Media man

Media man

: FCC Chairman Michael Powell sits down with the San Jose Mercury News and out come some pearls of wisdom.

He illustrates the real shift in media and telecommunications:

The most powerful paradigm shift is the fact that applications are not woven into the platforms. . . .

Now to be a phone company, you don’t have to weave tightly the voice service into the infrastructure. You can ride it on top of the infrastructure. So if you’re a Vonage, you own no infrastructure. You own no trucks. You roll to no one’s house. They turn voice into a application and shoot it across one of these platforms. And, suddenly, you’re in your business.

And that’s why if you’re the music industry, you’re scared. And if you’re the television studio, movie industry, you’re scared. And if you’re an incumbent infrastructure carrier, you’d better be scared. Because this application separation is the most important paradigm shift in the history of communications, and will change things forever. . . . I have no problem if a big and venerable company no longer exists tomorrow, as long as that value is transferred somewhere else in the economy.

That idea of the application (or content) being separate from the platform is the architecture of the age.

It’s what HTML, XML, and RSS are all about: content is separate from display and thus displayed anywhere.

Not to be tiresome and link everything to the local angle of blogs, but they, too, fit this model: Blogs ride on top of the infrastructure of others, without reporting structures or pressmen or trucks.

Politics now fit the model, too: Howard Dean used open-source tools to create a new, distributed campaign infrastruture apart from the DNC’s infrastructure.

Hell, it’s true even of terrorism: Bin Laden didn’t need to run a country to reap change; he rides atop our infastructure.

On media ownership, Powell says:

There is no question that there are an order of magnitude more media choices than at any time in our nation’s history.

I don’t know when this golden age was that everyone is benchmarking from. TV started by being dominated by three networks and three networks only, and it has done nothing but dilute since then. . . . Where was it more concentrated?

And we’ve had the invention of cable television, satellite television, the Internet. So you may disagree where to draw the line, but to argue for a line on the idea that the market is 10 times more concentrated than sometime . . . then you’re just willing to have a debate not rooted in factual reality.

Exactly. [via IWantMedia]