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The lightly regulated 'techonomy' rolls over media and other sectors - and we're allowing it, Juha Saarinen argues

Technology / opinion
The lightly regulated 'techonomy' rolls over media and other sectors - and we're allowing it, Juha Saarinen argues
[updated]
social media and the world

There’s nothing to suggest that we need news and analysis less than in the past, or interesting and amusing opinions on politics and culture for that matter. This is now harder to come by, whereas disinformation is literally “flooding the room with shit”. Even if you don’t like particular media outlets, the world is much poorer without them. 

It also bears repeating that democracy in a world without media holding governments and the powerful to account will be threatened. If you don’t agree with that, you probably need to think about your politics and the rather obvious consequences of them.

What has happened then that has seen a desirable product become devalued and starved of the money required to pay for the hard and often risky work to bring people valuable information?

With apologies to Bill Clinton era political strategist James Carville, “it’s the techonomy, stupid”.

Let’s take a rideshare detour, and check out Uber Technologies which bills itself as “a tech company that connects the physical and digital worlds to help make movement happen at the tap of a button.” That is, Uber does not want to be a transportation company, subject to regulations that apply to that industry sector.

You can’t compare Uber with social media companies and Google directly, point for point. Its business is too different. But the story of how Uber circumvented regulation and destroyed existing businesses is eerily familiar. 

That brings us to another point: could we please stop using “disruption” when “destruction” is more apt?

Uber made its first annual profit this year, some US$1.1 billion. That’s after 15 years of operation and making huge losses, which investors presumably will want to recoup in some way. 

If you consider Uber is able to save massively on fixed and variable operating costs like fleet maintenance, call centres, administration, garage rents, and training the drivers which need permits, the long line of losses seems even more remarkable.

Over its relatively short period of existence, Uber has lurched from one scandal to another, accused of unethical behaviour, breaking the law, exploiting “gig economy” drivers, data breaches, and sexual harassment that led to founder Travis Kalanick being dumped.

None of that has made any difference. Uber is still the king of the ridesharing hill, making inroads in the courier business and food delivery in 70 countries worldwide, with millions of drivers. Has the convenience of using a smartphone app to hail and pay for transportation made the world a better place? That Uber has sunk the taxi industry, reduced public transport use and presumably investment in it, increased congestion and pollution suggests not.

Some would point to the greater freedom with Uber, but that is mirage. There's no hailing an Uber on the street and paying cash for the ride, like you can with a taxi. Instead, you hand over data for marketing and sales purposes with each Uber ride.

But, we let Uber get away with all that. It is now a global giant rising over the industries it crushed, and it’s not clear how the damage caused can be remedied.

The rise of social media and Google’s internet search monopoly should be seen in a similar light. 

Regulators are notoriously slow to react whereas tech companies grow and scale at speeds unheard of in the past. Facebook, for example, has something like three billion active monthly users, a mind boggling figure.

Not only that, but the social network does not need to pay anyone anything to generate the data and eyeballs it sells to advertisers. In fact, it doesn’t matter what you, the user, generates to become the product that a social network sells.

It can be anything, from pictures of your children, yourself, cute kittens to dangerous disinformation and scams. Much of it in recent times is machine generated through artificial intelligence that mimics human appearances, thoughts and voices in seconds.

There’s a never-ending stream of everything. As Facebook has said, it doesn’t need news. Or politics. Or movies. When those sectors become squeaky wheels, Facebook just dumps them.

Thanks to their gigantic sizes and omnipresence, the tech companies that are now devouring media’s collective lunch have an outsized influence on areas beyond advertising like handling our money.

Twitter, now X under Elon Musk’s slash and burn ownership, wants to become a payments app. Facebook, or its parent company Meta rather, already has payments. Lots of other social apps are used for payments by millions of people around the world.

There’s also the Facebook Marketplace which is growing in popularity everywhere, and which is very much a use at your own risk trading post.

Disruptive or destructive? A small business owner forced to trade on a social network, and perhaps use its payments processing feature with whatever fees that apply might not appreciate the difference.

It goes further than that though: Google and Facebook, along with Amazon Web Services are building the fundamentals of the technology they use to power their empires. That’s all the way down to computer chips and servers that go into the data centres they design and build, to the software that runs on them. 

Much of this is open source and nominally free for others to use; at least it seems free until you start looking at the bigger picture and context of suffocating market dominance that squeezes the life out of smaller competitors.

