Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

Home

www.google.co.uk


Recent Comments


Monthly Archives


Most recent entries


Search


Advanced Search


Other Blogs I write for

Brian Micklethwait's Education Blog

CNE Competition
CNE Intellectual Property
Samizdata
Transport Blog


Blogroll

2 Blowhards
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adloyada
Adventures in Capitalism
Alan Little
Albion's Seedling
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Alex Singleton
AngloAustria
Another Food Blog
Antoine Clarke
Antoine Clarke's Election Watch
Armed and Dangerous
Art Of The State Blog
Biased BBC
Bishop Hill
BLDG BLOG
Bloggers Blog
Blognor Regis
Blowing Smoke
Boatang & Demetriou
Boing Boing
Boris Johnson
Brazen Careerist
Bryan Appleyard
Burning Our Money
Cafe Hayek
Cato@Liberty
Charlie's Diary
Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
Chicago Boyz
China Law Blog
Cicero's Songs
City Comforts
Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog
Clay Shirky
Climate Resistance
Climate Skeptic
Coffee & Complexity
Coffee House
Communities Dominate Brands
Confused of Calcutta
Conservative Party Reptile
Contra Niche
Contrary Brin
Counting Cats in Zanzibar
Скрипучая беседка
CrozierVision
Dave Barry
Davids Medienkritik
David Thompson
Deleted by tomorrow
deputydog
diamond geezer
Dilbert.Blog
Dizzy Thinks
Dodgeblogium
Don't Hold Your Breath
Douglas Carswell Blog
dropsafe
Dr Robert Lefever
Dr. Weevil
ecomyths
engadget
Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights
English Cut
English Russia
EU Referendum
Ezra Levant
Everything I Say is Right
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Ferraris for all
Flickr blog
Freeborn John
Freedom and Whisky
From The Barrel of a Gun
ft.com/maverecon
Fugitive Ink
Future Perfect
FuturePundit
Gaping Void
Garnerblog
Gates of Vienna
Gizmodo
Global Warming Politics
Greg Mankiw's Blog
Guido Fawkes' blog
HE&OS
Here Comes Everybody
Hit & Run
House of Dumb
Iain Dale's Diary
Ideas
Idiot Toys
IMAO
Indexed
India Uncut
Instapundit
Intermezzo
Jackie Danicki
James Delingpole
James Fallows
Jeffrey Archer's Official Blog
Jessica Duchen's classical music blog
Jihad Watch
Joanne Jacobs
Johan Norberg
John Redwood
Jonathan's Photoblog
Kristine Lowe
Laissez Faire Books
Languagehat
Last of the Few
Lessig Blog
Libertarian Alliance: Blog
Liberty Alone
Liberty Dad - a World Without Dictators
Lib on the United Kingdom
Little Man, What Now?
listen missy
Loic Le Meur Blog
L'Ombre de l'Olivier
London Daily Photo
Londonist
Mad Housewife
Mangan's Miscellany
Marginal Revolution
Mark Wadsworth
Media Influencer
Melanie Phillips
Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
Michael Jennings
Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal
Mick Hartley
More Than Mind Games
mr eugenides
Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
My Boyfriend Is A Twat
My Other Stuff
Natalie Solent
Nation of Shopkeepers
Neatorama
neo-neocon
Never Trust a Hippy
NO2ID NewsBlog
Non Diet Weight Loss
Normblog
Nurses for Reform blog
Obnoxio The Clown
Oddity Central
Oliver Kamm
On an Overgrown Path
One Man & His Blog
Owlthoughts of a peripatetic pedant
Oxford Libertarian Society /blog
Patri's Peripatetic Peregrinations
phosita
Picking Losers
Pigeon Blog
Police Inspector Blog
PooterGeek
Power Line
Private Sector Development blog
Public Interest.co.uk
Publius Pundit
Quotulatiousness
Rachel Lucas
RealClimate
Remember I'm the Bloody Architect
Rob's Blog
Sandow
Scrappleface
Setting The World To Rights
Shane Greer
Shanghaiist
SimonHewittJones.com The Violin Blog
Sinclair's Musings
Slipped Disc
Sky Watching My World
Social Affairs Unit
Squander Two Blog
Stephen Fry
Stuff White People Like
Stumbling and Mumbling
Style Bubble
Sunset Gun
Survival Arts
Susan Hill
Teblog
Techdirt
Technology Liberation Front
The Adam Smith Institute Blog
The Agitator
The AntRant
The Becker-Posner Blog
The Belgravia Dispatch
The Belmont Club
The Big Blog Company
The Big Picture
the blog of dave cole
The Corridor of Uncertainty (a Cricket blog)
The Croydonian
The Daily Ablution
The Devil's Advocate
The Devil's Kitchen
The Dissident Frogman
The Distributed Republic
The Early Days of a Better Nation
The Examined Life
The Filter^
The Fly Bottle
The Freeway to Serfdom
The Future of Music
The Futurist
The Happiness Project
The Jarndyce Blog
The London Fog
The Long Tail
The Lumber Room
The Online Photographer
The Only Winning Move
The Policeman's Blog
The Road to Surfdom
The Sharpener
The Speculist
The Surfer
The Wedding Photography Blog
The Welfare State We're In
things magazine
TigerHawk
Tim Blair
Tim Harford
Tim Worstall
tomgpalmer.com
tompeters!
Transterrestrial Musings
UK Commentators - Laban Tall's Blog
UK Libertarian Party
Unqualified Offerings
Violins and Starships
Virginia Postrel
Vodkapundit
WebUrbanist
we make money not art
What Do I Know?
What's Up With That?
Where the grass is greener
White Sun of the Desert
Why Evolution Is True
Your Freedom and Ours


