A slow steady reallocation of power has been taking place in the media business, and it is one that is going to ultimately alter the way news is consumed by a ravenous public.
Hollywood has already felt the winds of change blowing from the Northern part of the Golden State. Tech companies such as Netflix and Amazon have been bidding up content and winning prestigious awards. And in an additional media twist, paid Internet entertainment sites have been encroaching on territory previously held by broadcast and cable TV.
Netflix currently spends about $6 billion annually on original content, and it is paying off big time. In 2016 the Internet giant streamed three of the top four most viewed television shows. Currently poised to provide innovative platforms that will reach broad new audiences are up and coming rivals Apple, Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
Next in line for a technology takeover is none other than the news business itself. Tech moguls are finding news related entities to be very attractive acquisition targets in that they can add status and provide content crossover opportunities.
In 2012 Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes purchased a controlling interest in the New Republic. Then in 2013 the most significant incursion from the tech world occurred when Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, presently the richest individual on the planet, bought The Washington Post for a cool $250 million.
The most recent media move emanating from Silicon Valley came in the form of a purchase of a controlling interest in The Atlantic by Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Like the aforementioned publications, among others, Powell Jobs’s pick is an award-winning outlet with considerable influence.
The Emerson Collective, which is an organization headed up by Powell Jobs, has the following as its priorities, " . . . education, immigration reform, the environment, and other social justice initiatives."
The Atlantic must have been particularly appealing to Powell Jobs, since Ralph Waldo Emerson, a co-founder of The Atlantic, inspired the name and mission of her organization.
Powell Jobs herself praised The Atlantic for publishing content that, in her words, attempted to "bring about equality for all people; to illuminate and defend the American idea; to celebrate American culture and literature; and to cover our marvelous, and sometimes messy, democratic experiment."
Founded in 1857, the magazine was initially based in Boston but in 2006 moved its headquarters to Washington, D.C. The publication currently has a reputation for having a politically moderate viewpoint in its reporting.
Standing on the precipice of entering the news business looms the social media monster, Facebook.
Facebook has 2 billion users and a very large stash of cash. This year the social media giant will launch a line-up of original content.
Former CNN and NBC broadcast anchor Campbell Brown is now the head of news partnerships at Facebook and is currently working with news sites to facilitate the ability to publish articles directly to Facebook.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seems to be consumed with so-called fake news appearing on his site. Amid possible night sweats and hand wringing, Zuckerberg has been posting statements expressing chagrin and concern over the fact that non-journalists are able to post on Facebook with the potential to "go viral," due in great part to the sharing technology that Facebook offers.
It makes sense that Zuckerberg would want to emulate Bezos and make Facebook a significant part of the news business. With over 40 percent of Americans already obtaining news content from their Facebook feed, the creation of news content generated by a Facebook news organization is a natural next step.
Zuckerberg has the financial clout and organization to set up its own Facebook news network or go out as other tech titans have done and purchase a prestigious news outlet. He may even seek out a web-based news organization, such as Newsmax or Politico, or even make a play for The New York Times.
It's a sure sign that The Times, they are a changin' If Zuckerberg gets a hold of the Gray Lady.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.
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