Regular readers will know I'm quite fond of noting and quoting my favourite sources for stories and ideas - to a shameless extent, I'm sure some would say. I've always appreciated it when people signpost interesting things to me. But I'm aware I also need to maintain my position of being worthy of signposting too.
Sometimes, I worry that I’m finding it harder every week to think of something to say – and whether this is because I’m a sad old man with no awareness of what’s going on in "the industry" these days. Let’s not discount that possibility. But, then, I realised it’s not my fault, it’s the business – all the change is drying up. And I think, actually, there might be something in that.
You could make a case that the interesting stuff the internet’s going to do to the media industry has mostly already happened. That’s not to say that we won’t see momentous change – it’s just that none of it will be surprising. Such as, for instance, the fact that the BBC has decided to scrap BBC Three and move the best of its programmes online. That’s just another step closer to the end of channels. It’s not news, it’s just happening. The fact that there’s now a BBC Four but no BBC Three is one of those odd little artefacts we’ll laugh about when they have all disappeared.
So the Cambrian explosion of weird and florid invention is drawing to an end. The new things we’ll see will be variants on existing models – new efficiencies, finer tuning. It will just get more boring.
The new things will be variants on existing models - new efficiencies, finer tuning. It will just get more boring
I can’t quite find the metaphor – it’s either something to do with a building where the foundations have been removed but it has yet to fall down, or the internet is one of those strange parasites that lays an egg in an insect and devours it from the inside, and the insect is still walking around but no-one realises it’s already dead.
This doesn’t mean you can just sit and think: phew, we survived. Because the internet will now just move on to transform every other bit of your business and could easily render you useless as a side effect.
The internet is going to bewitch and bewilder logistics, retail, collaboration, manufacturing, product, analytics and service, and every other bit of what every organisation does. The media business isn’t special – it was just first because it was made of screens and information. Many of you will disagree and think I’m either a doomy nutter or blind to a world of startling media innovation. We’ll see next week if I can find more stories to tell you.
Russell Davies is a creative director at Government Digital Service
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