In the beginning was the word10 march 2011, 21:02
Recent statement of prime-minister of Kazakhstan concerning prospects of development of traditional media deserves more attention than in got. And not just inside the country. It looks like a new technological revolution capable of changing the world is on its way in Kazakhstan.
There are many more implications to Massimov’s statement than just the direct meaning of it: “Traditional media is caught in colossal competition with the Internet. In 3-4 years the landscape of this market is going to be different.”
It is no revelation that the face of the media market will soon be dramatically changed under the pressure of the Internet: many have said that before. But the circumstances under which Karim Massimov came to these conclusions are worth noting and are promising in themselves. According to the reports of Kazakh media they came after he himself started to widely employ video conferences for ministerial meetings. In the other words, these conclusions were not a result of recommendations made by experts or forecasts of theorists, but a conclusion and even an order made by an end costumer. And in the light of the End Costumer’s position, this can be at the same time considered a public procurement order.
The future fortune of a media outlet is no longer a synonym of a media outlet’s future prospects, because the future is now defined by the outlet’s ability to identify and follow new trends and technologies. Same as in case of the Internet, television has overgrown its shorties and is no longer a mere public attraction capable of transmitting moving pictures over distances. The quantitative development of this toy – the increase in the number of TV sets and their availability – have brought about the new quality standard and turned the television into the most large-scaled and effective mass media. Virtually any person living on earth is merged into the television reality. The two realities are so deeply intertwined that for some people reality shows can take the place of real life.
But every road has an end to it and any step can be the last one. And here, the most up-to-date and popular genre – the reality show – suddenly becomes the end of the TV epoch. That’s it, there it ends. Further rolls the Internet.
Live camera set in front of the elevator at the NTV’s floor in Ostankin Tower during the days when the channel was expected to be seized by force was a prototype of this technology. The channel was broadcasting a picture from the camera showing a place where noting particular was happening, but where something important was at the edge of happening. The channel’s ratings soared so high up that the cost of advertisement increased several times. But all this was happening under the extreme conditions. When a new Russian channel Dojd recently tried to repeat the success it chose to move it into the Internet. Besides the finished shows and programs the channel also uploaded videos showing how these programs were created, including videos of briefings, castings, discussions of shooting arrangements.
People tend to lose interest in TV not because its quality is deteriorating, but because there is no longer a place for technological breakthroughs. Television has ceased to be the sources of news even by virtue of its core concept. The news broadcasts spread out in the TV viewing schedule is an obsolete twaddle. Because the news are happens here and now and all that comes later is a mere reporter’s retelling.
This drives the people in pursuit of information into the Internet and soon enough this innovation will annihilate the traditional television completely. Once there is a device that is no more a technical mean of delivering a picture but a mean to create content it is going to prevail over all other devices and squeeze them out of the market sooner or later. The question is only which device it is going to be.
This is exactly what Massimov was speaking about: “Information that gets into the evening news on TV and appears in the newspapers the next day is something we’ve got used to, but this is no longer feasible. This kind of timeliness of information is out of demand. Now the Internet users can get information directly and provide feedback without an intermediary opinion of the journalists.”
Why is the contemporary television as an information technology unable to compete with the Internet? Because it’s economic sustainability is based on the rush for gross audience and ratings that yield revenues through the advertisement. TV managers have to put this mass together trying to pull each and every one of us into it. However most of us are resisting the pull, because it goes against the natural laws of development of the society.
Let me here quote Massimov again: “It is time to change the mentality. Users are able to get the information directly, without the intermediary point of view provided by the journalists.”
Now, try to imagine yourself and a computer. You enter a website with a lot of web-cameras showing content that are of interest to you personally. Consider this, not the content that is of interest to the maximum possible number of viewers, but the one that is specifically targeted on you. Instead of a gross audience there is a mass of viewers gathered in a huge number of small interest groups. So, let me see what is going on in a meeting of a certain maslikhat (a local authority), they had an issue in their agenda that is important to me. Or take another subject: much has been written about the possible disorders in Moscow at the Manejnaya square at 7 p.m. So, where is the live feed from Manejnaya square here? And so we can continue the selection on and on… But again the numbers is what matters. If a user can select from at least several thousand web cameras than the attractiveness of this new mass media will be so high that its ratings would be going before it. And since access to all cameras can be maintained from one and the same website and the user has no need to surf anywhere else, the website’s ratings would be nearing one hundred percent as well.
Prime-minister of Kazakhstan has given the number of years it is going to take for the new technological revolution to unfold: 3-4 years. And to become a world leader in information technologies Kazakhstan won’t even need to incur multi-billion expenditures to create an equivalent of Russian mythical Skolkovo.
Kazakhstan possesses some of little used technologies as well as technical capacities. There is a mass of constantly operating web-cameras all over there world, live videos of many political and cultural events are already being broadcasted in the Internet. There are such widespread technologies as Skype and mobile phones in the market that provide direct access into the Network. The Internet connection is becoming fast and more available as we speak. And the 4G technology makes it ultimately wireless. And finally there are satellites orbiting the Earth that are capable of producing a very clear picture. All that remains is to put it all together and this quantity will get transformed into a completely new quality standard and would fundamentally change the lives of people. The surrounding world will curl itself into a computer monitor, and each and every person would be able to manifest himself to the world thought this same screen.
It is useless to argue about the role of journalists in the contemporary world. I am not trying to lessen the merits of the representatives of the fourth estate here. I am only talking about change of the mentality and rotation of epochs.
And when this kind of statements are made by a prime-minister of one of the most promising countries they are absolutely worth paying attention to. Especially since in this case there is only a very small step between the word and the deed.