Media Market Conundrum

The free market is supposed to resolve problems of supply and demand but at the local news level this isn’t the case. I have umpteen sources for news about national and international events, but the closer to home the scarcer become the sources.

This struck me last night when I got a call from a school teacher in my city asking me to vote for a property tax increase that will be on the local ballot next month. It was the first time I had heard of it. My wife, who is a member of our neighborhood association, had heard of the tax, so perhaps I’m merely inattentive.

But I think there is an imbalance in the information market that provides an excess of information as regards events over which I have little or no control (i.e. the state of the world) and a scarcity of news in the realm where I could have the greatest personal efficacy (my neighborhood and city).

Ad Warz: If news follows money then a new study the the market research firm Outsell suggests that big online destinations continue to suck the life out of the information marketplace. A synopsis of the study by the Center for Media Research notes that:
— Search engine ad spending grows 26% in 2006.
— Print spending grows 3.3%, TV/Radio 2.4%, both losing share.
— Online is now used by 80% of advertisers, a massive adoption rate not broadly acknowledged
— But trade magazines, events, and direct mail are the top 3 tactics for branding and lead generation.

New Media Moguls:
MediaPost reports that:

“Based on revenue, Google became the fifth-largest information industry company last year–up from number 18 in 2004, but still trailing behind industry leaders Reed Elsevier, Thomson Corporation, Time Warner, and Gannett. Yahoo climbed to the eighth spot, from number 18 the year before.”

Vive la P2P! And just for fun, Paid Content reports that the French parliament is debating a measure that would legalize music downloads and compensate artists through some sort of monthly charge collected by ISPs. Now there’s a bit of international news with relevance to my teenagers!

Tom Abate
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media