In an interesting recent article called “Why we need the news to be chaotic“, Clay Shirky examines the future of news and concludes that media will have to try very diverse approaches, some profitable, some not.
I agree with him in most part, but I do not see the chaos as necessary but rather as a transitional period. It’s really not “the media” that are searching for a new business model; it’s society as a whole (even the civilization, if you want) that needs it, in order to maintain the “public good” of information spreading. And once it finds it, the “chaos” will be over!
Again, for me it all boils down to this basic idea: our information networks should be (and will be) – in fact CAN be! – inteligent enough to measure the value of the information they carry and reward it accordingly. This is what I commented on Clay Shirky’s website:
The “Gutemberg Parentesis” hypotesis – don’t know if ou heard of it – is propably the most fresh idea I heard recently about the future of news. The special report published yesterday by The Economist folows that same route. It’s possible that the business of news is not really the natural condition of news and that the end of scarcity on the offer side really puts an end to any viable possibility of a news business model.
But – that’s the main flaw of the The Economist’s report – we must not look at the past to forsee the future. We will not go back to coffee shops! Twitter and Facebook are the new cofee-shops and the conversation we had with a couple of friends we now have with hundreds chatting and thousands hearing and spreading the news. The conversations we had oraly we will now have digitally. And that is a huge difference! It´s all the difference really!
Our digitally coded and digitally transmited information allows us to “embed” meta-information on that stream. That is how the search engines work, that’s how the social graph works. The network is increasingly intelligent enough to know what I want when I want it. Make no mistake: it will be more inteligent in the future. Not the same, nor less; it will be more intelligent, I repeat! It’s not crazy to predict that one day it will be intelligent enough to measure the value of the information it carries and pay for it accordingly, without the intervention of humans. Our forefathers who discussed public issues in coffe-shops gained prestige when they had valuable opinions to put forth. In those days, that “value” could not be measured. It the future it will.
That rationale is the basis for my rough proposal of a “New Business Model for the Media”, that can be read in detail here: http://josemoreno.posterous.com/a-new-business-model-for-the-media. The media are now in dire need of it. But it really transcends the media, in the way that it allows a new range of possbilities for content creation and information transmission in the future.