Websites


Mainstream Media

BBC
Guardian
Economist
Independent
MSNBC
Telegraph
The Sun
This is London
Times


Syndicate

RSS 1.0
RSS 2.0
Atom
Feedburner
Podcasts


Categories

Advertising
Africa
Anglosphere
Architecture
Art
Asia
Atheism
Australasia
Billion Monkeys
Bits from books
Bloggers and blogging
Books
Brian Micklethwait podcasts
Brians
Bridges
Business
Career counselling
Cartoons
Cats and kittens
China
Civil liberties
Classical music
Comedy
Comments
Computer graphics
Cranes
Crime
Current events
Democracy
Design
Digital photographers
Drones
Economics
Education
Emmanuel Todd
Environment
Europe
Expression Engine
Family
Food and drink
France
Friends
Getting old
Globalisation
Healthcare
History
How the mind works
India
Intellectual property
Japan
Kevin Dowd
Language
Latin America
Law
Libertarianism
Links
Literature
London
Media and journalism
Middle East and Islam
Movies
Music
My blog ruins
My photographs
Open Source
Opera
Other creatures
Painting
Photography
Podcasting
Poetry
Politics
Pop music
Propaganda
Quote unquote
Radio
Religion
Roof clutter
Russia
Scaffolding
Science
Science fiction
Sculpture
Signs and notices
Social Media
Society
Software
South America
Space
Sport
Technology
Television
The internet
The Micklethwait Clock
Theatre
This and that
This blog
Transport
Travel
USA
Video
War


Thursday November 08 2007

Every so often I read something that illuminates and brings home with a thump the thing my friend Adriana has been saying for years, that old school advertising is broken.

And just now, it happened again, with this engadget report of a critical panning received by a Hitachi video camera.  A critical panning in a geeks-only paper-only magazine is one thing.  An on-line panning that gets linked to by the number one gadget blog on the planet and which someone like me therefore gets to read if I want to, were I considering buying such a device, well, what hope does adverts have against that?  This, to be exact:

The world’s first Blu-ray camcorder. The Hitachi DZ-BD7HA proves that being the first at something does not necessarily warrant you pulling out your wallet to reward it. While Hitachi has surely overcome some technical hurdles to bring the DZ-BD7HA into existence, it’s riddled with so many problems that have been solvable for years that we wonder how gullible or fad-hungry it thought the public would be. Sixteen-hundred dollars for a camcorder that has virtually no manual controls, electronic rather than optical image stabilization, a poor auto response system, and, above all, terrible image quality – that’s a raw deal.

Thanks to engadget, that will be getting to a lot of people.

On the other hand, why bother with adverts if gadget-blogs loved your toy, and engadget linked to all that?  Take this Eee PC that I’ve been raving about lately.  I don’t think I’ve set eyes on a single solitary advert for this, yet already it is a smash hit.  To be sure, when it reaches the cash cow stage and they start putting pink kittens on it, there’ll be adverts.  But my point is: not like in the old days.  Most of the “advertising” will be unpaid for chit-chat from the techy experts, and from the likes of me, flagging up massive sales figures, complaints and improvements.

This is the part of the equation that is so often ignored when the relative merits of old-school and on-line journalism are being argued about.  The point is not that old-school journalism is less good than on-line journalism, (even though the worst old-school is crap compared to the best on-line).  Personally (and this blog is a perfect example of the fact) I freely acknowledge that most bloggers base their editorialising a lot of the time on old-school reportage.  And, insofar as on-line, citizen journos now often get to news first, it takes old-school journo skills to pull it all together, check it, analyse it, etc., even if the results of all that are not necessarily any longer to be found in old-school news publications.  The problem is that old-school advertising is no longer able to keep old-school journos in the manner to which they had been accustomed.  Old-school journos are now finding it hard to get nice jobs not because they do the jobs any worse than of old, but because the money to pay them isn’t there.  Oh, the google way with advertising still works, but it doesn’t generate the vast wall of money that old-school adverts once did.

To put it another way, the demand for old-school journalism, from advertisers needing something to attract people to their adverts, is declining.

Meanwhile, although new-school on-line journalism is still hard work if it is any good, and although only a few stars will ever be paid much to do it, the costs and rewards of doing it have gone down and up.  Do an unpaid review of an interesting product, or a news report of an interesting event, and your costs have plummeted (because researching stuff has got so much easier and because photography is now so much easier) and your non-monetary reward has rocketed (because you can just slam it up on your blog or whatever and be linked to by the heavies within hours – minutes if they already rate you).

On-line journalism will gather strength not only in a pitched battle with old-school journalism (think Rathergate), but by simply filling the vacuum left by the retreat of old-school journalism, which is happening for advertising reasons rather than journalism reasons.

But, caveat.  This is me editorialising, me being an amateur, not me being a hard-core would-be pro journo.  Maybe my facts are wrong, never mind the construction I have put on them.  In particular, will new-school on-line journalism eventually be revealed as simply old-school journalism with a new outlet, with all the same money as of old, maybe more (maybe a lot more), once the stuff-makers and their stuff-pluggers work out how to buy it.  Comments anyone?  And right there, we have another strength of on-line journalism, which is that it enables collaboration to work better, insights to be aggregated, connections to other relevant stories to be added, but not necessarily all by the same people.  That “conversation” that everyone talks about used only to be deranged by alcohol, and to be dependent only upon the facts available to the original participants, which might well be only participant singular.  Now it is infused with a steady stream of new facts and insights.  But, that’s a different posting.