel powerless to ebb its flow. It has mocked me for years. My wife and I commiserate, agonizing over its arrogance. We plot the stack's demise. We've pleaded with postal officials, petitioned Attorneys General and sought out military tribunals. This past weekend we committed to battle.
In last week's column, I wrote about the possibility of President Obama's enabling a genuinely participatory democracy that would positively impact news media consumption. I also pontificated on the inevitability of the Inauguration setting records for viewing, streaming, listening and readership. Little did I know.
I was first introduced to the concept of "Co-opetition" in mid-year 2007 by a dreadlocked fellow named Manu Lawrence, who presided over the hip-hop video destination site SandboxTV. According to the encyclopedia of free commerce, Co-opetition "is a term combining the words co-operation and competition and refers to the arrangement between competing firms to cooperate on specific projects or in certain areas of business for mutual benefit, even while remaining competitors in general."
Looking back at the Presidential election and the levels of media consumption it generated, it's a pretty safe bet that next week's inauguration will set some records. Aside from the event's historic significance, the Obama camp has thus far successfully engaged a wide variety of audiences -- including some audiences historically less involved in the political process. The echo of that engagement will be seen next Tuesday in the ratings generated by the coverage of the ceremony, in sales of newspapers and magazines -- and subsequently, in the volume of online viewing of clips, edits, mash-ups, commentary and (who knows?) ...
Dave Morgan's Jan. 8th Online Spin post, "My Last Column On The Newspaper Industry," delivered an insightful postmortem on our brethren media industry's supposed demise. But I don't entirely agree that what ails newspapers is terminal. In fact, I'd suggest that instead of an autopsy of the newspaper, it's time for a biopsy on its readers; after all, these readers are TV watchers, too. What the procedure will uncover is some chilling insight on what ails the TV audience -- early indicators of the challenges and threats that traditional TV faces in the coming years.