No one really knows.
In my time working in the music industry, that was the most startling realization I had. As an artist, and later as a producer manager and concert promoter, I worked in the music industry during a time of profound change. Multi-billion dollar entertainment empires were being dismantled by teenagers on computers in their bedrooms. Everyone was confused.
Producers I was working with who had at one time demanded six-figure budgets were now hoping for work at a quarter of that price. Even though year after year the music industry was experiencing double-digit losses, in the back of my mind I assumed the great music industry titans knew something I didn’t know. But the more ivory towers I climbed, the more I realized their occupants were just as confused as I and everyone else was. No one knew how to preserve what they had built.
Newspapers, television networks, and the entire journalism profession currently find themselves in a similar situation. What is the future of news and entertainment consumption going to look like? How will it be monetized?
In 1997, The Wall Street Journal was the first major newspaper to setup a paywall for their online content. They now boast over 500,000 online subscribers. Glenn Beck left his multi-million dollar major cable news program in favor of launching gbtv.com, an internet-based television network. Hundreds of thousands of viewers now pay roughly $10 a month to access Beck’s content. Meanwhile, bloggers like Michelle Malkin have delivered a seemingly endless stream of free content online and looked to monetize their work in other ways — such as books and speaking engagements.
Social networks have transformed the way news travels. As a kid, I would anxiously wait for 5 p.m. when ESPN Sportscenter, would come on and fill me in on what had happened that day in the world of sports. Now I receive a constant stream of information from sports analysts, commentators, and athletes on my phone via Twitter. I know what happened long before Sportscenter comes on. And I’m not the only one. Recently, Oakland A’s pitcher Craig Breslow found out he had been traded to the Diamondbacks. This news did not come to him from the team’s general manager or his agent — he found out on Twitter. Breslow tweeted: “I can no longer denounce the relevance of Twitter. It broke the story of my trade…to me.”
At the heart of all of this is the fact that online content has changed and will continue to change the way information is sent, received, and monetized — and nobody has a clue how it’s all going to shake out.
This has impacted politics in a significant way. Every politician from presidential candidates to dog-catchers now employ some level of new media tactics into their communications strategy. And political news organizations are attempting to do the same. The politicians and news outlets who are having the most success are the ones who provide the most value to their audience.
I am launching YellowHammerPolitics.com because it is time for conservatives in Alabama to have a voice on the web. We will provide value to our audience in several ways:
1. We will curate notable content from around the web. We will be your one-stop-shop for information from around the world that affects Alabama politics.
2. We will provide original content from Alabama’s opinion leaders. Legislators, elected officials, candidates, and Montgomery insiders will use our site to share their thoughts directly with you.
3. We will offer you a behind-the-scenes look inside the halls of the State House and Capitol.
4. We’re going to have fun. It’s ok…it was weird to us at first too.
Creative destruction is an integral part of American history. In the 1800s, ice was harvested in frigid regions and transported all over the world. But when American entrepreneur Alexander Twinning decided to turn refrigeration into a commercial enterprise, none of the ice harvesters were interested in investing. Seen any ice harvesters lately?
The point is, no one is entitled to the preservation of the status quo. No one really knows how you will access your political news in the future. But for now, we’re proud to give you YellowHammerPolitics.com — Alabama’s new home for politics.