It may be that it was difficult to see where the digitise-everything Internet was headed in the late 90s and early 2000s. Who’d have thought then that Google would evolve into the world’s largest media company, reaping in nearly a quarter of a trillion US dollars a year in advertising revenue?

You can go on about entire business sectors having to evolve their models as digitisation rolls over them. How that can be done when faced with unregulated opponents who have economies and resources the size of medium-sized nations is not at all clear, however.

The questions we’re now left with are: was it a good idea to allow tech companies to grow into oversized giants? If not, should they be broken up - and ideally, before it’s too late which it nearly is?

Update Last month Uber agreed to compensate Australian taxi and hire car drivers A$272 million for loss of income and licence values, in a class-action lawsuit that was launched in 2019. The plaintiffs argued that Uber Australia knowingly operated illegally, which gave it an unfair advantage over taxi and hire car drivers that complied with the law. Uber Australia is facing further legal action in Australia.

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66 Comments

Great article. Uber is a classic loss leader business, now that they have squashed their competition out of existence they can ramp up the prices and turn a profit. 

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Suppose its just like china.

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What stops another company from repeating the cycle to kill uber? Maybe it's just another ponzi

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There is a massive advantage to being first - look at Facebook, Bitcoin etc. They can’t go crazy with prices, but very few people will swap to save a few bucks. 

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Facebook wasn't first. There were several iterations of social media platforms very similar to Facebook, however Facebook had a superior product offering which was easy to sign up to and easy to use. Therefore, they are currently market leaders, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if Facebook doesn't exist in 50 years time. 

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Many have tried. Ola, Zoomy & Lyft,  but like Trademe, Uber has a massive first mover advantage.

Like Google, Uber is now a verb too. 

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Uber is a classic loss leader business, now that they have squashed their competition out of existence they can ramp up the prices and turn a profit. 

Disagree. If we move to the next stage of tech commerce, we have decentralized ride sharing. Cut out Uber full stop. No middleman.   

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That's really what Uber is; a technology platform to allow decentralised "ride sharing". True decentralised ride sharing must be something like paying a friend cash to give you a lift, which requires less technology but doesn't scale outside of friend groups.

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Uber is very centralized. P2P is of course far less decentralised. 

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It's still P2P, Uber is a matchmaker, technology platform, secure payment vehicle, review engine, etc. in the same manner as TradeMe.

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Uber will soon be able to eliminate their biggest cost - the drivers.  Ultimately it will be an app to summon a driverless car, probably a Tesla or Toyota fleet vehicle.

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"Uber will soon be able to eliminate their biggest cost - the drivers. "

LOL. Are you the last person to believe self driving cars were a con?

Maybe check back in 20 years? Either the con will be on again ... Or it'll be real. I lean towards the latter.

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20 years?  Do you live under a rock?  Its already happening.

https://www.cnbc.com/2024/04/03/waymo-self-driving-cars-are-delivering-…

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The mainstream media have been a sunset industry for many years and I believe Covid hastened their demise.

They changed from reporting news in an unbiased way to pushing their own opinions.

As for Uber well taxi companies could have implemented an online booking system with set rates many years before Uber but like a lot of industries they were quite comfortable with status quo.

Long may the disruption continue and hopefully real estate agencies are next.

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I have no issue with disruption as long as it’s an even playing field. Uber for example had significantly less regulation than taxis, that should never have been allowed. Social media is getting away with all sorts of dodgy crap that the MSM wouldn’t. 

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So the problem is an over regulation of the likes of the taxi industry?

People using Uber and people providing the service would tend to demonstrate that there is a degree of satisfaction with what is being done

and while Facebook might be poor service provider I dont rate the NZ newspapers as any better

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To argue that people are doing something, so that makes it OK is a long bow to draw. I am sure some employers effectively pay less than minimum wage, doesn't mean that is something we should allow as a society just because "it is happening, so everyone must be happy".

Facebook is not a news provider so I am not sure why you would compare it to a news organisation. Apples and Oranges.

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If an employee and an employer agree to a wage, then yes "it is happening, so everyone mst be happy". Everyone, that is, who is actually party to the transaction.

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The idea that media was ever non-biased is demonstrably false. Papers alway had a line.

We think media in the old days was always better when in many ways it was actually worse. It just wasn't as intrusive. We certainly weren't bombarded by constant updates buzzing around in our pocket.

Also people under 30 now expect journalism to be free. I honestly can't think of a free product that receives so much criticism.

