I get emails and facebook messages nearly every day from filmmakers and screenwriters who claim that new media is unworthy of their time and attention.
I strongly disagree.
New media, and it’s cousins, social and interactive media are here to stay. It is very relevant for filmmakers to understand the new media world and how it will impact onto their own projects.
Like any phobia, fear is often the result of misunderstanding and ignorance of facts. Let me try and put that straight with a short histoy of new media:
A Short History of New Media
1969: The First Internet
In the height of the Cold War, the internet is born to link university research programmes, The US Department of Defense funded the Advanced Research Project Agency which developed a protocol ARPENet which has become the basis of out internet. Speculation is also rife that the real reson for this new communication system ws to allow for an alternative communications in the event of a nuclear war.
1971: The First Email
Ray Tomlinson, born in 1941 discovers that it is possible to send message by adding the icon “@” to the computer’s hostname and the recipients user name. This earns Tomlinson the credit of inventing email.
1983: The First Cell Phone
Motorola releases the first commercial cell phone with a £3,000 price tag and a one hour talk time.
Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientest, delivers a Information Manangement white paper. Many think this was the birth of the World Wide Web as we know it today. Berners-Lee also developed the cocept of a browser capable of navigating all the websites on the net.
1989: The First MP3
Karlheinz Brandenburg and a research team in Germany publishes his doctoralthesis: Digital Music Compression resulting in the birth of the MP3
1988/90 The First DSL
New high speed cables operate ten times faster than dialup modems. This allows users to listen to msuic and watch movies online, creating the nightmare scenario of digital piracy.
1990: the First Mobile Phone Web Browser
Mobile phone users are able to log onto the internet using GSM. Connection speed is very slow.
1993: The Great Firewall of China
The Chinese government launches a firewall to block anti-regime content.
1993: The First CD Burner
Several manufacturere introduce CD burners meaning that piracy gets easier.
David Filo and Jerry Yang work on a catgorization of the exploding number of websites. This directory became Yahoo.
1994: The First Banner Ads Sold
HotWired starts selling banner ads. Their first customers are AT&T and Zima. The firt banners achieve an astounding 30% click rate (the percentage of viewers who click on a banner vs the number of viewers). 2010 rates are closer to 1%.
1995: The First Raindance Film Festival Website
A simple 4 page website is launched making Raindance one of the first commercial websites in the UK.
1997: The First Commercially Available Blank CD’s
Consumer are able to buy blank CDs for the first time.
1998: The First File Sharing Site
College student Shaun Fanning launches Napster. The music industry is now faced with a real crises.
1998: The First Google
A test version of Google.com goes on-line. It is one of the first search engines that combs the net. At the end of the year, Google has registered 25 million websites and accounts for 80% of web searches.
Retailers sell portable MP3 players for the first time.
2000: Google Starts Selling Ads
Google invents keyword advertising, which now account for over 90% of Google’s profits.
2000: The First Dot Com Bust
Internet hype reaches a zenith and bursts, with millions lost by speculators and investors.
2001: The First Wikipedia
Wikipedia is born and now has over 10m articles in over 200 languages.
2001: Apple Launches iTunes
iTunes is launched and shows the music industry how it can profit from downloads.
2001: Blank CD’s Hit Number One
Blank CDs sell 182m, recorded CDs 172m
2001: The first iPod
Jon Rubenstein designs the first iPod which is launched on October 23rd
2003: The first Myspace
Tom Anderson lauches a social networking site that will redefine communications and culture.
2003: The First Voice-over-IP softwarre
Skype launches free telephne calls over the internet.
Harvard student Tom Zuckerberg develops the social online network ‘Facebook’ for fellow students.
2005: The First Youtube
On February 14, 2005, the co-founders of Youtube.com, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim registere the url.
2005: Murdock Buys MySpace
Price tag for MySpace is $580m
2005: The First Movies Sold on iTunes
Movie finctionality is added to the popular iTunes store.
2005: The first Day/Date Screenings
Raindance Film Festival and sponsors Tiscali launch the first day date screenings of movies playing in cinemas and the internet at the same time.
2006: Online Travel Agents
Travel and tourism shift their core businesses to the internet.
2006: Google buys Youtube
The reported pricetag is $1.5m
Previously only available in the USA, Facebook accepts students in foreign universities.
2006: Internet and Porn
The porn industry, like the music industry, is reeling from the abundance of free titty movies on sites like Youporn.com. It is estimated that revenues could drop by 50%
2006: The First Tweet
Twitter.com launches. The short 140 character message length means that information can generally be found quicker than in conventional media.
2007:The First Google Book
Google starts scanning books and it’s library soon exceeds 1m titles.
2007: The First iPhone
iPhones and web enabled iPods account for a staggering 60% increase in web traffic
2007: The first Pay What You want Music Album
Radiohead releases In Rainbows themselves and without a traditional music distributor.
2007: Raindance launches Raindance.tv
By 2010, over a million views a month on the distribution partner platforms on Raindance.tv.
2008: The First Internet Political campaign
Barack Obama uses social media to raise more than $150m.
2010: The Pope On Twitter
The Pope has had a Twitter account since 2008, but on January 26, 2010, the Pope encourages the priesthood to use social media to spread the Word.
2011 Wikileaks Unleashes Official Fury
Julia Assange has lessons for filmmakers in what became one of the most publicised litigation suits in the world.
These changes are not evolutionary. They are revolutionary. To survive as a filmmaker in today’s environment you need to develop a strategy.
Did I miss anything? Please add them into the comments box below.