Friday, February 17, 2012

The Coup to Overthrow Distribution: Content Is King

In the past we have seen that content was never the primary focus of the media industry. A small group of networks produced a minimal level of entertainment programs for television; however, now content has been democratized in a way taking away some of the oligopolistic power and control the media industry once had. Distribution has always been in the center because producing content was expensive and more difficult for reasons such as technological limitations, labor, and limited distribution channels. This model is rapidly changing with the rise of the internet (YouTube in particular), decreasing costs for technology (software and hardware needed to produce content) and the ability to distribute to wider audiences. Therefore, I wish to focus my research on the changing dynamic between content and distribution.
            With the advent of services like youtube, what has happened to content in recent years in terms of who is producing, how much, diversity? How does technology fit into this picture taking greatly into consideration the internet? How will the major networks respond to this large increase in content available to consumers? Finally, how does the increase of content fit into issues related to viewer/consumer behavior in terms of how they watch and enjoy their entertainment?
            The first couple research questions are meant to create the context of what is happening today with content; however, the last two questions will likely be of the most importance to me because I believe that the fragmenting of audiences and the proliferation of content go hand in hand with issues related to internet streaming tv, and the effects upon the media industries are going to have interesting implications for many of the networks. I wonder about what they will do with the increasing available content? Will they syndicate it? Will they try to quell it or produce more content themselves? Will they begin to create shows that are only available online? Many of the new popular shows out there today (Workaholics, Children’s Hospital) started out with people making videos on YouTube or CollegeHumor so I believe we need a better understanding of how user created content fits into the larger media picture. It is important because it would appear as though the power is shifting from the media networks to the user/viewers in many ways that might come to define the way entertainment functions down the road.


  1. You ask some really interesting and specific questions about what you want to look at, but I think for clarity sake, it may benefit you to perform a case study of one networks utilization of other content production methods. I think your example of Children's Hospital and Workaholics would be really interesting to delve into and assessing the cost-benefit using this new creation model. Look on BB at the article about Always Sunny in Phil. as it could be a great jumping off point for your own case study...

    1. When you talk about content do you mean the actual shows that are on television and their genre of entertainment? Are you going to look at the popularity of certain types of shows and how these are more or less received by audiences? I think it is very interesting to consider what people actually watch the the success rate of different types of shows. I think that looking into the origin of now popular shows that were picked up by networks through internet popularity is one that is very pertinent to our changing media world. Technology is something that has completely changed the way that we consume media and I think that questioning how it will change things in the future is very interesting. I think to go along with your question of who is producing media you also need to look at how major networks are contacting these independent producers and how they are trying to fit this content into their weekly line ups.

  2. Chris, this topic is the bee knees. I think you have a great grasp on the intricacies of your focus. "I wonder about what they will do with the increasing available content?" This question intrigues me the most because currently we can see the creation of larger entertainment networks online like College Humor and Cheezburger. How will these companies compete with network television entertainment? I think that should be the overall aim of your thesis.