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Media Merger = Webbed World = Streamed Scene = Media Merger.

Media Merger = Webbed World = Streamed Scene = Media Merger. - PCSTATS
Abstract: It's called video streaming, and it utilizes a technology that compresses video files to their bare bones in order to transmit them directly to your computer.
Filed under: Software Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: none Oct 06 2000   J. Prikryl  
Home > Reviews > Software > none

Media Merger = Webbed World = Streamed Scene = Media Merger.

Canadian media-eagles recently caught their breath as the country's largest broadcasting corporation, CanWest, bought up the nation's heftiest print-media company, Hollinger Inc. What would this mean to the diversity and objectivity of reporting? How would the little guy survive when the big chiefs kept joining forces? Was this one of the final nails in the coffin of independent broadcasting and publishing?

For some, consolation came in the form of ones and zeroes. Although certain web properties were included in the merger between Hollinger and CanWest, the conglomeration of such media giants did nothing to affect the wild-west freedom that reigns on the internet. As newspapers and TV stations crowd together under the same corporate umbrella, the web remains the last bastion of small-scale media savants who have no affiliation with corporate mergers, monopolies, or money. This would seem to make the web the most exciting place to be for lone writers, independent artistes, eccentric personalities, and, eventually, smart investors.

Tyler Barrs, an entertainment lawyer at StockHouse.com, agrees: "While the number of distribution channels explodes, the real gold is the content. He who owns valuable content will own the audience and will, in turn, generate advertising and ancillary revenue streams." You don't need millions to broadcast on the web; and today, broadcasting on the web is just that. The internet is no longer solely an electronic-print medium -- now you can transmit moving pictures as though the computer monitor were a TV screen.

It's called video streaming, and it utilizes a technology that compresses video files to their bare bones in order to transmit them directly to your computer. Streaming does away with downloading delays, and allows students in universities, drones in cubicles, scientists in labs, hausfraus at home, and slackers everywhere to watch videos on their personal computers. All you need is a high-capacity connection to the internet, either through cable (rather than a phone-line dial-up connection to the internet) or other broadband services (DSL, ISDN, and others). The service is still in its infancy, but broadband capabilities are spreading like wildfire across North America.

Ironically, broadcasting companies are seizing the potential of this technology and buying heavily into the internet-news market. FeedRoom.com, a recently-launched site financed by CBS News' former V.P., Joe Klein, revolutionizes the traditional paradigm of news programming by giving the audience the power to decide what's news and what isn't. In the case of FeedRoom.com, big-player broadcasting corporations like NBC and Tribune Broadcasting will provide content in return for shared revenues. This allows them to risk little, and simultaneously forge inroads into the market.

Like all innovations (especially ones that occur on the internet), this notion that the viewer picks the content has prompted censure from critics. The fear is that viewers' appetites for business and sports news, for instance, will marginalize and eventually displace reportage on floods, human rights, and other unglamorous topics. And as video-streaming gets more mainstream (as broadband becomes more prevalent, in other words), the basis for this fear will grow.

In the meantime, broadband is still a rare computer component in households and offices, making video-streaming largely an investment in the future rather than a venture that promises instant returns. However, as the internet trend towards speedy downloads and moving images and surround sound accelerates, more corporations will be sinking funds into the web. The little guy will need to stay nimble, balancing super-furry creativity with extra-extendable legs. Since the invention of the printing press, it's never been easier for the average Joe or Josephine to express themselves in the public forum. Their only challenge will be to contend with, and be heard above, the corporations that increasingly crowd cyberspace.


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