Proseminar – Dr. David Waterman

Online vs offline

Are the media shrinking?

Today’s very visual presentation by Dr. Waterman illustrated some interesting trends surrounding revenue and employment within media industries. The work by Waterman and Sung Wook Ji showed that the dissemination of broadband internet around 1999 marked the beginning of a decline of revenue across many media industries. This decline coincides with a marked reduction in employment and a shift from advertising revenue to direct pay support.

Waterman offered four primary reasons for the above trends. First, consumers are turning away from professionally-made media. Second, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for intellectual property owners to efficiently collect money. Third, business models’ continued reliance on ad revenue. Fourth, media producers’ reliance on internet distribution.

Interestingly, despite these trends, production quality and quantity has remained largely stable. This curious finding suggests that labor may be shifting from media producers to consumers themselves. For more information, see their abstract and PowerPoint slides.

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