Ambient Media Has Now Killed Off Broadcast Media

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Time of death: 11:14pm, Saturday, August 15, 2009. And I’m qualified to call it because of how media works today. See below if you don’t get it yet.

This clip above is the most important 4 minutes and 23 seconds of the rest of your 21st century. Watch it.

If you’re like me, much of the data in this piece will be new to you and somewhat astonishing. I had to pause it a few times because I don’t read as fast as young people today, I suppose.

If it’s not all new, it’s because you likely already get how communication will exist for the rest of the 21st century.

Simply: linear consumption of communications, broadcasting, is gone.

We are in a 3D world of ambient information and simultaneity.

Get up to speed or be left in the 20th century.

One-way broadcasting via TV, radio and newspapers to passive recipient consumers is dying fast.

Newspaper circulation is declining rapidly. Soon we’ll see cable TV subscriptions declining fast as information is just everywhere.

I have virtually no need for subscriber TV anymore. The half dozen shows I watch are available for downloading in less than 20 minutes from torrent sites within hours of their broadcast on the east coast. And half the shows aren’t available in Canada without delays of months. I don’t like to wait.

News is online. Hockey? I’m still working on that one. When I figure it out, out goes my cable TV subscription for good.

The internet is a crucible now, it always has been. It is forming new means of communication. Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube have survived the burning. New forms will continue to emerge as the new printing presses. When they become ubiquitous, newspapers, TV and radio will finish their tailspin.

I spent many of the last 12 months working up a design to convert some of my editorials into op-eds for community newspapers. I have written recently how community papers are newly critical in sustaining democracy. I still believe this, but I’ve altered my sense of time about this.

Community papers are still generally owned in blocks by media oligarchs. We’re seeing daily newspapers and regional TV stations dying. We’ll see media oligarchs suffer at the core some more.

Community papers won’t have a chance to become critical for democracy until the current ownership mode burns out, leaving new forms of democratic communications to emerge as a phoenix rising out of putrid ashes.

But along side concrete [as opposed to electronic] media in the future, the wired world of ambient media will define a new relationship of information. Community papers of the future will not be so linear and broadcast as they are now. They will be more vibrant and interactive…as much as that can happen through periodical publishing on paper.

So, hold on to your crash bar for the wild ride ahead. And you can join me on the deathwatch of the CanWest media chain as today their stock price is at $0.14. Click on the 5y chart to see how they’ve fallen. All they are is biased, right wing TV, radio and newspapers and some lame web portals, all pretending to be objective because their model is pre-post-modern. They are a dinosaur stumbling over a cliff. I will not miss them and I will toast their demise as I welcomed the departure from this earth of Milton Friedman and Pinochet.

And what I’ve learned tonight is that I can’t convert a media activity in the 3D ambient media world into a 2D linear, broadcast media world by sending my editorials into community papers.

I can’t yet imagine how the future of media will look. I’ve never understood “the medium is the message” as fully as I do now, but I also know that in 5-10 years I’ll understand it far more profoundly as the internet crucible continues burning.

I must go spray some kerosene on the fire now. Join me?

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Post-partisan eco-socialist. at Politics, Re-Spun
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website,

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3 thoughts on “Ambient Media Has Now Killed Off Broadcast Media”

  1. It isn’t that we’re too old…we just don’t scan as quickly. Or is it just strategy to get me to the web-site?

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