DOES THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE INTEGRATED MUSICAL GIVE CLUES TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEWS/ENTERTAINMENT IN EMERGING MEDIA?
DEVELOPMENT OF THE INTEGRATED MUSICAL
EMERGING MEDIA Versus TRADITIONAL MEDIA
FIRST WAVE – EARLY CINEMA >>>VAUDEVILLE – Early 1900s
At first, cinema is a mild threat to vaudeville but the limited quality and duration of the emerging technology is first viewed simply as a novelty. In the early stages, cinema is swallowed by and enhances the framework of vaudeville, serving as one feature within a variety show. Vaudeville can also promote its content to a wider audience through earlier versions of cinema. Eventually however the technology supports longer films, easier editing and special effects, enabling powerful story-telling. Now it is a major threat to vaudeville which can no longer hold it within its framework. Vaudeville must evolve into an experience that is more engaging with better talent, staging, and more integrated story-telling. The result is Zeigfeld Follies and other showcase revues, featuring a magic ratio of music, dance and comedy.
SECOND WAVE - SOUND TECHNOLOGIES(RADIO/RECORDED MUSIC)
>>>VAUDEVILLE/MUSICAL - 1920s
Radio at first is a novelty as well and recording devices are primitive and expensive. The musicians writing and playing for vaudeville like Gershwin and Kern serve a subservient role within the vaudeville framework, merely supporting the stars of the medium that sing and dance to their melodies. Vaudeville modestly gains at first from radio and records by featuring its stars within the new mediums. But once sound technologies in the form of radio and phonographs enable mass consumption, music in its own right becomes an elevated art form and composers and lyricists rise from their subservient roles to become icons. The masses no longer need vaudeville to access top stars and music as this is now available in the home. The elevated roll of the composer/lyricist team combined with the necessity that live entertainment evolve in order to retain and gain audiences leads to the first wave of truly integrated musicals. “Showboat” with music by Kern and produced by Zeigfeld, debuts in 1927. “Of Thee I sing” with music by Gershwin, wins the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1931.
THIRD WAVE – SOUND CINEMA>>>VAUDEVILLE/MUSICAL - 1930s – 1940s
When cinema incorporates sound in the late 20s and early 1930s, the content of musical comedy as well as its talent are not only swallowed by the new medium but are literally transported to California. Sound cinema eventually integrates all components that influence our senses both physically and intellectually; cinematography, music, dialogue, story, special effects. Needing to further evolve to retain and gain audiences, Broadway-based musical comedy now integrates the attributes of sound cinema. The mature, integrated musical emerges in the 1940s with “Oklahoma,” “Carousel” and “My Fair Lady.”
Summary - Development is fostered by:
1) The need for the emerging medium to utilize the content of the traditional medium as its developmental nutrition. This helps the traditional medium modestly promote itself and expand as well, creating a symbiosis between the two mediums in the early stages.
2) Competition posed by new mediums which forces the traditional medium to create a more powerful ratio of the senses.
3) They way in which the traditional medium can eventually integrate components of these emerging media into its framework and assist in creating this new ratio of the senses. In this example, the integrated musical that emerges is a more powerful medium than its predecessors, but is a niche offering targeted at smaller audiences at higher prices.
DEVELOPMENT OF NEWS/ENTERTAINMENT ENTERPRISES ON THE INTERNET
FIRST WAVE – INTERNET STARTUPS>>>TRADITIONAL NEWS MEDIUMS – 1990s
The commercial internet emerges in the 1990s as a novelty, a new platform to read news, exchange messages and view photos, but the technology is slow and requires enormous computing power. At first, traditional publications gain modestly with new audiences by offering their content on line for free. When the first dot.com boom emerges, traditional media gain as the internet startups pay liberally to promote their products. Traditional media interpret the emerging medium as a platform that they can control in their overall framework, proclaiming that “Content is King” and such content will be the driver across integrated platforms (portal model). The late nineties is a period of hype and profits for traditional media benefiting from the promotion of the internet and simultaneously creating huge mergers attempting to integrate content across platforms (AOL/Time Warner, Viacom/CBS).
SECOND WAVE – FIRST INTERNET GIANTS>>> TRADITIONAL NEWS MEDIUMS – 2000-2010
In the new millennium, the internet bubble bursts but the first viable enterprises of the new medium emerge and they are based upon powerful new functionality rather than content – search engines, shopping crawlers, auction sites, smart phones. As speed of computing accelerates, all forms of media are swallowed; text, photos, video, and combinations of all, creating a more powerful ratio of the senses for online consumers. Traditional media companies however cannot work the internet into their framework. Rather, the internet and mobile technologies work traditional media into their framework. Newspapers and magazines are disassembled on the web and are consumed more on the unit level rather than the as a cohesive product (the ITunes model). The disassembly of the product commoditizes news and entertainment offerings. The playing field is blurred across long-standing publications, emerging publishers via blogs, and news sites created using inexpensive freelance contributions. Advertising migrates to the web because of new medium-specific methods that are less expensive and more measurable (Key word advertising and ad networks).
Like the composer elevated from its subservient role in vaudeville, the programmer/technician/engineer is elevated from the subservient role in news and entertainment organizations. The content of publications is influenced by the enabling technology and the engineer’s role is nearly as powerful in the creative process as the journalist.
THIRD WAVE – TODAY
Applications/Tablets offer a new medium for publishers that may yield opportunities for quality publishing and programming. Pay models are being introduced by traditional media companies. We have experienced some backlash on the quality of web content. Is the playing field gaining more sophistication where we are better able to distinguish between premium offerings and those of upstart publications and hobbyists? Even advertising has experienced some backlash against the ubiquity and lack of quality inherent in ad networks and key word search advertising – can image advertising make a comeback on the web? We are already seeing talent from the emerging mediums move on to create new enterprises (Google recently lost several of its initial pioneers). To create another era of symbiosis, the following could happen:
1) A resurgence of the need for the emerging mediums to utilize the content of the established mediums as further developmental nutrition. While user-generated content has driven the web in the last decade, are we poised for an era of growing professionalism where human input and technologies can bring greater talent to the top of the web ecosystem?
2) Growing competition posed by new mediums at accelerating speed continues to drive traditional mediums to create a more powerful ratio of the senses utilizing all media forms. This could be incentivized by the need of emerging mediums for quality developmental nutrition as noted above.
3) Traditional mediums, including the new generation of user-generated platforms, more effectively integrate components of these emerging media into their framework to assist in creating these new sense ratios. Will those leaving the major players in the second wave lead the way in this development?
FACTORS IN ALTERING SENSE RATIOS
NEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT