The Evolution of Media: How New Technologies Set the Course for Media Production & Consumption Bill Hager
I wrote this essay in response to my trip to 2012 NAB/BEA conference in Las Vegas
In his book On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin laid out his theory of evolution in which traits best suited for survival would be passed along resulting in the slow change and progress of species (1859). The progression of modern day technology has often been described as having features of Darwin’s theory. Certain technologies are favored by the market and thus live on while others may not be so lucky. You can see this in every kind of technology for example the hardware, software, file types, and equipment. This evolution is particularly noticeable and seemingly unpredictable in both the production side and the consumption side of media. The media elements that are most involved in this evolution are professional, prosumer, and indie on the production side and the public and how they attain their media on the consumption side. New technologies have evolved allowing new forms of media to be created and brought out to audiences in new ways. Cameras are getting smaller and cheaper while simultaneously getting better quality. The constant evolution of computers is allowing for public consumers to buy machines capable of powerful activities such as editing video. Meanwhile in the professional realm of production more and more companies are turning towards digital formats, leaving the clunky, older film format behind. To bring all of this new content to an audience is perhaps the fastest evolving most powerful technological tool created: the Internet. We can gain a better understanding of this process by looking at the evolution that has led us to this point and seeing how the prosumer, professional and consumer interact with new media and perhaps gain insight into what the future of media holds.