The First Wave of the Technology Revolution has indeed caused one too many casualties.
First, there was the music industry that fell prey to industrious youngsters who figured out a means to get the music they wanted without having to pay a 400% margin. Thus, the industry responsible for the fundamental entertainment input took a significant income dip. Income loss between 2002 and 2015 represented $11.63B. And while the music industry is about to finally rebound, the fundamentals of its business model have changed forever — as has its supporting value chain.
Then came print media, whose decline has been as abrupt and evident as that of music.
Between 2005 and 2012, newspaper advertisement revenues dropped from $ 49.4 billion to $22.3 billion.
Circulation revenue, on the other hand, declined from $16 billion in 2003 to $11 billion in 2016, as people increasingly resorted to digital media for information and entertainment.
Newspapers now have to compete with myriad blogs, newsletters and digital only newspapers that cost a fraction of their printed ancestors while having more actual content.
Neither was the film industry spared the trauma. Digitalization and ever falling costs of recording, filming and editing equipment allowed entrepreneurial minds to bring to homes films even before their theatrical release, thereby wiping away income derived from intellectual property rights. Competition has also heightened as lower costs bring down protective studio walls
And now the technology barbarians are knocking at the TV and cable industries as baby boomers leave this world and Millennial eyeballs refuse to sit still for hours in front of a TV set. Indeed, these demographics — which are at the same time the most sought after and the most elusive for advertisers — spend most of their time with a PC rather than watching TV. And when they watch TV, they prefer to hang on to their subscription video on demand (SVOD). Thus, the cable industry is reeling as income continuously shrinks under the impact of melting subscribers. In 2015 the top 13 TV Providers lost 385,000 subscribers, according to the Leichtman Research Group. Cable TV companies lost 1.2 million people in 2014, reveals Leichtman.
The technology tsunami has prompted media to envelop every content in the sweet wraps of entertainment and scandal in their attempt to attract readers and eyeballs back.
This drives all media platforms to follow and print or broadcast everything that is unusual, extraordinary, different or crowd pleasing. And along came a Donald J. Trump, who had all these attributes.
He was the new kid in the block; the challenger; the antihero.
And so, he got the most coverage because he was the only political actor shattering the wall of boredom in a cookie cut political establishment that seemed ineffective to secure people’s interests. Every evening, day and afternoon, the 16 long Republican cast of characters was reduced to a minute-long TV panning while Mr Trump was given over 5 minutes.
And, as he got more coverage, he got to define the campaign agenda and the media coverage. He ended up creating in the public and the media and addiction that could only be satisfied with more content about Trump.
The media frenzy with Mr Trump served the purpose of projecting his message which reflected the ongoing divide between rural and urban America, white and tinted America, and poor and wealthy America.
And he succeeded because people in the land of the free were outraged with Washington’s lack of sensitivity to their plea arising from prolonged economic stagnation.
Thus, as candidate Trump proclaimed to the world that the system was rigged, he was indeed right! It was rigged in his favor. And he cleverly exploited this imbalance to clinch the presidency of the United States. That same rigged system has propelled Mr Trump to the presidency of the United States without winning the popular vote.
Fortunately for the United States, the president-elect knows how to best exploit inconsistencies in a system to make wealth for himself. He could use those talents to create wealth for the United Sates. Should he achieve such a feat, he would be proving to the American people that he can make the system work for his constituency that is after all, the disruptive constituency of change.