Sips from the Firehose


Apr 30

News Flash to Military: The Media is NOT Your Enemy


Posted: under journalism, television.
Tags: , , , ,

All the shallow thinkers seemed to draw from Vietnam was that the brave military could have "won" that war, had not the craven, cowardly, hate-America-first media not stabbed them in the back.

So in our most recent misadventure in Iraq, the military set out from the outset to muzzle, coerce, co-opt and neuter the media. That was Job One, and they spent billions of dollars and millions of man-hours making sure that their talking points were crammed down the throats of any media outlet.  The recent NY Times investigation revealed just how much all the "analysts" were being fed useless, false and ultimately harmful propaganda.  In a recent Miami Herald article, Ed Wasserman convincingly argues that the media is going to have to self-police to rid itself of hacks disguised as objective, independent observers:

Some of the analysts confessed that to avoid displeasing their Pentagon patrons they choked back misgivings they had about administration claims of steady military gains.

One Fox News analyst came back from a trip and told his viewers, ”You can’t believe
the progress.” Actually, he told The Times, “I saw immediately in 2003 that things were going south.”

The report is based on 8,000 pages of documents that the administration spent two years fighting demands to disclose. It describes a cozy arrangement involving more than 75 retired military who consulted for Fox News, NBC, CNN and other networks with round-the-clock cable operations. Few of those operations made much effort to find out whether their analysts were benefiting from the policies they zealously defended.

It’s true, as Glenn Greenwald wrote on Salon, that “news organizations were hardly unaware that these retired generals were mindlessly reciting the administration
line on the war and related matters. To the contrary, that’s precisely
why our news organizations turned to them in the first place.”

Here’s a line of thinking – I hesitate to use the word "fact," since the Pentagon and the current administration have so discredited even the concept of "facts" – that I hope some of the brighter minds in the military arrive at:  all the relentless bright & happy talk, the insistence on "progress is being made," the demands to blindly support our troops, the devotion to this vision of the U.S. military as an "Ever-Victorious Army," wreathed in golden glory, incapable of making a mistake …

…all that propaganda and denial of tough examination of exactly what was going on, where we were headed …

… that effort to castrate the media and control the message is what is going to ultimately going to be responsible for the disaster in Iraq.  I talked last night to a formerly wild-eyed rigSaigon_embassy_2ht-winger, who works with/for/in the military, and he admitted that it’s just a matter of time before we have the helicopters taking off from the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, just like Saigon in ’75.
 

If the military had acknowledged in the years 2003-2006 that perhaps things were not quite going exactly according to plan, that there were flaws in the Great Sacred Rumsfeld’s Master Plan, then perhaps, hmmm, I dunno, adjustments could have been made to that plan.  Adjustments that have since been made. 

Adjustments that would have saved American lives. Adjustments that would have stemmed or even reversed the disintegration of Iraqi society that has led us to the dead end where we now find ourselves.

Truthful reports in the media would have put pressure on the politicians above to change the plan rather than the insistence on "staying the course" despite the (OK, I’ll say it) fact that course was heading right straight off the cliff.

Here’s a last quote, ringing out from the lessons that should have been learned – were learned by Colin Powell, since he was in Vietnam, ignored by Cheney and Bush since they were not:

The armed forces contributed to their own defeat in Vietnam ”by fighting the war they wanted to fight rather than the one at hand.”

(snip)

In the end it all boils down to one question: Could we have won a military victory in Vietnam? Record’s answer is: Yes, but not at any price even remotely acceptable to the American people.

One thoughtful former infantry battalion commander told me he had reflected long and
hard about what would have resulted from unlimited war, including an invasion of North Vietnam: ”We could have won a military victory without question. But today my sons and yours would still be garrisoning Vietnam and fighting and dying in an unending guerrilla
war.” The war was ours to lose, and we did; it was for the South Vietnamese to win, and they could not.

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Nov 22

Porque No Te Callas?


Posted: under Uncategorized.
Tags: , , ,

In case all you gringoes up in Gringolandia missed it, last week the controversial (I use that adjective, because a diatribe this early in the post of negative adjectives just isn’t nice) Hugo Chavez got slapped down by King Juan Carlos of Spain.  During a meeting in front of God and TV cameras, Chavez was being his usual ridiculous, Mussolini-esque self, interrupting the Spanish minister and playing the fool.

The King leaned over and snarled, "Porque no te callas?"  – "Why don’t you just shut up."

The Spanish-speaking world erupted.

