Richard Sambrook is the Director of BBC Global News and on his blog “SacredFacts” he is trying to suggest that there isn’t a power struggle going on between “old media” and “new media” but that

It’s about integration, not subsititution…

Richard, what is your rationale for saying it isn’t a power struggle? I can only think of three reasons why you would say that.

1. You don’t believe there is a desire, on behalf of audiences, to have more power over the media they consume.

2. You don’t believe any “power struggle” will succeed because “old media” is just too big, politically protected and cashed up for “the people” to take power away from it.

3. Or… You do believe people want it, you do believe they will try succeed to taking it… but because you work for the old guard you’re just hoping that if you keep your eyes closed, and say “Kansas, Kansas, Kansas” over and over again while clicking your heels, it will all just go away?

I think the RIAA tried that over the last ten years but maybe they didn’t have the right fairy dust?

Trust me when I tell you, Richard, that there is a power struggle going on. We, the people, want more control over our media than we currently have. That is a power struggle. We are going to take it (control) away from big media companies. Whether we take it partly away or entirely away remains to be seen. But ten years from now, you will have less power and we will have more. Unless you are willingly going to give it up, I’d say that meets every definition of a struggle.

Meanwhile, over on Mark Fletcher’s “Australian Newsagency Blog”, my radio sparring partner from earlier this week, James Farmer, is trotting out the tired old rationale that: is the number one News & Info publisher in Victoria – the in NSW. The vast majority of people come to a few sites to get their media fix, listen to a few radio stations, watch a few tv channels and read a few publications…

The problems with this line of thinking are multiple.

1. Australia newspaper circulation is in massive decline. See my earlier posts on this for the facts. Even if the owners of these papers have been able to begin to translate their old print readership into online traffic, it is well known that they don’t make nearly as much money online as they on from print. So their revenues are going to take a battering. As their revenues decline, they have to continue making cut-backs, as Australian print, TV and radio news networks have already experienced over the last decade. As they cut back their news staff, they rely more and more on Reuters and AAP feeds which are undifferentiated everyone else’s. As their unique content declines, do will readership and revenue.

2. What empirical data do you have, James, to suggest that “The vast majority of people come to a few sites to get their media”? Have you asked the majority? Did you poll them? Or are you just assuming that is what they want to do because that is what they have always done? That’s like saying people of 18th century Europe didn’t want democracy because they had always had Monarchs.

3. Even if you are right and people *do* want a few sites to get their media from, what Darwin-Given right does Fairfax or News Corp or Channel Nine have to be the sites they get their media from? Why won’t they want to get their media from Google? Or from TPN? Or from Gnoos?

We have not yet begun to fight.