As for too much commentary, I certainly agree. Problem is we used to have one paper a day and maybe three important bulletins. Facts were enough. Now there's 24 hours to fill so we talk about stuff .... endlessly.

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Most of the change during COVID times happened to the audience, not the media.

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The $55m Public Interest Journalism Fund (PIJF) was made available by the government in 2020

 

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Yes, it sure got some folk frothing at the mouth didn't it? Despite being roughly at the same time that the rest of NZ got support, including $11 billion plus for property speculators who despite the handouts were very anti the govt and felt they'd lost their dignity.

So while the whole of NZ was getting support and a bunch of them started ranting about the government regardless, some expect us to believe the press in particular toed some party line.

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PIJF was never needed.

Firstly, media outlets could continue to trade (in the main) as opposed to many businesses like cafes, restaurants, non-essential retailers and services that weren't allowed to open or were otherwise heavily restricted. Tough tit if NZME, Stuff etc lost revenue as some advertisers pulled spend ... drop in the bucket stuff compared to what many others faced when they were arbitrarily told they couldn't operate (I was lucky that my business was able to continue trading through)

Secondly, media outlets were able to claim the wage subsidy just like all other businesses that fit the criteria. There shouldn't have been a cent beyond what any other ordinary business was able to claim. What is a single good reason for them to have received more? 

Thirdly, whatever the true intent of the PIJF (and I suspect the interpretation thereof is subject to one's own personal political viewpoints ... I certainly have my own) it was never going to pass the sniff test with many members of the public, and to some extent I'm surprised that the media were so desperate to sell at least the perception of journalistic integrity for what was ultimately a fairly small amount of cash, to the detriment of their long term reputations. 

NB I wasn't aware of any property investor specific handouts at the time of Covid, but if this was a thing I'm opposed to it to (for the same as points one and two above)

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I understand PJIF runs until 2026.  Government should scrap it immediately, or even better anonymously give the remainder to The Platform, Reality Check Radio, and Interest.  Current PJIF recipients are steadfastly loyal to the previous government. 

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The Platform?

Hence the point that it's the audience that changed. Many are just wanting their own beliefs to be conveyed by the opinion pundits, rather than journalism to be done.

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The Platform is good, and I often tune in, but Plunket still treads lightly around forbidden topics by conforming to MSM orthodoxy and using discrediting language like “rabbit hole” and “antivaxers”.  Reality Check Radio is truly fantastic in my opinion.  A genuine grass roots movement.  Peter Williams has to be one of the greatest broadcasters / journalists I’ve seen in my lifetime.  They’re all great though.  Paul Brennan, Rodney Hide and the others are fantastic too.  The quality of the interviews, and the world renowned people they’ve interviewed impressive.  It's a refuge for people who think for themselves.

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Sorry, but please do not associate us with Reality Check Radio. That is not appreciated.

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It’s actually a complement.  Interest is the number one place for economic news for sure, but you guys have been lucky to avoid the heat.  Economic reporting by and large doesn’t overlap with the highly controversial topics (although at a deeper level the controversial topics profoundly affect the economy).  Please don’t punch down.

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In addition to the PIJF there was also the millions of dollars spent by the Govt on Covid advertising which absolutely dwarfed the size of the PIJF.  Last OIA response was $116M spent on covid ads up until mid 2022 (so will be even higher by 2024).   People forget about that.  During Covid the media organisations never had it so good as the Govt became its biggest advertiser client.

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Quite right, the astonishing amount of pointless advertising about flu shots and covid boosters was really annoying, along with the other useless garbage that was pushed out on the radio, tv, youtube. Thank goodness that is gone. Must be saving a load of money right there.

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The story was not an invitation to go off topic and start spreading disinformation about Covid measures, vaccination and the public interest journalism fund. Please take not of that, and stay on topic.

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Quite right. I would be happy to consume MSM news bulletins if they were objective, well researched and provided added value. But so much of NZ MSM is shallow, opinionated and (mostly left wing) biased. Also, NZ media personalities no longer report the story, they ARE the story. They use the platform for endless self-promotion.

Labour's PIJF seriously corrupted the industry to the point where MSM makes my stomach churn and I no longer consume it because I don't trust it.

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We've all been sucked into an ever-increasing spiral of Emperor's New Clothes Must-Have Consumerism of

modern digital communication technology.

Period.  There's nothing more to be said.

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We've all been sucked in  - no just some of you

Anyway its all Bart's fault - or maybe the reality TV show writers - but more likely the people who watch them

 

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Some of who? 

