Raul Marroquin on Sun, 14 Feb 1999 18:47:25 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> 0n-line streaming media

"De Hoeksteen Communications"
URL: <http://www.Desk.nl/~hksteen/>
>From the Director's desk (PERSONAL)
Direct phone/fax line +31206167666.
e-mail: hksteen@desk.nl (Raul Marroquin)

                             A MESSAGE FROM "DAS BOOT"
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                                   DAS BOOT


It Is Not The Changes That Might Take Place, But The Changes That Are
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Already Occurring And How To Make The Most Out Of It
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By Raul Marroquin and Daniela Salvemini
Amsterdam February 1999.

More than talking about changes that can be expected in the media
landscape because of the developments and the influence of on-line
streaming media, it is more consequent and important to consider (and act
up on) the influence that these facilities already have in this particular
area and the way in which information and communications as a whole have
changed and will continue to change because on-line streaming media. 

Like with many other areas where digital communication technology is
involved, at first it is impossible to detect changes because situations
are generally reviewed from the stand point of the sharply defined changes
characteristic in "industrialist communications" and not as an organic
transformation that is hardly noticeable but that is there changing rules
and protocols permanently. In practical terms, on-line streaming data
supplies more in depth information that can be permanently refreshed and a
lot faster than with any other communication tool ever before; these are
big assets for publishers and broadcasters alike and because of this
on-line streaming data is pushing communications to change and to change
fast because they also are developing a new different language that is
becoming part of the standard vocabulary used to communicate in the world
of converging media. It is, to a great deal, because of digital
communications technology (and on-line streaming media) that it is hardly
possible today to talk about "traditional broadcasting" any longer, this
is simply because at present there are many sorts of "traditional
broadcasting": National Broadcasting in the shape of "American Network
(national) television:" ABC, CBS, NBC; Public and Private Commercial
National Stations all over Europe and the rest of the world; Regional and
Local Stations that have become part of main stream, traditional
broadcasting and the Transnational Stations that telecast for the entire
world: CNN (Cable News Network) Sky Channel, BBC World, National
Geographic, Discovery, etc. As far as television is concerned, it is
important to remember that the image on the screen has radically changed
since the introduction of digital, automated, on-line data displays:
Weather, Financial Information, Breaking News, etc. are other permanent
sources that form part of the image on the screen. Live, full motion,
television is only one of the many sources that form part of the package
received by the viewer at home. An other common denominator in terms of
digital on-line media is that broadcasting companies, as well as news
papers and magazines can no longer exist without e-mail and web pages;
these features have since long passed the point of been "audio visual
aids" for public relations and marketing proposes and have become an
integral part of the operation. Readers listeners and viewers alike visit
and consult more and more such sites for cross references, background
information, etc. The webcasting of real audio and real video is an
integral part of radio and television programming and while networks
"publish" information on the net, newspapers and magazines generate radio
and television through the webcasting of real audio and real video. There
is a merge between these two particular disciplines and Time Wagner is
probably one of the best examples that can be used to illustrate the
situation. It is not important whether real video is full motion or not
because, in the first place, that is only a temporal, it won't be long
before real video becomes full motion but what is more interesting is the
challenge that real video presents to "communicators" by not been full
motion; What some consider a limitation can be turned into an advantage, a
distinctive trade mark af the medium. 

Globalization is probably one of the most radical elements incorporated by
on-line streaming media in publishing and broadcasting; it places those in
charge in front a "no limit option" in geographical terms as well as in
terms of time and space, because in the net there are not such limitations
characteristic of conventional media. On-line streaming media, globalizes
both publishing and programming everybody can be global and everybody has
no choice but to be global and this is one of the main challenges:
redefining goals and priorities according to the available options, and
the consequences of such decisions might have in terms of local, regional
and even national scenarios. 

E-mail has also a great influence in newspapers and magazine publishing as
well as in radio and television programming. This simple facility has
forced the information establishment to become interactive. Publishers,
editors and producers alike receive more and more comments from readers,
viewers, listeners and users; their views have to be taken into account
and they have more and more influence in editorial policies. The
communications establishment understands the implications of such
developments and now days they have no choice but to encourage citizen,
editorial participation, not only in the ways in which information is
disseminated, but also what the information is about. As far live radio
and t.v. are concerned e-mail, IRC and moderated news groups have become
an integral part of every day programming. 

Information and communications have obviously been radically changed by
digital technology, so it is not a question about the way in which "main
stream communications" will be changing because of the influence of
streaming media, it is more a question of how to deal and profit from
these changes. 

Instead of considering the ways what citizens can do to influence the
information and communications industries it is more important to think
about what communications can do for them. Instead of wasting time and
energy trying to find ways in which readers, listeners viewers and users
can use to penetrate networks and publishing empires, it is more logical
to concentrate in what citizens can achieve by themselves with on-line
distribution of information. Broadcasters, publishers and ordinary
citizens operate with the same basic tools office equipment and electric
appliances: a computer, a scanner, a camera, a microphone and a telephone
line, so it is no longer necessary for citizens to aim for editorial power
within industrialist communications, the same results, or even better than
those achieved by the conventional media, can be achieved by ordinary
citizens with a a simple web page, e-mail and moderated news groups and
this is what many describe as the emancipatory role of Citizen
Communications. Direct involvement and users participation in on-line
streaming media opens the doors to the user direct participation in the
development of the hardware and the technology that is required to
continue in the future. By not accepting these changes that are already
taking place and instead thinking of what to do about what might occur in
the media landscape because of steaming on-line media "one might miss the
bus" that is already taking us into the new information era. 

It is up to the user, the citizen, to decide the way in which information
and communications will go in the years to come. 


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