Many love the King for saying in blunt language what they wish someone would have said a long time ago to that blubbery-lipped bozo.  Many hate the King for what they see as typical peninsulare/gachupine arrogance, a resentment that stretches all the way back to the colonial days.

All I know is that in Ibague, the bubbly young girls on staff told me about this video, and searched YouTube until they found it, and now I can’t get that damn song out of my head.  So here it is – and kudos to the Flash animators who stuck Hugo and the King’s heads on these dancers/kung-fu fighters/chickens.  The fact that they got this up within days of the incident – and that the song that they set this music to was already a hit (and one of the fave greetings that the hip kids in San Salvador use to greet each other is "Porque no to callas")… well, the mash-up talent is definitely catching on in a global way.

Enjoy:

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Nov 09

The Road to Barranquilla


Posted: under Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , ,

…and no, this is not some forgotten Hope & Crosby "Road" movie, co-starring Ginger Rogers & Betty Grable.

This is a "Guest Post" by Janine, and I’m running it here because it’s well-written and also because I’m so frickin’ burned out right now that I would have great difficulty stringing together an account half as coherent as this about some of the surprises we’ve encountered here during our "World Tour 2007-8" of Colombia for Andiaros and the government agency SENA.  Earlier today, I was able to show the roomful of very young journalists here just how easy it is to use the TypePad software to post something to a blog (BTW – the pic that appears there was take about 2 months ago, in Moscow, at a restraurant located on "Clean Lake" across from the Moscow offices of OLMA.)

Anyway, here’s Janine:

This picture was taken by Dave through the window of a military checkpoint that we hit on the way to  Baranquilla, a medium-sized city about an hour’s drive from
Cartagena.  WDsc00684_0810
e hit a nasty rainstorm on the way here so it took us
nearly two hours. As we drove, our driver told us about how the road was
impassible only a few years ago because of the Guerillas/Narcotraffickers.
Now there are Colombian military stations every several kilometers along
the way that protect the road and have made it possible for people to make
the drive without fear.

To help us appreciate how things have changed, he told a personal story
about a bus trip he took to Bogota a few years ago. Part way there, the
bus was stopped by guerrillas who boarded the bus and demanded everyone’s
Cedulas (the national ID). They then consulted the laptop they carried
with them, looking up each person’s name in a database to see if they were
related to anyone rich enough or powerful enough to make them worth
kidnapping.(Dave and I noted this was an impressive use technology, albeit
for all the wrong reasons.)

As the Guerrillas checked IDs, they had one of the children on the bus go
around and collect everyone’s shoes, which he explained they did routinely
to make it harder for anyone to run away, especially when they are being
led through the jungle at night and stepping off a path in the dark could
cause serious damage to bare feet.

But what really amazed us about the story, was that apparently the
guerrilla’s radio discussion about the bus was picked up by the
US-supported Colombian army, which then called for a Black Hawk helicopter
to be sent to help them. That radio message was in turn intercepted by the
guerrillas, who took off once they realized they’d been discovered and
that the helicopter was on the way. (An interesting case of spy vs. spy,
and a moment that I think represents well the turning point that led to
these roads being so much safer.)

Unfortunately for the passengers on the bus, the guerrillas had already
poured gasoline all over the inside of the bus, which they planned to set
on fire before they left. They didn’t take the time to burn the bus. but
the passengers had to  ride to the next town in a bus full of gas fumes so
strong it made most people sick. Still, I’m sure they all agreed it was
better than being kidnapped and walking barefoot through the jungle.

Today, he said he drives down these roads without fear, happy to see the
Colombian military on the side of the road. And I have to admit, Dave and
I both appreciated the soldiers a bit more after his story.

For my part, I’ve been amazed by how much more peaceful things are here
than they were just 6 years ago the first time I came to Colombia.
Everyone we’ve talked to about security has commented on the improvements,
how President Uribe has made such a difference by cracking down on
corruption and guerrilla activities, and how great it is that they can now
go out at night and travel the roads around the country without fear.

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Oct 18

When Free Just Isn’t Cheap Enough


Posted: under music.
Tags: , , ,

Radiohead gives music away for free – kids prefer to pirate it off BitTorrent anyway

OK, this has got to have a lot of entertainment execs reaching for the Maalox. TechCrunch reports that even though Radiohead, in a much-ballyhooed move, allowed customers to set their own price point for downloading their new album (and yes, one of the options was $0.00), within a week

over 240,000 users got the album from peer to peer BitTorrent networks on the first day of release, according
to Forbes. Since then, the album was downloaded about 100,000 more
times each day, totaling more than 500,000. By comparison, Radiohead
pushed 1.2 million sales of the album through their site, including
pre-orders. File sharing networks are expected to surpass legal
downloads in the coming days.