The problem now, is that much of the internet discussion is posited on false assumptions - as is the MSM. 

Collectively, we told ourselves a lie. We told ourselves we were above nature, above physics. They are where that lie has led us, but they too are doomed. All the data-storage depends on a maintained grid - meaning a functioning economy and people being paid to do the maintenance. It also depends on a global grid which is still 40% fossil-fuel-fired. 

Crash the 'net - even if in cascading events such as war - and all those systems are toast. 

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Simply Facebook needs to pay a share of ad revenue to the news sources that create it. Governments need to legislate it. If a social network decides to boycott the news then those businesses will benefit from people going to their site direct. 

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As somebody who has the best part of 15 years' experience in both digital publishing (i.e. making or working for content sites, which is all news sites are ultimately, and monetising them via advertising and other means) as well as digital advertising (i.e. paying the likes of Facebook to get my brand/product in front of people's eyeballs) I really don't understand this argument that FB et al need to 'pay a share of ad revenue to the news sources that create it.'

My experience has typically been that digital publishers - e.g. NZ Herald, Stuff, or industry/niche specific ones - benefit far more from the flow of traffic/users that come from social platforms to their sites than any benefit the social platform gets from "hosting" the digital publisher's content ... and all the protestations otherwise are just part of a general throwing the toys out of the cot with respect to their once great business model going the way of the lamp lighting or chimney sweeping industries, as people increasingly turn to "source" (e.g. YouTube, podcasts, social media) to get their news and content. 

Take NZ Herald, for example. One of their skilled journalists (glorified intern with ChatGPT licence most likely) will either flat out copy/paste an article from a syndicating news source, or frame up some clickbait-y piece of content e.g. which Taylor Swift Era is your dog, or why it is the height of empowerment and liberation to sell your home sex tape on OnlyFans. 

This piece of content then gets posted to Facebook (where the social media team then turns off comments if they don't fit the viewpoint the article was trying to make - only once enough activity has built up to make the post go 'viral'). Incensed by the clickbait or interest otherwise piqued, people then click the link and that means more eyeballs on the NZ Herald site.

This means they can sell more advertising - as there is more visibility/impressions - either via negotiated placement such as the Mitre 10 takeovers you sometimes see, or through 'dynamic' ad networks e.g. Google's (this powers those ads for finding mature 50+ wealthy women in your area that we all keep seeing alongside cheap flights to Thailand for 'enhancement surgery' right?) 

Facebook's only benefit in this is that I guess you could argue having that piece of Taylor Swift clickbait engaged more users on their platform ... and ultimately the name of the game for social media companies is to get as many users spending as much time as possible scrolling (hence TikTok's astounding rise as its algorithm is so fine-tuned for mindless engagement). 

But if you take that view, then Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/whatever should pay all users a share of advertising revenue based on any content they upload to the platform and its relative engagement and visibility (in fact TikTok has started doing this with its creator programme, at least in some countries). In other words, me uploading photos of the weekend's drunken antics provides as much "value" on that basis as a journalist sharing a link to their article hosted elsewhere because both of these activities give at present, for free, something to the social network that they can then monetise via putting ads in front of those viewing the content on their platform. 

In my view, the bigger issues - that do need discussing - relate to:

  • Paywalled/premium content is probably the only path forward for actual quality, well-researched content. I'll use NBR as an example, which as far as I understand now runs no advertising, its only form of monetisation is selling subscriptions. The big problem is the mass media consuming public is so used to getting it all for free (and being the product themselves, in effect, as their eyeball time is exposed to dynamic digital advertising) that it will be a right uphill struggle to convince sufficient people of the value of paying for good journalism/content. 
  • Higher potential for misinformation/disinformation on social media versus legacy media that has greater oversight/transparency (NB I think that legacy/mainstream media has typically done appallingly in terms of bias and loss of journalistic integrity - in part because they are all but forced to do so to get impressions and clicks - but social media is definitely worse ... some of the crap I've seen on TikTok for example that idiots take as gospel is just appalling)
  • The extent to which ad network 'middle men' e.g. Google are raising advertiser costs constantly while reducing payout to publishers, which has a negative impact on businesses wanting to advertise and also publishers wanting to try and ply their trade. Their margin fattens to the detriment of many other businesses.
  • Considering that legacy/mainstream media is on the decline, what should (if any) state-funded media look like and how much is appropriate? 
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Excellent summary thanks 

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Good post.

The best content I see at the moment is on sites like this (funded mostly by subscriptions) and Substack, which is a good model for independent writers/journalists.

