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The Next Internet Is TV - The Awl

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Here is a question worth asking of any large media company, as well as an answer:

Disney has given Fusion a lot of money to launch. What does the company see as a successful return on that investment? Traffic goals? TV audience? Influence?

I think it’s all of the above. Part of our overall mission is to be a lab for experimentation and innovation for our parent company. Univision and ABC want Fusion’s help in figuring out how to reach this incredibly dynamic, diverse, and digitally connected audience, so we’ll be investing heavily in audience development and technology and transferring knowledge to the parent company about what we learn.

Everything is converging:

Fusion is fun to think about because it exists very slightly outside the weird new Zones of Content. It isn’t an established print publication trying to revamp itself under the same name for the fifth time in fifteen years, nor is it a VC-funded company that people started paying attention to a few years ago and that’s speeding toward some sort of liquidity event. What does it want? To build “a new kind of newsroom to greet the changing demographics of America” that is also “a little bit outside of the media bubble.” When does it want it? As soon as possible, but, whatever.

Another thing that Fusion does not have to do is decide what kind of company it is, because it is a literal extension of much larger ones that already know. For Fusion to talk about “promiscuous media” and “build[ing] our brand in the places [the audience] is spending time”—as opposed to publishing everything on a single website and hoping it spreads from there—is not strange in the context of television companies. They’re used to filling channels that they don’t totally control.

Meanwhile, some of the most visible companies in internet media are converging on a nearby point. Vox is now publishing directly to social networks and apps; BuzzFeed has a growing team of people dedicated to figuring out what BuzzFeed might look like without a website at the middle. Vice, already distributing a large portion of its video on Google’s YouTube, has a channel in Snapchat’s app, along with CNN, Comedy Central, ESPN, Cosmo and the Daily Mail.

What was even the point of websites, certain people will find themselves wondering. Were they just weird slow apps with nobody in them?? Why? 

A bunch of publications will go out of business and a bunch of others will survive the transition and a few will become app content GIANTS with news teams filing to Facebook and their very own Vine stars and thriving Snapchat channels and a Viber bureau and embedded Yakkers and hundreds of people uploading videos in every direction and brands and brands and brands and brands and brands, the end. Welcome to 201…..7?

This is a huge financial opportunity, obviously! Media companies will realize the potential in the platforms’ audiences; the platforms will see a way, in media companies, to extract more money and time from the people they have already gathered in one place. (“I can’t tell you what the numbers are, but they’re fucking incredible,” says an anonymous source, already, of Snapchat’s Discovery channels.)

Meanwhile, the amount of time you spend on these channels will increase not quite as quickly as the supply of things to look at on them, and everything will be fine. Everything is always fine, when it comes to things like this, because capitalism knows better than to ever look back. (There will also be quite a few jobs, at least, which is great!)

The gaps left by the websites we stop looking at will be filled with new things, and most people won’t really notice the change until it’s nearly done, because they will have been incredibly not bored. Maybe the web thrives in a new and unexpected way as it is again relegated to marginal status? Maybe it just chugs along because nothing seems to fully die on the internet anymore. Sure, why not? Teens, whose idiot mystique will have played no small part in setting this whole thing in motion, will meanwhile begin plotting their escape.

Wasn’t the internet supposed to be BETTER, somehow, in all its broken decentralized chaos and glory? 

The TV industry, which is mediated at every possible point, is a brutal interface for culture and commerce.

Within a week of launch, we’re already reading stories like this about “creative differences” with the network Snapchat:

When Snapchat last month debuted its Discover feature — a new section within the app that shows articles and videos from a range of media companies — one rumored launch partner was noticeably absent: BuzzFeed.

[T]he two companies were at loggerheads creatively, people at the meeting said. At issue was the fact that Snapchat’s editorial team would be involved in BuzzFeed’s content, creating friction. The two companies had “creative differences,” Mr. Peretti said at the meeting, a person with the matter said.

If in five years I’m just watching NFL-endorsed ESPN clips through a syndication deal with a messaging app, and Vice is just an age-skewed Viacom with better audience data, and I’m looking up the same trivia on Genius instead of Wikipedia, and “publications” are just content agencies that solve temporary optimization issues for much larger platforms, what will have been point of the last twenty years of creating things for the web?

These are just some of the many questions that feel impertinent as your body accelerates at the rate of gravity.

did you like the article, Adam?

Yes. John Hermann didn't really have a point but I liked watching him go around in circles. 

human entertainment is often circular 

Content is king. Good content is good no matter where you consume it. 

Facebook going into content doesn't change anything.

This guy extols Buzzfeed and New Yorker for being good and getting better. 

Buzzfeed now at 200 million monthly uniques and perfectly happy to cut a deal with Facebook:

Web cards are the future of the Web.

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