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Monday, March 14, 2011

Transverging disintermediation

The topic 'transverging disintermediation'  popped in my head with all the news last week about Warner Brothers using Facebook to distribute the video for Batman: The Dark Knight.  When I did a search for news on this - it was a global story with it being reported in papers and blogs in France, China, Pakistan, India, etc.....  Almost all the reporting heralded this as the 'thing' as what would kill Netflix.  I thought the most interesting reporting was this contrarian take TechCrunch: Holy Misleading Conclusions, Batman! The Facebook Netflix-Killer That Wasn’t that thought this was just a blip where Warner Brothers simply built an app and besides, who wants to watch a whole movie on their Facebook page.   I had also read  the coverage in the NY Times & clipped this nugget: Like other Hollywood studios, Warner is racing to figure out how to deal with two significant problems: piracy and plummeting DVD sales, both of which are growing worse as broadband access spreads across the globe. The industry’s best hope for a solution is to make more content available for digital purchase on more platforms.


That made me connect this story to publishing.  Is this not the exact issue that publishers are facing?  The terms transvergence and disintermediation are tossed around like confetti on New Year's Eve in explaining the issues confronting maturing media platforms that are facing radical technological changes like publishing.  Then again - isn't every media platform that is not on-line mature?  It is worth noting the definitions of "transvergence" and "disintermediation".   I fished around on-line and cobbled together from several sources the following:   The term "transvergence" is an invitation to take an opportunity to rethink art history, science, and the inevitably permeable lines that arbitrarily divide these disciplines.  In economics, "disintermediation" is the removal of intermediaries in a supply chain: "cutting out the middleman". 

While the tipping point has probably, maybe even quietly already passed as far as publishing changing - the future remains undefined.   The best hope for a bright and robust publishing future is to focus on new and new possibilities and not being tethered to old models.  A most appropriate quote came from the CBS Sunday Morning interviewed with the Editor & Chief of Rupert Murdoch's recently launched Daily (the news app for lack of a better description) - Jesse Angelo.  CBS Sunday Morning - The Next Generation of Apps  It was in an interesting piece on how dynamic that apps have become in everything. Mr. Angelo was saying media companies have spend their resources trying to protect their old brands instead of trying to see what is possible for the future through new technology.  I paraphrased a bit - but the question is are people holding on too tight to what is going to be irrelevant?  

There is not much here in terms of answers, but hopefully I have added some good questions.


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