Commentariat: a well paid elite whose days are numbered…

Editorial Intelligence has release a video of the Commentariat versus Bloggertariat debate (one of the better write-ups here; and the Mum’s Net rep started a good crowd sourcing thread on the subject – read from bottom up) the other night in London. It was pretty combative and lively, with an audience drawn from the great and the good of UK journalism… Charles (heartless man) wants to know why we are paying for the Commentariat when we can have so much more for free…

We are reverting to something like the hubbub of three hundred years ago, when countless noisy pamphlets and broadsheets (‘news-papers’) and other forms of written material jostled for position. Gradually that led to consolidation as some people bought the expensive kit to let them distribute on a national scale.

But now the point is that mass distribution is mainly free. And competition as always is driving down prices, in this case towards zero. The Commentariat’s days as an elite getting paid for what they do are numbered. For better or worse, and no doubt both.

This gets to the heart of the real change being wrought, as Charles says for good or for ill, by the Internet. That change is ruthless, and when it gets to critical mass has the capacity to disconnect those companies and organisations who have not begun to find new ways to find new disaggregated audiences. Or have left it too long on the back burner as something they once wanted get around to doing.

  • Greenflag

    Some excellent points there Mick . I liked that one about the some members of the bloggatariat who would have been edited out of the commentariat media are editing themselves into the bloggatariat . I suspect that the commentariat that have left their response to internet change too long on the back burner will not be around for the next leap forward .

    I’m not sure if I’m up to any more leaping . Audiences are now so much more fragmented than ever in mass media history that it’s difficult to see how the traditional commentariat can cope using ‘traditional ‘ methods .

    As I said on another thread . Fighting a new war with old weapons is not a confidence inspiring strategy .

    While it’s still early days to see how this debate will end I think we can at least say that the bloggatariat is here to stay . Mr Obama accepted that reality I believe long before his opposition did which is among other things why he is where he is and they are where they are .

  • The Raven

    Green, the issue of the fragmentation of the market is a good one, and one that nearly deserves a thread of its own. Mick alludes to it when he talks of the “conversations of who we are and where we’re going”.

    Also the point raised in the video about how online advertising has fallen away much more quickly than paper advertising – and yet, as I have written before – I know many marketers who will no longer use print media (outside of specialist print) at all.

    All very thought provoking.

  • Mick Fealty

    It was a good debate. I’ve another coming up shortly. Jeff Jarvis’s rant against the indolence (using that word a lot recently) of the MSM… Sent to me by a mate who was in the audience that night.

  • Greenflag

    raven ,

    ‘how online advertising has fallen away much more quickly than paper advertising ‘

    The old business adage was that 50% of money spent in advertising was wasted but nobody knew which 50% was being wasted 😉 . For reasons of technology the internet world may be quicker on the draw when it comes to tracking down the ‘wasted’ spending .

    When everybody is on U Tube and My Face then nobody is 😉 That old fallacy of composition again.

    We have a way to go before a new ‘equiibrium ‘ is reached between the print media and the on line world assuming of course that such will be possible .

    Advertise or die is still a fact of business life . Word of mouth will get you only so far.

    ‘Mick alludes to it when he talks of the “conversations of who we are and where we’re going”.’

    I suspect that if we don’t know where we’re going we’ll end up somewhere else 😉 . As to who we are ? The jury is still out and it’s a work in progress . I like to believe that eventually a significant part of the ‘blogging world’ not all of it will be considered serious influencers within the overall political debate and will strengthen democratic accountability everywhere .

    We have seen via this current economic crisis how few if any of the ‘commentariat ‘ be they newspaper journalists , economists or political reporters saw the oncoming ‘crash’ . Those few who did were marginalised to the fringes of economic debate .

    It’s a whole new world in communication and I suspect there are many vested interests both political and economic who are no too pleased about it 😉

  • The Raven

    Advertise or die is still a fact of business life. Absolutely, Green – but my point, which I should have made more clearly was to say that I just think that even the very smallest businesses are getting a lot more savvy about how they do it.

    Reference your last para – I think the fight will be to keep the bloggertariat – that which matters – Murdoch-free.

  • Greenflag

    Raven ,

    Murdoch free – absolutely or indeed any other media mogul with almost absolute ‘control’ ambitions .