Podcasting’s coming class war

“The independent community will be pressured into self-organizing. Though the ecosystem will end the year less open than when it started the year, there will at least be formal sites of resistance.”
  • That new Jim VandeHei joint, Axios, won’t be the only new media venture premised on the notion that “people who care about real news are now a niche” we’ll see in the coming year. Several companies, some new and some already in existence, will probably push deeper into structurally differentiating between intelligence, information, news, and content, and they’ll price accordingly. The outcome will likely be a worsening of knowledge inequality.
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  • Digital video will continue to drive the conversation around growth, innovation, and survival as it pertains to media organizations. The medium will finally establish itself as the unambiguous principal commodity that flows between the pipes that make up the #content ecosystem that ties all our mobile devices together. Where digital video will increasingly look like water, every other format in the visual realm — particularly television — will be forced deeper into a position where the move would be to position themselves more as wine: more prestige branding, more niches, smaller audiences, higher prices. It will become increasingly ambiguous whether this strategy will yield any significant national-cultural impact, but on the bright side, a contextual line will have been drawn between commodity and high-quality good.
  • Someone’s going to try and make the argument that print magazines are the new vinyl. Shade will be thrown, but quietly, hope is kindled among some.
  • Rent prices will continue to go up in New York — not a prediction, a certainty — and that will further ensure only a certain type of young person will get media jobs. Meanwhile, in certain cities throughout the country (particularly the ones with some considerable inflow of tech money and tech workers, and probably also college towns), some enterprising young person is going to wonder out loud: “Say, wouldn’t it be a good idea to start an email newsletter covering the city?”
  • Oh, and because I cover the podcast industry for my day job: Podcasting is going to further formalize at the emerging professionalizing layer, and the bulk of advertising growth will be captured at the top. Value will not trickle down, gains will not be equally spread. The independent community will be pressured into self-organizing. Though the ecosystem will end the year less open than when it started the year, there will at least be formal sites of resistance.

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