Monday, August 13, 2007

Battle of Kruger Park - survival of the most adaptable

If you want an illustration of how the media world has shifted look no further than 'The Battle Of Kruger Park'.

It's a YouTube piece of user generated content which you may or may not have had forwarded to you by a friend (that's how it came to my attention in the latter part of last week).
It's wobbly, definitely not HDTV, shot by tourists - ie non-experts.
It is UGC in its purest form.
Yet already it has had more views than the first epidsode of the BBC wildlife series Planet Earth (as compared in Sunday's Observer).
The Observer recorded it at 10m views in its edition on Sunday August 12. This morning (Monday 13th) it's on 12.3m.
Planet Earth got 8.7m on BBC1.
It's not about mass media any more. The audience for beautifully shot and crafted aggregated content (a BBC documentary, for example) remains - but it is being outstripped by the audience for disaggregated content shared by communities of shared niche interest.
And when that niche interest plays out across the globe, the numbers become of the scale that the old mass media can only dream of.
It meets the need of a niche interest; the distribution network is exactly that (a distributed network - not a centre-out model); it allows the community to join in - comment on, respond with a video of their own, etc.
But it's also a sensational piece of 'entertainment'.
Quality takes many guises. Most of them have little to do with production values.

We have always, as a species, witnessed extraordinary events. Now, as a networked species, we are able to share them.

The camera/video and the means to publish and distribute what you capture with them are close to ubiquitious.

At some point in the not-too-distant it's conceivable you could see almost anywhere in the world almost anytime you wished.

Guess that'll finally nail some interesting questions... such as - do UFOs exist? Is Bigfoot more than a stuffed toy? And... is the referee right?

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?