 

I do think all this is a good argument for state-funded journalism. An outlet like NBR (or indeed Interest), while valuable, will not have the resources to do some kinds of important news-gathering. I know there are many who dislike TVNZ, RNZ et al because of their ideological bias (which I would agree is real) but I think they're important institutions even when imperfect. The task of making them better, precisely at doing the things the free market won't, should be taken seriously.

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Agreed.

We do need a (as in singular) properly govt-funded, totally free from advertising influence media organisation that broadcasts/disseminates across key platforms such as TV, radio and Internet. At the very least so everybody can access some source of reliable news, in the sense that you don't have to worry about the platform going off air tomorrow as it's financially buggered. 

That should be the extent of it, and not a cent given to any other media outlets under any circumstances (outside of anything available to all businesses/organisations) - they can either sink or swim on their own.

Big issue, to your point, is improving the quality and impartiality - to the extent news can be impartial - of the government funded media. That's a tougher nut to crack. 

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Sell your home sex tape on OnlyFans. 

I am lacking clicks, maybe I need a german gimp mask angle.......

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Very articulate and well reasoned - many thanks!

The one thing you don't mention is trust in the legacy media: according to the 2023 AUT polling, public trust in media is plummeting, so we avoid the outlets and the advertisers notice. How can that trust be rebuilt? On past performance, the 2024 survey should be available soon.

In my own case that's been caused by quality issues: ugly copy that's been shotgunned with emotive adjectives, the disconcerting tendency for journalists to actually believe what they've been told in press releases, and endless punditry, opinion pieces and vox pops that are not inquiring, skeptical and balanced journalism.

And style? Who, now, writes with economy and clarity?

 

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There's no hailing an Uber on the street and paying cash for the ride, like you can with a taxi.

Quite grateful for that. Far safer paying through the app. And standing on the street waving your arm hopefully... ? 

Look closely at why tech companies like Uber and AWS have grown so successfully, at the heart is that they're offering a vastly superior product to a stale, dated, inefficient and expensive status quo, often entrenched by regulation.  

There's an important discussion about the role of non-commerical, publicly funded media, but don't conflate that with the overdue disruption of a commercial enterprise in private industry. I worked at TVNZ for 5+ years, they are a for-profit company in the business of selling advertising - period. If we don't like that, change the model, rather than try and prop up a failing enterprise in a competitive market.

I absolutely look forward to the banking system being Ubered.

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The MSM is no longer a trusted news source because its so heavily censored and its used to try and control the narrative so its no surprise the likes of TV3 news at 6pm is a dead duck. The rise of the likes of tik tok are a major threat to the powers that be because its direct, uncontrolled communication to the masses and when the masses get pissed off enough you get a revolution like in Haiti currently where the top 5% own 95% of everything.

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The problem is that revolutions can also be prompted by those controlling or funding social media, rather than any grass roots movements. Harnessing existing anger, like about inequality. Social Media can be used to much greater effect than any regular advertising campaign, as they can individualise each suggestion for every unique user based on the data already mined about them. Cambridge Analytica probably looks like child's play compared to some of what is going on now, by governmental and private interests.

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Mainstream media hasn't really been doing its job here in the last few years.. lots of opinionated news, nz media organizations with potential biases based on ownership of other businesses etc etc.... let alone the accusations around the media fund by labour. No real digging into what really matters to people - more crap content just looking for more clicks and viewers 

TBH our mainstream media hasn't adapted well (minimal  effort) and won't be missed.

As the bigger players here die off.. interest.co.nz and other niche players will fill the void well in their specialist areas..  and open the market to real competition that will learn to play with the tech giants. 

The Google approach where I get served a mix of global and local news stories based on my interests and history isn't a bad one and actually feeds me better content related to what i like and need (saves me time). I try to check facts and validity anyway .

I have not got much of an opinion on facebook news..  I see fb as the coronationstreet of the web - all drama and yesterday's tech.

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Pretty hard to do a job when the revenue keeps getting taken away by the tech bro's. AI is next up. Soon you wont even see a media title when you Google a story. Biggest hits will just be an amalgamation of articles. No more click revenue for anyone except the tech firms.

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Pretty hard to do their job of telling the unbiased facts when the previous government was paying them conditional on supporting the government policy.

You reap what you sow.

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....and that. Little more than a propaganda department. Luckily I didn't understand most of what they said since they also decided to speak in a language no one understands. That too made people turn off in droves.

