As we head into the New Year I think that now would be a good time to take a look back at what I consider to be the biggest MediaShifters of 2007.
These are the media, products, or events that best showcase the challenges and opportunities that occur when content shifts from one medium to another.
Part 1 is the bottom half of the list. I’ll put up my top five later this week.
Nintendo DS – While shaking the Wii remote may have been the hot new thing last year, it was reaching out to touch this small portable gaming system that’s really showing the pathway to the future of gaming. With one unit is sold every five seconds in the US alone, this little gadget has managed to become the most successful gaming platform in history, with an audience that runs the from toddlers to centenarians. With the success of Brain Age and other “training entertainment” for aging baby boomers it’s managed to open up new markets and change the equation of both how and what we play for almost every generation alive.
Rock Band – Even as the music industry keeps failing to prop up their tottering business model, great music keeps finding new ways to prove its value. Built on the success of musical rhythm action games that span the gamut from Dance Dance Revolution to the Guitar Hero series, Rock Band takes things to the next level by creating a social activity that not only entertains the players, but can gather an audience as well.
Kindle – Whether or not it turns out to be a success in the long run, the Kindle is at least attempting to bring long-form reading across the digital divide. It’s a big splashy product for a generally mild and cerebral medium, and it’s loaded with extraneous bells and whistles like EVDO and MP3 playing that may make book readers scratch their heads. But whether it wins or loses in the long run, the Kindle is worth watching.
Hulu – Last year the major networks decided to dump both iTunes and YouTube and go it on their own, leaving a trail of abandoned content and lawsuits behind them. It’s easy to dismiss their efforts as shortsighted and driven by greed, but if you’ve made your way into the beta you may be in for a pleasant surprise. The big boys can still line up a roster of top talent when they’re motivated, and with Hulu it’s clear that they’re looking to create a A-list experience. Not only does it have all the bells and whistles that the “folk media” (thanks Doug Rushkoff) sites do, but they’ve managed to integrate advertising and viewing features in a way that actually seems forward thinking. The story is only beginning for this kind of online corporate content, but Hulu is definitely an interesting chapter.
Heroes – Like a shooting star, this television series fell from the heights and crashed down in a fireball of burning ratings in the space of only a few months, Confusing storylines, poor plotting, and missed dramatic opportunities turned the saga of heroes into both an example and a cautionary tale of how a media shift can make and break your content at the same time. It also drove home the point that, even if your property can leap over multiple media (television, comics, internet, cell phones, downloads, etc.) in a single bound, the must be hero content that your fans can rally around, and it must be good.
Did I miss something, or get something wrong? Make a comment and let me know!