Monday, June 20, 2005

Welcome to Media Entrepreneurship!

Welcome! And thank you for visiting my blog. This space is dedicated to media entrepreneurship and how to promote MORE of it as a means of keeping our media industry sector healthy, innovative, competitive and -- most importantly -- in the business of serving democracy and promoting civic participation. I'm going to post ideas, research and stories about media entrepreneurship and I welcome your responses. Let's get a conversation going...

About a year ago, I started to think about how research in media economics could provide a new frame for thinking about the media and its role in democracy. That's when I hit on entrepreneurship. I don't know why it took so long since I was myself an entrepreneur in the cable industry. Moreover, I launched a media entrepreneurship course in my college to help budding journalists, filmmakers, and telecom/IT students create their own small businesses (see Comm 493: Media Entrepreneurship).

Anyway, research has shown a theoretical and empirical link between the degree of entrepreneurship in an industry and how much innovation that industry and its customers enjoy. If that link holds for the media sector then more entrepreneurship would mean more innovation -- more media choices, better access and communication technologies, better quality.

There's a lot of concern over the apparent bigness of a few media corporations and an attendant decline in competition. I question the need for such concern...or at least, I question why the concern focuses on 8 or 10 firms, representing less than 1% of all media businesses, and completely ignores the burgeoning non-commercial, Internet-based media world. In 2003, there were over 110,000 media and communications companies operating in the U.S. and literally thousands of new entrants in publishing, broadcasting, film/video, recorded music, advertising/PR, videogaming and telecommunications -- and this doesn't even begin to count the legions of bloggers, podcasters and other "peercasters" as Ben Compaine calls them. Yes, 99% of them are quite small organizations, and yes, individually each has little impact on the media landscape and OK, many of them go out of business. But what I'm describing is a heretofore unexplored view of the media industry and possibly THE source of new ideas and innovations in media and communications. I invite you to read a paper recently presented on this topic Media Entrepreneurship: Definition, Theory and Context

Thanks again for tuning in. Come back again! --Anne Hoag