That’s just ugly.  Basically, Hollywood, the RIAA and the MPAA have so poisoned the well with the audience that even when they try something innovative to bust through the conventional ripoff business models they have established and are clinging to, the target audience out there is preferring to go to the pirate sites to get the content.

The question that arises is, why?  Why would some mook with broadband prefer to navigate to Pirate Bay or TorrentSpy to find the same thing that he could get for free, or for what is absolutely no big amount of cash? 

Well, the first thing that occurs to me is that the kids don’t trust the music companies, Hollywood or anything remotely resembling authority anymore.  The rootkit shit that Sony pulled a while back is still reverberating, and there’s a lot of "up yours" attitude for the years of overcharging $15 for a CD that had maybe one decent song on it.

The interesting bits come in the comments on the TechCrunch story, where the commenters basically slammed Radiohead’s site for being too crowded to allow downloads for 2-3 days, and complained about the Big Brother feeling of the registration process. 

Once again, interface design comes into play – like our recent experience trying to buy a classified ad from the LA Times, which resulted in an entire lost morning (simile alert: "it was like trying to buy something in a store, only the cashier keeps making you go back to the store and fill up your cart and wait in line all over again") and ultimately, no purchase of an ad in the LA Times.  They really are stupid over there.  When a company makes it difficult for you to give them money, there is nothing but bad news, layoffs and ultimately bankruptcy and extinction in the future for that firm.

The best that can be said from this is that maybe the labels are learning from it, and they might be ready to actually treat their customers like human beings, rather than criminals.

Whoops! Guess NOT.

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Sep 12

Russian Bloggers to the Rescue


Posted: under Uncategorized.
Tags: , , ,

The Russian Equivalent of Wingnut Welfare

More and more, I’m noticing that the news here in Russia (and yes, I do try to watch the news on TV here, despite the language barrier) seems to exist in some strange parallel universe.  When I switch back and forth between the BBC World News, CNN International, and then the Russian news on RBK and Channel First, there is a massive disconnect. Maybe it’s just because we’re in a particularly delicate election year – an editorial that ran in the Moscow Times recently talked about all the simmering uneasiness regarding Putin’s succession (the original ran in Vedomosti, and I can only hope that the editor who wrote it isn’t re-living a Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch right now).

Trying
to guess the identity of President Vladimir Putin’s choice as his
successor and how he or she will come to power is a game that just
continues to grow in popularity. Speculation is also swirling over
whether the next president will use the system Putin has created to
determine national and international policy, ditch the system
altogether, or keep parts of it.

Analysts
at Renaissance Capital, for example, believe the successor will either
follow the “Brezhnev model” and try to maintain the status quo, or will
be a reformer, following what they label the “Peter the Great model.”
These comparisons are a bit surprising, but not because of the nature
of historical parallels.

This issue is becoming particularly urgent because under Putin, a lot of people have amassed staggering wealth.  Quite naturally, they’d like to keep it.  And now that they have this much money, they can certainly shell out a few bucks here and there to, shall we say, “influence” things to continue going pretty much as they have in that past.  Which is why speaking out about the theft, corruption, murder, intimidation and bombings here is becoming quite perilous.

Politics under these conditions is a third rail for established media.  But there is still a great deal of interest in what is going on in this country that isn’t being talked about in the media.  And as nature abhors a vacuum, so too does the media ecosystem.

Bloggers to the rescue

Here are the nut grafs:

Masha Lipman, a political expert at the Moscow
Carnegie Center, says that web forums like Live Journal provide an
arena for free debate that is no longer available in much of the
conventional media.

“There is indeed a lot of free exchange on
the Internet,” Lipman says. “The question in Russia is not that there
are no outlets where free expression is possible. The question is that
the Kremlin has radically marginalized all outlets that pursue even
reasonably independent editorial lines.

“Russians are the
second-largest group of users of Live Journal, a popular U.S. blogger
site. In Russia, the site currently has more than 1.1 million users and
67,500 interest groups. On September 5 alone, 1,600 new users joined
Live Journal in Russia and almost 500,000 new comments were posted.

Censorship Impossible?

