The New Laws of Television

by Andy Polaine on May 23, 2005

The second part to Mark Pesce’s Piracy is Good? is now up on Mindjack. Bianca wrote a comment to my previous post that I thought I would pull out here because it raises some interesting points though, I think, a misreading of what Mark is saying:

Have you read the second part to this article in which Mark Pesce declares that successful programs must be even more generic, melodramatic and mindless? Probably true on some levels, but he neglects to consider that this form of distribution also allows non-mainstream and obscure content to increase its popularity simply by becoming cheaper and more accessible. He hasn’t considered that word-of-mouth enables content currently deemed too risqué to find its audience. Content and form will diversify, not turn into an archetypal homogeny that conforms to all of his proposed rules. Hyperdistribution furthers the unified global culture (in English speaking countries at least), but it also provides the vehicle for the preservation and flowering of cultural diversity.

I’m not really sure he does say they need to be more generic and mindless, though he does suggest melodrama is a useful short form narrative model. Working out a more globally palatable form of content doesn’t mean it becomes generic or mindless – one of the reasons I believe animation has become so popular is because it crosses cultural boundaries far more easily.

He also argues that content finds its audience through word-of-mouth, which would seem to support your point that hyperdistribution will allow more cheaply made, non-mainstream content to get into the world.

In fact, once people become more used to the idea of downloading content rather than receiving it via broadcast I imagine people will go searching for it (and the associated fan sites) as they do with other content on the Internet at the moment. I agree, the flowering of cultural diversity has never looked more promising, the only problem is making sure everyone is connected.

The other issue will be sorting the wheat from the chaff, a current dilemma of the Internet. But RSS, blogs and search engines (as Mark points out) are already helping out on that part.

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