Throughout the history of the industrial age, certain types of ideas, or products, or inventions have reshaped the way people thought about the world.
Starting with electricity, to the assembly line, to (later) personal computers, the internet, cell phones, and even today, every time a groundbreaking new technology appears on in the horizon, it has the potential of shaking up industries.
One of the main reasons this innovation is successful is because it is immediately relevant to the people who use it. The invention is thus usually made at the Edge of the industry, where consumer needs are solved by consumer-solutions themselves.
It is fairly methodical — any company that focuses on edge-centric product innovation will have a high chance that their product will be adopted by customers at large.
While this is a very lengthy topic, I will just point to one such innovation occuring today. Specifically, blogs and podcasts.
A nice “layman” summary of the impact Blogs and Podcasts and Youtube is having on traditional means of media is found in this article
In a nutshell, the media industry survives on Attention. Blogs and Podcasts offer an on-demand, user-created source of news, media and information and thus is significantly cutting into the time spent by people into traditional media sources.
Because of rapidly declining revenues, newspapers and TV / Movie publishers have had to scramble to switch their distribution strategies to an all-online distribution model — witness the growth of iTunes Movie Store, Universal’s support of YouTube, Blockbuster introducing online rentals etc.
All in all, most traditional media companies are faced with an immediate need of adopting one or more of the following in their operations
- User-gernerated content
- User-added value on published content (i.e. comments)
- On-demand media sourcing (i.e. RSS to Movies-on-demand)
- User-scheduled programming and content distribution
- Content (e.g. news) covering micro-communities
- “Anywhere” access to content
- User-controlled content filtering and management
- Separation of media source and presentation ; Media aggregation from multiple sources.
In Pakistan, blogs and podcasts are still a ways away from becoming a significant source of information. This cannot happen without a critical mass of internet users, and with a more invovled approach to using the medium to communicate within communities. (I.e. If anyone wants to be a Contributing Author of Green & White, please contact me — I’ll only be happy with more contributors)
However, that still does not mean that the Edge does not exist among Pakistani consumers. Interactive on-demand TV could be very well received in Pakistan — so could media aggregation.
Most certainly, community-driven news services is the need of the day here — whatever happened to Local News coverage?
Geo seems to be willing to take steps in the right direction, with podcasts of news footage and RSS feeds on its website.
PTCL also seems to have something in the pipeline with its flagship IPTV Project we keep hearing about.
Lets see what can become a disruptive innovation that is relevant to Pakistanis amongst this.