“Actually,
I think the Internet is one of the reasons Russia is still not an
authoritarian regime, because you cannot really shut down the Internet
without very serious measures,” says Yulia Latynina, a political
commentator whose columns are frequently posted on Live Journal.

Just this week, a blogger got thrown in jail for two years for advocating revolution.  The Kremlin has, belatedly, realized that they need to try to clamp down on the discussion online – but the tools that they’ve employed to do so have only ensured that more and more ordinary Russians are getting interested in what it is that was said that caused so much of a reaction.

However, the censorship is getting subtler and more insidious. Apparently, the Kremlin is paying bloggers to go into LiveJournal and produce pro-government content.  Not out-and-out propaganda – the average Russian has very sensitive antennae that can pick up a bullshit press release a mile away.  But apparently, they are getting sophisticated about producing content that subtly reinforces what the government wants you to see, hear and think.

The U.S., of course, has problems along these lines – it has long been an article of faith that bloggers and internet sites that promote the pro-Bush stance have been getting secret payments and support from the government and Bush’s allies.  There’s even a phrase for it: “Wingnut Welfare.”

Still, it is inspiring to see that even under these conditions, the ordinary people on the web are brave enough, and inspired enough, to defy the attempts to brainwash them, to suppress them, to intimidate them.  In this way, at least, the web is struggling to live up the hype of being the invention that allows freedom to reign … although I fear that the increasing sophistication of the governments to stack the ideological deck are only going to get more insidious.

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Sep 10

Gen. Petraeus on Russian TV, in Arabic


Posted: under Uncategorized.
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It is so strange sometimes, to see the events in the U.S. on foreign TV, through the prism of another culture.  I found this particularly surreal – I tried to find the same thing on Russian TV, to see what their reaction to it was, but this is such a non-event here that they aren’t even covering it.  Instead, I think there is the equivalent of Star Search on…

Senatehearingoniraqarabtv

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May 11

The Parade So Good You’re Not Allowed to See It


Posted: under Uncategorized.
Tags: , ,

In Russia, they threw a Victory in Europe celebration, and barred the public from attending

From time to time, all the shops full of the latest European fashions and giant blazing neon signs trick me into forgetting that Moscow and Russia have some serious and profound differences. And then along comes something like Wednesday, and I find myself utterly puzzled, back at Square One, trying to figure out the rationale behind what I’ve seen.

Here’s the deal.  For the last two weeks, the streets and buildings in Moscow have been growing giant red-orange banners and signs and decorations in preparation for the big May 9 Victory Day festivities.  At stoplights all over Moscow, the government hired street people to hand out gaily-color ribbons to motorists and commuters, to be tied around car aerials, pinned to jackets or tied around children’s arms. I shot pictures of these giant Stalin-era 50-story apartment blocks, each with a letter spelling out 9 MAY. The papers were full of stories about whether or not there were going to be tanks and missiles launchers in the streets (how cool is THAT) along with rank after rank of grim-faced goose-stepping Red Army soldiers, and limping, medal-festooned veterans of the march to Berlin and the siege of Leningrad…Kremlinfireworks

The day arrived and the streets were utterly deserted. I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning.  Richard the IT Wizard, Olga and I set off to find the best place to see all the neat stuff go by.  We walked to Tverskaya Street, which is a broad avenue, best described as "The Rodeo Drive of Moscow" that leads downhill to Ground Zero and the main gate into Red Square. As we approached the street, we noticed a big crowd crammed into the alley mouth. 

It turned out that the Red Army was keeping the public off the sidewalks.

WTF?

Usually when you have a parade, you want the people all lined up on each side of the street, cheering, holding the little kids up to see, waving flags, tossing flowers, etc.  I mean, the concept of a victory parade is one that has been around pretty much since Ceasar rode his chariot down the Appian Way and through the throngs of screeching Russianpyramids
Roman citizens with a slave next to him whispering "Remember, you are still mortal" in his ear…

I must have missed something.  The Red Army soldiers were adamant. Nobody was allowed out on the street.  The view we got from the alley mouth was approximately the same as you would get trying to watch TV from under the old athletic equipment crammed into the hall closet. 

So we set off walking, hoping that we’d find some better vantage point.  At every turn, we encountered the same thing.  Streets blocked off, tense Red Army security saying "Nyet."

We got a great tour of the back alleys of all the old, neo-classical buildings north of the Kremlin.  Some of them are quite spectacular.  Some of them have curious steel and glass pyramids built in their courtyards.

