TEDx Toronto: New Media vs. Old Media

I was honoured recently by being asked to be one of the featured presenters at the first TEDx Toronto, a kind of mini-version of the famous TED conference that took place in at the Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto on September 10th (which also happened to be my birthday). The title of my presentation was “Five Ways New Media Can Save Old Media,” and it was quite well received as far as I could tell. So I thought I would post the slides here – they are embedded if you are reading this via RSS – and the transcript. The TEDx organizers said that there would be video of all the talks available, so I will post that as well when it arrives.

Good afternoon, and thanks for joining me for this part of TEDx Toronto. I’m honoured to be included in this event with so many great speakers and thinkers. The title of this presentation is Five Ways New Media Will Save Old Media. If we look at that title, we can see there are three implicit assumptions: 1) old media needs to be saved; 2) old media can be saved; and 3) old media should be saved.

Let’s take those one at a time: does old media need to be saved? Revenues are dropping at many media entities, not just newspapers; circulation is stagnant at best, and some media outlets have already gone bankrupt or closed for good, or gone online-only. Let’s call that assumption “proven,” just for the sake of argument.

Can old media be saved? I believe that it can — although I have no proof of that. If I had proof that old media could be saved, I would be sitting on a beach somewhere. I think it’s also important to think about what we mean by using the word “saved.” Do we mean restoring traditional media to the good old days of 25-per-cent returns and rising readership? I don’t think that’s likely to happen.

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Lonelygirl15: A chat with the creators

(here’s a blog post I put up earlier today at globeandmail.com, related to a story I did for the newspaper)

Miles Beckett and Greg Goodfried still look like the upwardly mobile twenty-somethings (surgical resident and entertainment lawyer respectively) they used to be a year or two ago. But now — along with friend Ramesh Flinders and Greg’s wife, a former executive with Creative Artists Agency — they are the co-creators and producers of the Lonelygirl15 phenomenon.

In Toronto for the FITC design and technology conference, they talked about what it has been like since “Bree” was revealed to be actress Jessica Rose last September.

They also talked about the website, which is built on a hacked version of WordPress, with widgets from Revver that play the videos (both the ones uploaded by the characters and the ones uploaded by fans); there is a chat room where there are usually between 20 and 50 people at a time, and the site has a Wikipedia-style show encyclopedia called LGpedia — which a fan created — that has over 3,000 articles and has received more than two million page views.

Miles
: “I spent a lot of time on YouTube watching videos, and after awhile it was clear they were going to become the leader, so [after we came up with the idea] I decided to upload something there rather than try to get people to come to our site. From the beginning, the idea was to create a sense of mystery, so we started posting comments and video as this character — interactivity was very much a part of it.”

Greg: “Miles said we’re going to do this for a few months and then we’ll be on the cover of magazines, and I said you’re crazy.”

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Blogs, PayPerPost and new media

Tony Hung has a great post over at Deep Jive Interests looking at the new media landscape, jumping off from the flame war going on between Stowe Boyd and Andrew Keen. I would summarize it, but why not just go over there and read the whole thing.
clipped from www.deepjiveinterests.com

The nature of this new world of self-publishing, however, is that while there *is* a natural “attention” hierarchy that is naturally reinforcing, it is virtually frictionless to get started, as barriers around cost and ease of use are virtually nil. Poeple who have something genuinely interesting to say, or genuinely new or worthwhile to report in all of its relativistic wonder *can* get heard. Whether its the whistleblower who has to go on YouTube to make his point about Navy spending indiscretions, or podcasters getting “scouted” into mainstream media thanks to their self-directed efforts, or musicians eschewing traditional channels of distribution, yet still succeeding and selling records, successful examples of the relatively egalitarian nature of new media abound.