Florian Cramer on Wed, 9 May 2012 07:25:56 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Privacy, Moglen, @ioerror, #rp12

On Tue, May 8, 2012 at 10:21 PM, <Newmedia@aol.com> wrote:

> Do they know that you really can't "control" anyone on Facebook and that
> the *primary* "sales" activity that happens is NEGATIVE (i.e. people
> telling each other what *not* to buy) -- you betcha.

Yes; and the big four Internet corporations (Google, Amazon, Apple,
Facebook) play the same negative game on a larger scale within the media
and creative industries: shrinking them while securing the diminished
business for themselves. Compared to the creative industries of the
1960s-1990s - advertising agencies, TV networks and major record labels for
example -, businesses like Google's AdWords, YouTube or Apple's iTunes run
on a minimal internal workforce, give almost no jobs to external creative
industry workers, and have relatively small total cashflows and profits.

In the last decade, the classical creative industries have already shrunk
about 50% if I believe what insiders have told me about employment and
project budgets in their respective work fields such as design,
architecture and advertising. If we project the media consumption habits of
today's teenagers and young adults onto the future, then it's not
far-fetched to expect that one day, YouTube (or its future equivalent) will
have replaced network TV, Google Ads (or maybe Facebook ads if the company
plays it smart) will have a near-monopoly on publishing media advertising
and iTunes will have replaced the recording industry, even those monopolies
amount to much less than they would have had in the 1960s or 1980s.
'Content' production may largely become outsourced into crowdfunded
self-organization, potentially turning the old activist dream of
self-organized media into a precarious nightmare. Creative industries may
shrink to a fraction of today's size because of economic streamlining
effects. Just compare the labor required to design a magazine ad or make a
tv commercial to that of making a Google ad, or the design work required
for a paper book versus the largely automated XML document engineering of
an e-book, or, on the consumer's side, the obsolescence of having hundreds
of newspapers that mostly print the same news. (Which is why the Internet
has killed news as a salable commodity.)

This development could be rationalized as genuine industrialization and
cutting overhead of an industry that never truly worked like one. If the
big Internet four (which might consist of partly different companies in the
future) seize the biggest piece of that shrunk cake, it will still be
profitable enough for them, and it will make sense for them to focus on
'negative activity' within the creative industries, in the same way the car
industry destroyed railway and public transport systems in 20th century
America. So the economic question for Facebook is not what new business it
can make, but which established creative industries it can kill off in
order to live on a profitable-enough fraction of what they used to make.


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