Kremlinfireworks2
We finally wound up on a slight hill, under the massive bronze statue of Dostoevsky, with a pretty good view (albeit from about 1/2 mile away) of the parade route.  I figured this was as good a place as any to hang out.  Then the wind kicked up and it started to rain.  From far off, we heard thousands of men shouting – apparently the WWII veterans, when they entered Red Square.  And of course, at this point, yet another Red Army officer appeared and gave us the bumrush.

I refused to give up. Richard’s feet were sore from an hour and 1/2’s walking, but I was on a mission.  So we walked up to Pushkin Park, and over to Tverskaya again.  There were all kinds of big colorful balloons bobbing in the chill breeze, but once again, the barricades were up and the guards were only letting people out, not in.  A rather surly mob was starting to collect around the barricades, and people were passing bottles back and forth.  I could see where this one was going, so I beat feet back to the hotel, but not before a squadron on MiG-29s and Su-27s flew over at about 300 ft. elevation and 600 mph. Man, that is LOUD.  And impressive. Those are some big planes.

Anyway, it turns out that the only place to see the parade is Frombeneathdoestoevskhy
to either be invited to Red Square (i.e. to be a veteran, a dignitary, or a current Army officer), or to watch it on TV.  Which was a shame, because the soldiers were flawless in their close-order drill and they had all manner of cool equipment.  Of course, in St. Petersburg, things were a little more relaxed, and they had video of all the old veterans allowing regular citizens to shoot their old machine guns and throw grenades.

The one saving grace is what you can see in the photos here (I will post more that I shot with the big Canon later) of the fireworks display that I got to watch from out my 7th floor window.  They really did it up – from horizon to horizon, there were fireworks for at least 1/2 an hour over the Kremlin and the city center.  Most of the shots that I got were somewhat blurry, but I managed to get the mini-tripod in place so that I got a couple of time exposures showing some of the lights over the domes and peaked roofs.

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Mar 26

Back in the U.S.A.


Posted: under journalism.
Tags: , , , , ,

After 15 hours of agony on the American Airlines flights back from Buenos Aires, I am back in L.A., and working hard already on trying to arrange for the next big international webmedia trip – this one to Moscow. The forms that the Russian Consulate requires travelers to fill out to get a visa are absolutely amazing in the amount of detail that they demand.  It’s worse than filling out a job application – at least there, you don’t have to mail them your passport, and hope to Christ that they send it back to you before your flight takes off…

Anyway, I have tons of postings and photos that I have to put up in this space, along with links to pages that I’m putting up at the main Hard News site – my PowerPoint presentation is already up there at www.hardnewsinc.com/chile if you want to take a look at it.  I will also be posting my list of sites that I think are interesting, and the reasons I think so, along with a list of all the tech toys that I use/recommend.

Tops on my list of new fave technologies has to be Skype. Folks, Skype saved my ass.  Free calls of whatever length to anyone else with a Skype account?  Man, you just can’t beat it. If you haven’t gotten a Skype account yet, go to www.skype.com and sign up.

Me? I gotta go back to applying for travel health insurance (apparently, the Rooskies won’t let you in the country unless you have some sort of health policy).

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Mar 11

Santiago, Chile – Day 1


Posted: under journalism, music.
Tags: , , , , , ,

I have arrived in Santiago, Chile to find that it is one of the
cleanest big cities I think I’ve ever seen. Especially in South
America. I mean, this place couldn’t be MORE different from the Caracas
that I remember, where there were massive random holes in the sidewalks
that would break your ankles if you didn’t constantly keep your head
down to watch where youSantiagochilethevieww
were walking.  Where on Thursday nights on
Avenidas Fuerzas Armadas, the textile shops and restaurants would their
trash out into the streets, and the stinking rotting piles would be
swarming with filthy, slimy sewer rats by the time I got off work and
staggered to the subway.

No, this place reminds me, if anything, of Calgary. There are shiny new
avant-garde looking skyscrapers all over the place, and even more
cranes dotting the landscape, erecting more. The streets are smooth and
well-maintained.  The cars are shiny and well-maintained.

The quibbles that I do have are that it was a drag getting into the
airport this morning at 5 a.m., after flying for 15 hours, to find that
after waiting in the  long immigration line, I had to get out, walk all
the way across the terminal to get to a window where I had to pay a
$100 "reciprocity" fee to enter the country.  The Canucks get slammed
for $167, so I don’t feel so bad.