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You are describing a very low bar. 

Reminds me of Bill Bryson describing Dan Quale...

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Calm down PDF. Did you not get an afternoon nap today or something.

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An unfortunate Kodak moment for the traditional media services. Only my 75+ old parents watch TV. I have now completely forgotten when was the last time I was in front of the box. Likewise, none of my friends in the same age group of 35 to 40 watch any show on TV except for live sports. Personally, I follow news on global websites and Google feeds. 

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I havent watched broadcast TV since Jacinda's 1pm daily Covid Theatre aired.  I do use my TV though, to watch streamed on demand TV shows and YouTube videos.  For news I read mainly Australian and US ones,  along with the NZ Herald which I would pay for if they improved the quality of their reporting to say the level of The Australian.  And X is pretty good at picking up on whatever big news is breaking or trending. 

The only news I get from Facebook is the likes of local reporters like Chris Lynch who have gone independent.  Stuff doesnt post to Facebook at all so not sure how they plan on getting Facebook to pay them anything.

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Clearly I watch Super Rugby and NRL, but thats not really TV is it... and 20% of the time its a window in the corner of my multi screen setup....

But I do watch TV 1 news every so often to see what the plebs are seeing and its very very sad...        as for 7 blunt...      they should have kept Sunday and got rid of this 7pm crap.     After a lifetime of Reuters or Bloomberg access, the local cat up tree crap is dismal, as per analysis of actual issues, like fast tracking RM issues under the new law... well there just will not be any of that.     We are SO in danger of having no decent investigative journalism in NZ.    

TV was a great escape in lockdown, now long forgotten

 

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If they're reliant on ad revenue in NZ they'll have to create clickbait. Secure funding not subject to the whims of changes of government may be preferable to fund local investigative journalism.

No chance at present. This government doesn't even want transparency of policy effects.

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I think Uber'ed is an incorrect analogy. There's no single or monopoly corporate or anything like that behind this. It really is just people making their own content (even producing your own video broadcast content is now cheap) and finding a platform that allows them to reach and maybe monetise the audience they want.

"It also bears repeating that democracy in a world without media holding governments and the powerful to account will be threatened."
Is there anyone who believes this is still true? Since covid almost everyone is relying income not coming from private advertising and no one believes this does not effect the content.

The latest depths they have fallen into is covering for Israel. They are mostly younger uni graduating leftist who know the priors and yet they are still trying to minimise and memory hole their behaviour. All they would have to do would be to translate a few media releases or interview and no one would doubt the intent.

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Lots of people believe social media replaces news.

Lots of people are also pretty stupid.

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50% of the population are thicker then the average guy/girl/them/she/they/it/furry .......

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My old Dad used to say that half the people you meet should be below average

but he thought it was worse than that....

Garrison Keeler and Lake Wobegone...  - where the women are all good looking and all the children are above average....

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Uber is still the king of the ridesharing hill, making inroads in the courier business and food delivery in 70 countries worldwide, with millions of drivers. Has the convenience of using a smartphone app to hail and pay for transportation made the world a better place? That Uber has sunk the taxi industry, reduced public transport use and presumably investment in it, increased congestion and pollution suggests not.

 

Uber is simply better for riders - the paying customers. The existing taxi industry deserved to be disrupted (or destroyed as you put it). Do you really want to make the analogy with news media? If so, then bring it on.

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I reluctantly signed up to twitter during the Trump presidency. So many articles were just tweets from Trump and then outraged responses. They were just phoning it in. 

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We need new PERSPECTIVE.

Recognise and fight monopolies, greed, unfairness.

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Juha, I have been a fan of your writing and insights for well over a decade. I find it a bit frustrating - and maybe more than a bit hypocritical - to write a piece about digital destruction and that media should be valued, while using an AI-generated art as the stock image for the article.

Just don’t use an image in the intro. Or if your piece needs a stock image, then it must have some value. You then made a value decision by using a tool that is built on the unprecedented collation and subsequent devaluing of mankind's artwork.

Sure, clip art is probably not as critical to democracy as journalism, but in an article that talks about what we should value, and what technology is destroying, using AI art is a bit on the nose.

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Fair point!

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As to actual Uber: how long will it be before Uber (and cabs, for that matter) turn into a typewriter technology because of autonomous vehicles and decentralised ride-share P2P systems that don't have a centralised owner to parasitise the process?

For that last, think of a distributed social media system like Mastodon in comparison to Facebook's central control.

Are they all sunset industries now?

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