‘Futuretainment’ M. Walsh (2010)What changes are predicted for the future relationship of producers and consumers of media and what are the implications of these? (CHAPTERS: 4. Network, 7. Crowd, 22. Engage)
NetworkINSIGHT: “The Audience Network holds the power inthe digital age. In the traditional broadcastera, beaming out your content through transmissiontowers was enough to secure audience attention.Now that audiences themselves are organised like anetwork, your only hope of distribution is ensuringthat consumers are motivated enough to do it foryou.” - page 63
Network“An Audience Network describes the relationshipsthat consumers of entertainment products have withcontent and with each other. ...the links of anAudience Network are not fixed, but are constantlygrowing, shifting and rewiring themselves.” - page 58An Audience Network will always adapt toaccommodate new people, ideas and ways of goingabout things on the Web.
Network“...the concept of an ‘audience’ is alreadychanging, and in the future it is likely that it will bevery different.” - page 58Audiences are beginning to break away into smallergroups - niche markets - making it harder for mediacompanies to attract them.
Network“Everyone in an Audience Network is connected toeveryone else.” - page 58Audience Networks wouldn’t function as a network ifthis wasn’t the case.
Network“Whenever someone consumes a piece ofmedia, their actions connect them with otheraudience members who they may not know, but withwhom they may share a history of similarentertainment choices.” - page 63This is fundamentally the way in which an AudienceNetwork is created as the media consumed becomesthe links between the consumers.
Network“To create a successful piece of content, you not onlyneed to get people to like it, but must also encourageyour audience to spread it through their ownchannels.” - page 63By using the Audience Network a media company isable to reach it’s target audience without having totarget it directly.
Network“With the advent of Audience Network it was clearthat a new relationship was developing between thecreators and consumers of content.” - page 63This relationship is now a lot closer than it ever wasbefore in the way that media companies are listeningto their audience more in order to give them theproducts they want to see, keeping the companysuccessful and gaining revenue.
CrowdINSIGHT: “Consumer behaviour on the Web is acomplex adaptive system. A task that might beimpossible for any one individual becomes a realitythrough the linked behaviour of online crowds. Butcascading feedback also has a dark side: crowds canjust as easily become mobs.” - page 100
Crowd“Audiences, like most crowds, rarely behave in apredictable way.” - page 94Members of an audience will influence other members ofthe audience which will in turn show a media companywhether their product has been successful or not.However, this also suggests a sheep-like effect which couldmean this isn’t a fair representation of the views of aparticular audience when one person takes into accountthe view of another, and so it continues.
Crowd“Individually, one audience member might not seemto have a particularly profound influence on themedia ecosystem but, taken as a whole, theinterdependent interactions of millions of consumerscan have a huge impact.” - page 94It only takes a handful of consumers to start off aninteraction that will then snowball in many morepeople interacting with each other.
Crowd“The Web is fast becoming the ultimate example of acomplex adaptive system....” - page 98The Web is always changing due to new ideas, newconcepts, new ways of doings things, new sites andprograms and the next generation of Web users.
Crowd“Without feedback, collective intelligence can’tfunction properly.” - page 98Interactions are required to create a network,otherwise it would all just individual comments andviews.
Crowd“Feedback has become an integral part of how theWeb functions and the ways in which consumersinteract with each other.” - page 98It is feedback which creates the interactions betweenthe users as they then start to have discussions.
Crowd“...Audience Networks are helping to bring structureto the Web through their perpetual interaction withcontent.” - page 100Structure is created through the consumption andfeedback process which the Audience Networkparticipates in.
Crowd“However, there is a risk to collective intelligence: a crowdbecoming a herd. Sometimes a few individuals can have adisproportionate effect on the behaviour of a group as awhole. When people in an Audience Network pay closeattention to the media-consumption behaviour of thosearound them, suddenly everyone can begin to imitate eachother, resulting in an ‘information cascade’.” - page 100The most dominant and actives members of an AudienceNetwork can become ‘known’ to the extent that people‘trust’ what they are saying and they influence what otherssay and think.
Crowd“As Isaac Newton realised, crowds may be mad, buttheir power must nevertheless begin with the actionsof one person.” - page 100In order to create an Audience Network, one personhas to make the first move in order for someone elseto then interact with them.
EngageINSIGHT: “The future of advertising does not lie inbig, complex online campaigns. The Web is apowerful medium for telling stories. The challenge formarketers will be to manipulate digital platforms tocreate and sustain their brand mythologies. Asconsumers become smarter at eluding marketing, itwill not be sufficient merely to invent better lookingadvertisements around content. Advertising will needto become the content.” - page 255
Engage“As the media has become more fragmented, twothings have happened: firstly, it has become harder toget enough people in one place at one time toeffectively deliver your...message; secondly, andmore importantly, it is even harder to get them to payattention when you do.” - page 246Audience have split up into smaller niche markets andpeople’s attention spans have decreased, giving wayto what some people call a 3-minute culture.
Engage“...the trouble with campaigns is that in an onlineworld people interact with brands in different ways.”- page 247People now longer just watch an advert on TV or seeit in a magazine, they are now interacting with thebrands on social network sites. Viral marketing haslead to a much stronger relationship between theproducer of the advertisements and the consumer asit is their job to spread the virals for the company.
Engage“...the Internet...offers brands the opportunity toenter into a much more direct conversation with itscustomers.” - page 247This is largely due to social network sites ascompanies can create their own pages on which theircustomers and people who like the brand can interactwith them and with each other.
Engage“...brands have to start thinking like mediacompanies.” - page 254In order for a company’s product to be successful, likea media company, they have to advertise it in a waythat their target audience wants to see it advertisedand to deliver this advertising in an appropriate wayfor the target audience.
Engage“...audiences are now so fragmented that the only way forthem to achieve mass awareness is for their message to becompelling enough for consumers to do the distributionfor you.” - page 254This is where viral marketing is really good. With viralmarketing, a company will create the content, whichwould be the advert, and then they upload it to an onlineplatform where their target audience will carry out thedistribution by circulating it through e-mail, socialnetworking, word of mouth, etc.