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Published: September 24, 2008 at 11:11 AM GMT
Last Updated: September 24, 2008 at 11:11 AM GMT
This Classic Jack commentary is excerpted from Jack Myers' 1998 book: Reconnecting with Customers: Building Brands and Profits in The Relationship Age.®
There is no better industry than television to understand the realities and nature of change. Television is the medium that imported a view of world capitalism behind the iron curtain, bringing it down. Television is at the core of technologies that are exploding before the eyes of the world: satellite, digital, computer. Multiplexing of the television signal is creating viewing options for every person. The once touted 500-channel universe that pundits now claim is exaggerated will, with the Internet, become a 5,000-channel universe by 2005. The most global of media is, simultaneously, the most personalized, individualized and fragmented of media.
Television chronicles change and is the harbinger of change. It brings the same images of change and visions of the future into homes in Oshkosh and Osaka. Television, as both a medium and an industry, is our window to the future.
By 2005, the average American home will have 165 channels, and will have access to more than 300. The Internet, by the year 2005, will be available to the majority of Americans 24 hours a day on a real-time basis, without the delay now required for signing on. Myers Publishing projects that by 2005 nearly three quarters of all families in the United States will be connected to the Internet, many with several computers in the home for personalized access. Phone systems, cable modems, and satellite television will be interconnected for instant access to preferred online services, such as American Online, Infoseek, and Yahoo!. These services will offer a plethora of dedicated programming along with instant access to hundreds of thousands of Web sites.
Through one screen or two, by 2005 the average person will have immediate and constant access to thousands of channels for entertainment, sports, movies, and interactive games, as well as shopping, information, education, and personal interaction. Today's technology provides only the slightest glimmer of what the television set of the future will be capable of providing. In the sterile technology centers of Silicon Valley, Washington State, and Boston, engineers share a vision that promises to make today's awesome array of programming options just one solar system in an endless universe of galaxies. They promise a convergence of technologies that will bring the Internet into a shared and interactive environment with television programming.
By 2005, more than 90 percent of all households will have technology that delivers multi-channel capacity through cable and satellite providers. Technology will have eliminated the bandwidth obstacles to universal distribution. More than 25 percent of all U.S. homes will have satellite receivers, and digital technologies will be expanding capacity for both cable TV and broadcast stations.
John Sculley, former CEO of Apple, described a new theory of change in 1993, called an "isoquantic shift." This theory, said Sculley, "refers to a significant technological advancement that dramatically changes the way people do things and completely re-orients people's concepts of how things are done. For example, the fractional horsepower electric motor was an isoquantic shift from the centralized steam engines that powered many factories during the 19th century." The introduction of real time audio and video to computer Internet access and the integration of the computer and the television set represent another isoquantic shift. The ability of individuals to interact represents a convergence of the telephone, the computer, the television and high-speed cable and telephone modems, altering the ways in which consumers perceive media.
A paradigm shift is merely a restructuring of the patterns that we rely on for our decision-making. Paradigm shifts require changes in traditional behavior because we are required to rethink our assumptions. They reflect a change in how people perceive and react to reality. The transition of audiences from broadcast television to cable TV has been a paradigm shift - a slow change in patternistic behavior. Cable has not radically altered the way advertisers communicate to audiences or the way viewers interact with the medium. Successful managers in the 1980s and 1990s conformed to shifting technological, sociological, and regulatory paradigms. The isoquantic shifts on the horizon are creating even greater apprehension and anxiety. While change has been continuous, pervasive, and overwhelming, it has rarely been so dramatic that it totally alters the way people do things. The changes we are facing today in business are isoquantic shifts, not simple paradigm shifts.
Sculley points out that "we have seen an isoquantic shift in the computer industry with the microprocessor. The microprocessor clearly changed the whole concept of what computers were, from a centralized device, to one on every desk, to one you are carrying around with you." Sculley also envisioned the isoquantic shifts affecting the television industry: "We're seeing a new isoquantic shift taking place in this decade that is replacing the old analog communications we have known - digital compression communications. That's a very significant factor for all of us because of the convergence of our respective industries, whether it is computers, communications, or content. They're all coming together."
For more than two decades, Jack Myers has been the media industry's leading analyst, researcher and advisor on relationships among marketers, agencies and media sellers, providing business development services and custom insights on relationship best practices to more than 250 companies. Jack's visionary perspectives from 1998 focus on the emergence of a new age in media and advertising, an age that would be defined by both advanced technology and enhanced relationships. To obtain a full copy of The Relationship Age series or to discuss Jack's consulting and advisory services, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Relationship Age is a registered trademark of Jack Myers.
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