Home > Media Industry > A book to get: “Darknet” by J.D. Lasica

A book to get: “Darknet” by J.D. Lasica

March 20th, 2006

I’ve got to thank Amazon for recommending this one to me…

I’m only about a third of the way through and I’ve already gotten ten times my money’s worth.

Ostensibly, the book is about how Big Media is trying to limit the evolution of the new Internet-centric media tools in order to protect its turf. (If you think that’s implausible, you missed the vicious legal battle Hollywood studios waged against electronics companies to try to stop them from bringing  the first VCRs so market.)

The author J.D. Lasica does a good job telling the story, but his book is much more than that.

It’s a superb documentation of how the new media tools are turning the entire media landscape upside down

We’re heading into completely unchartered territory and Lasica’s one of the best navigators I’ve come across so far.  Two thumbs way up.

Amazon has copies here: Darknet

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  1. RickHap
    March 20th, 2006 at 22:48 | #1

    Related reading from the WSJ (repost to this blog entry and article excerpt)
    Thursday March 16 Wall Street Journal:
    To Blunt the Web’s Impact, TV Tries Building Online Fences Stations Are Using Technology
    To Restrict Who Watches; Seeking Aid From Congress
    To understand how the TV industry is scrambling to respond to the Web’s disruption of its business model, take a look at Major League Baseball.
    MLB sells local and regional TV stations the right to show baseball games exclusively in their regions for about $250 million a year. It also broadcasts 2,400 games a season online, a business that last year brought in revenue of $265 million from 1.3 million subscribers. To protect TV stations’ ratings, MLB.com blocks subscribers from watching local games online in their home towns. For instance, Cubs fans who pay $79.95 for MLB.com All-Access can’t watch local games from an apartment in Chicago.
    Baseball is just one example of how the TV business depends upon a network of invisible fences and geographic limitations. Now the Web is obliterating them. As broadcasters start to fear the consequences, some are trying new technical and legal tricks to fight back. In some cases, they are even re-creating online the same kinds of geographic boundaries that supported their business before the digital age.
    [It is going to be interesting to see how the big dogs fight for landscape and eyescape in the internet video boom.]

  2. Ken McCarthy
    March 24th, 2006 at 10:42 | #2

    “It is going to be interesting to see how the big dogs fight…”
    With boatloads of lawyers.
    Some statistics from the book:
    1. 1995 – four-megapixel digital camera: $28,000
    2. 1997 – CD burner 2X: $468
    3. 1997 – 2.1 gig hard drive: $179
    1. Same capacity: $300
    2. 52X burner: $32
    3. 200-gig hard drive: $139

  3. Ken McCarthy
    March 24th, 2006 at 10:59 | #3

    From “Darknet”
    “The (music) industry will evolve from a mass market of to a mass number of niche markets.”
    – Peter Jennings (Artist Management)
    A simple insight that sums it all up pretty nicely, except that it doesn’t just applies to the music industry. It’ll eventually apply to every industry.

  4. Ken McCarthy
    March 25th, 2006 at 16:58 | #4

    Some people have asked about the focus of the book.
    Much of the book’s promotion makes it appear that it’s entirely about Big Media’s attempt to squash the Internet.
    That’s only a small part of the book.
    The reality for any technology is that there’s the technology and then these three elements:
    1. What people actually do with the technology spontaneously
    2. Economic and business constraints
    3. Legal and political constraints
    These three elements ALWAYS shape the way any given technology dvelops so if you want to predict the future, you’d need to be aware of them all.
    1. Billions was invested in “interactive television” technolgy in the late 80s and 90s. People didn’t use it, so that technology died.
    2. The first television was demonstrated in 1926. Yes, 1926. But then the Great Depression came and World War II, so its development was put on hold.
    3. Hollywood and the recording industry are always trying to meddle with new technologies. They tried to stop VCRs for example and block people from having the technology to burn their own CDs and DVDs.
    Anyway, the book is awesome. If you’re interested in this stuff, get it.

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