All the current media trends make it obvious that the audiences consuming any one piece of content is getting smaller as
the increments of media consumption are getting smaller. So advertisers and marketing types can get a better targeted (when its measurable which generally the new outlets are) but much smaller audience.
To pull in those audiences the content creators need to spend less on the content (fewer overall viewers) and make much more niche specific content for these outlets. Charging those highly interested audiences may also help defray costs somewhat. Many have talked about this as the demise of the blockbuster era. All the references to the long tail are the other side of that coin.
The tools for creating media have also gone way down so it should lower the cost of media creation somewhat. But were the tools the real price? It does not seem that for most forms of traditional media to be the case. The cost has generally been about the talent and the distribution. Harnessing user generated content seems to be at least some of the “fallback” position for the talent part of the equation but obviously this has a lower overall quality than a group of professionals all working together. Or perhaps I mistake polish for talent. Was there a monstorous pool of untapped talent? Perhaps, but even if there was the ability to group all the best together at the highest level appears to be eroded. So without the premium tier does the compensation for the stars go down along with the number of blockbusters? The talent is flattened but is it lowered overall or raised overall?
Distribution cost is clearly is going down rapidly but again like creation that does not appear to be the real “cost” it just represented a barrier or choke point rather than a real cost to media creation. It feels like the removal of this barrier really does open up the amount of content like floodgates and it is this effect which started the atomization of attentiont in the first place.
So it seems the top tier of media will come down a few pegs. (I would like to say the current raft of reality shows are a symtpom of all this but that is probably just my dislike of most of it speaking.) The analysis could take a step further and look at different types of media as clearly TV, magazines, books, music all have different dimensions. Music has been the hardest hit so far but its only a matter of time unless the dynamics between these media types are much more different than they appear. There are obvious reasons music has been hit first but that is a matter for another day.