My guess is that this is close kin to the fees and fingerprinting and
other indignities that the Brazilians have implemented for gringoes –
but only for gringoes – as a result of the parade of stupidity that
Homeland Security has foisted on foreign travelers trying to get into
the U.S. in the last six years.

Anyway, the other thing that blew me away was how much the airport in
Lima has changed. When I was first through there, the whole place
resembled some 3rd tier airport – something that you might find in
Podunk, Texas.  These days the floor are spotless shiny marble.  There
is a Peruvian flute band playing on the concourse. The stores are all
new and look like gift shops that you find at LACMA or next to Ceasar’s
Palace in Vegas.  I almost bought an amazingly soft Alpaca blanket just
because it felt so inviting.

Anyway, here are a couple of shots out theHotelnovoteltechtoys
window of the hotel room,
and of the room itself.  The Hotel Novo here is obviously designed for
Japanese visitors – the furnishings, the height of the tables and
toilets and the small space are reminiscent of the small hotels that
starting springing up in the early 90s in Hawaii, specifically to cater
to the Japanese tourist trade.

Now all I have to do is to pull two 90-minute presentations out of my
ass (complete with funny and penetratingly wise slides) by 11 a.m.
tomorrow.  Did I mention that I am sick and my back is in agony from 15
hours confined on the flight? 

I did want to be challenged more in this new career/life…

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Mar 09

YouTube Bigger Than Everyone Else – Combined


Posted: under journalism, television.
Tags: , , , ,

Almost unnoticed, the paradigm shifts and the fate of the "ostriches," the media companies that still cling desperately to the notion that the internet is just a fad, is sealed.

I’m still preparing for the trip to Chile – and God, I needed this week off just to take care of all the other ticky-tacky stuff before I head down – but I had to jump out of prepping my speech(es) to note this otherwise ignored bit.

According to Hitwise, that low-level grinding noise that you can hear, if you have just the right kind of ears, was the massive entertainment-consumption paradigm ponderously shifting in favor of online entertainment.  Remember, this data is for a site that barely existed two years ago, and was created using what was basically the equivalent of the money spent on doughnuts for the Teamsters on your average Jerry Bruckheimer shoot:

During the week of February 3, YouTube’s traffic surged
above the combined traffic to all of the television network websites.* This is
a landmark event in the changing face of web traffic and entertainment
consumption, now that entertainment seekers are now more likely to go to
YouTube than any other television network or gaming website. The custom
category of 56 television cable and broadcast network sites received 0.4865% of
all US Internet traffic for the week ending

2/17/07

, while YouTube received 0.6031%.

Blaaahhh!  Head … exploding … moving … too … fast …

[bonks head repeatedly against desk]

(phew!)  That’s better.The_wave_hits

Way back in ’99 when I started getting involved in streaming video, we all knew that watching and, more to the point, interacting with entertainment media via your computer was the Wave of The Future. Still, the thought was that movie and TV studios and producers would be smart enough and nimble enough to get out in front of this wave, and that in the future, we’d see Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts and Sharon Stone (remember – this was the late 90s – these people were still relevant) all doing their thing in an interactive streaming video environment.

What we underestimated was the tenacity with which the hidebound bureaucratic studios and production companies would cling to their outmoded business models, when the future could so clearly be seen.  To be fair, when Web 1.0 imploded and everyone standing near the impact craters (such as yours truly) lost their shirts, the closets the shirts had been stored in and the houses that contained the closets, it gave the mossbacked reactionaries a perfect "I told you so" moment.  Since then, the future has arrived like the swelling of the wave pictured above.  The flailing attempts of media companies to kill YouTube have only made it stronger – viz the whole reason it got big in the first place.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happens from here on out. It may not be YouTube that winds up the eventual winner – in fact, I don’t think that the strictures of Web 2.0 allow for such thing as an "eventual winner."  There will be constant churn.  And that’s OK.  The reign of the "Big 3" networks and the Sony/Warner/Viacom/Fox megaliths will continue. For a while, at least. If by no other means then by using their enormous cash reserves to buy up New Media properties and attempt to co-opt them into their orbits.  Hell, even YouTube is owned by Google.

But these megaliths are all rooted in shifting sands. The fact that a snot-nosed startup can beat them up on the playground and take their lunch money, AFTER said megaliths have spent the last 15 years throwing billions and untold man-hours of labor attempting to encircle and capture the New Media market proves just how incompetent and short-sighted the management structures of these companies are.

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