When is New Media no longer new, and what is it anyways?


We have all heard the term New Media tossed around a great deal, and while I am sure we can all define it {wink, wink, nudge, nudge } , how do we know when it is no longer new?  When a substantial shift happens again will we go down the disastrous and un-innovative path and call it New Media 2.0?  Let’s hope not, as Web 2.0 must inevitable lead to Web 3.0 and beyond.  Software revision naming schemes work well for software, and not much else, let us keep that in mind.

So if we cannot name ir properly due to the fact that we cannot properly define it, then how do we know when the name/definition is no longer applicable?  I ask this question because of the “New Media” revolution coming to many TVs in the future.  You will now be able to watch your favorite non-conformist, outside of the distribution networks control, cutting edge, non-core based media on your TV.  The revolution will in fact be televised.

Not really.  The new hardware and software combinations that will be part of the TV itself, sold as a separate device, or by a traditional provider such as cable or satellite will dictate which media services you can and cannot use.   If YouTube, Flickr and Netflix are available on 75% of the devices, what happens to someone like Vimeo and FunnyOrDie?  Part of the New Media revolution is the abundance of choice, but the new systems being rolled out are mostly entirely closed (i.e. Apple TV) and have no desire to allow you to access every site out there.

Flickr isn’t looking so much like cutting edge media anymore, it appears as though it is being “pushed” upon the masses in the traditional way broadcasting always has been.  I hope you like the Flickr service for sharing photos because it might be 5 years before another provider is supported.  Granted, there will always be solutions for the techie geeks out there, but I’m talking about something that works out of the box.  A future in which YouTube or NetFlix are the sole brokers of content is not part of a revolution; it is returning to the days of limited distribution channels, akin to the CBS/ABC/NBC model.

Put into perspective,  since the dawn of the Internet based new media revolution, traditional corporations have seen it fit that one photo sharing site (Flickr), one video sharing site (YouTube), one movie site (NetFlix), one social network (Facebook) and one micro-blogging service (Twitter) should be brought to televisions everywhere.  We have been insulted, there should be riots in the streets, this is not what we have worked for.  Tens of millions of websites cannot possibly lead to one choice in a limited amount of categories.  TV is not the only way to consume media, and that is understood, but it is the last bastion of old(er) media, and one that seems to have won the fight.

Further, how long do you think it will take before YouTube is censored by Apple TV?  Here is an example, try and search for “Katy Perry California Girlz” on your computer, I’ve done it for you, you can find it here , now type this address http://bit.ly/bxAFaV into your iPhone or other smartphone.  It is a shortened version of the regular YouTube address.  Oh wait, the same Katy Perry video doesn’t load on your phone?  How odd.  It seems watching a music video on your laptop is kosher, but on your iPhone?  Well, that means you could listen to that song instead of buying it.  I wonder what other types of videos will be “left out” for viewing on a traditional TV screen.

It appears we can add a definition to what new media “is”.  It is most definitely open and as uninhibited as possible, with maximum amount of choice.  The majority of options that are currently in the tunnel are not open, and most likely will not be before there is fierce competition.
In the examples above, does this mean that YouTube is no longer new media?  Well, not really.  You do not know why, where and how the decision is made to send some content to x and not to y.  YouTube wants universal reach and would logically desire to be on every device out there.

Confused?  I am as well, but the point is to start discussion as to when new media may cease to be “new”.  The TV is iconic, and will be the battleground for the future of media.  Granted smartphones and computers are important but a win on the old distributions models home turf would ring in a new generation of content.  Choice, openness – that is part and parcel of new media.

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