We The Media Revisited: Of showbiz talk shows and celebrities

We The Media Revisited: Of showbiz talk shows and celebrities

[REVISED & UPDATED] Two events prompted me to write this blog post.

One involved a celebrity calling out what appeared to be an insult hurled at a house-help in an exclusive resort. Another was news about the end of a long-time running showbiz talk show in a dominant television network.

At first, I found both stories amusing and trivial. But as I read and thought about it, I believe these two events are connected to a rising reality in media.

Let me set the context: ever since celebrities found love and power in social media, this medium has offered them new channel to genuinely and intimately connect with fans (this excludes celebs whose social media assets are “managed” by experts).

Social media has become their platform. How do I know this? My best examples are my two daughters and my wife. They all follow celebrities: my daughters do it through Twitter and Instagram, while my wife does through the latter “media.” They now know more than what TV-produced talk shows are showing every weekend. Weekend showbiz productions have become too passe since news breaks faster on social media. Check how many entertainment news are picked up or re-purposed from social media by traditional media. The first event that I cited in the beginning is one recent example.

Watching the popular showbiz talk show host explain why the producers of the show decided to call it quits, he said a lot of things have changed since they started in the late 90s when the Internet was at dial-up speeds.

“The world has changed…showbiz news reporting has changed,” he added.

(He is right. The world has changed, the audience has changed).

He also hinted that they might come back, but in a different form or format, or even not as a group of hosts, but individually.

He stressed that the interest in showbiz news has not waned; nor is the audience for talk shows. (Again, he is right in both counts). But where is the audience going? Who is your audience now and in the future?

If you want to survive and compete in the future, you must consider these observations: (1) A growing audience who don’t watch TV–at least on the TV that we old folks call the boob tube; (2) a new generation of audience growing up with celebrities whom they can follow everywhere, anytime, on any device. (This part is scary for parents like me because this is close to stalking–talk about fanaticism multiplied by 100x) but do consider the value of being able to talk to a celebrity directly; (3) a younger audience who are picky, multitasking, interactive, and often ready to share their opinion about their favorite celebrities; (4) an audience who idolize and immortalize celebrities through fan fictions and other creative endeavors found in communities like Wattpad or Tumblr. These are a few of the things that I have been observing directly from my kids–and they tell me there are hundreds of thousands of them doing the same thing. (I believe them!)

Meanwhile, the current and older audience of showbiz talk shows are shifting towards more convenient and ubiquitous devices with bigger screens that provide streams of celebrity news, photos, videos, and even strategic product placements on Instagram, Facebook and whatnot. Thanks to the Internet, celebrities can now (1) Tell or retell (some go to the extent of re-inventing) their own narratives; (2) manage their own fans; (3) strengthen and nurture their personal brand as they give fans a glimpse of their lives outside of the daily grind; and (4) endorse products and services, which in turn translate to direct revenue for them. (Wow!)

My wife gave me some examples: one involved a pretty young artista who eventually got married. She started sharing her family photos on Instagram, and often exploring creative themes and stories. Years later, this celebrity finds herself endorsing products again, thanks to a steady chronicle of her life on social media. (Personal brand building 101, folks!)

Then, we have the so-called YouTube sensations or the celebrity “bloggers” who are using their new-found stardom to churn out content or even services which they own or endorse. Some of the Internet celebrities eventually land shows on traditional media, but those who stay close to where they started seemed to have lasted longer. (Google: PewDiePie)

Dan Gillmor’s seminal work called “We The Media” talks about the tectonic shift in media, where the audience is now part of the conversation. Traditional talk shows (or traditional TV productions) will die, as the audience demands more transparency, immediacy, and feedback from celebrities. In fact, social media today is both a boon and the bane for celebrities. Not all celebrities know how to use it well. But for those who do, they’re reaping the benefits. (I can only think of Taylor Swift right now).

Gillmor wrote; “Tomorrow’s news reporting and production will be more of a conversation or a seminar. The lines will blur between producers and consumers, changing the role of both in ways we’re only beginning to grasp. The communication network itself will be a medium for everyone’s voice, not just the few who can afford to buy multimillion-dollar printing presses, launch satellites, or win the government’s permission to squat on the public airways.”

These words were written years ago. It’s funny that it still sounds current because it is the reality, and events such as the closing of a local showbiz talk show are signs of things to come for TV networks (and other forms of BIG MEDIA) which will be challenged by new business models and emerging technologies and services.


If you like this article, do recommend it to others or share it on your social networks. What about you? What are your thoughts about this recent events? Drop me an email at erwin[dot]oliva[at]gmail.com.

*This think piece does not reflect the views of the company I work for or any organization I represent at the moment. But do leave a comment. Thanks and have a great day!

My Readings For the Week

A wise man once told me that if you need to market your product, THAT product  sucks. Well, that’s a sweeping statement but has some nuggets of wisdom especially in a fierce market where there is so much noise.

If you love “listacles” (short for list articles), here’s another one that compiles predictions on how marketing will be in the future. Read up on 25 Predictions on What Marketing Would Be Like in 2020. Here’s a great quote from Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer of Taco Bell: “At Taco Bell, we look at three approaches to content: Create, Co-Create, and Curate. Create is our own content, co-create is content created in partnership with consumers, and curate is taking the user generated content we like and showing it to more people. The most important ingredient in all of this is authenticity.”

The future instrument is a mix of creativity, engineering, design and software. Check out this instrument that got $80,000 in commitment through Kickstarter in 6 hours. Invented by musician Mike Butera who has a PHd in Sound Studies at Virgina Tech, this instrument, dubbed INSTRUMENT 1, is set to go sale anytime soon, after the group was able to demo its prototype.

I stumbled upon this minimalist & curated site called “Defringed.” It’s a term that many designers would know. What is this site about? It’s an online destination for creative content, chosen by their editors. The site, which I discovered through Ello.co, features design, photography, art, typography, architecture, etc. If you’re tired of the messy, cluttered social networks, bookmark this site. It’s worth your while.

Other alternative sites that I have discovered: Fusion.net (a site supposed to be designed for millennials); mic.com, which features news catering to the young people. Both sites are not as loud as Buzzfeed.com, but they also offer fresh insights and perspectives other than what you’ve grown tired of seeing on click-baiting websites.

Internet speed matters [Missing 45Mbps in my computer]

The infographic from this story tells it all. The Philippines has the most pathetic Internet speeds and cost to consumers. There’s no real competition and choice. Now, one of our good Senators is trying to chase this down, hoping to find solutions for us, poor and paying customers.

As I write this, I’m enjoying Internet speeds of 45Mbps. This is according to a speed test that I conducted two nights ago. You may be wondering where in the world am I? I’m in a country that boasts of blazing Internet speeds available to consumers: South Korea.

I came across an article that cited studies that linked economic growth in countries to the availability of fast Internet services. South Korea falls into this category. A quick search on the Internet led me to this ITU white paper that attempts to establish the link between economic growth and the widespread availability and adoption of broadband technology. It’s a long study done in 2012. It’s a good read.

This got me thinking, and writing several observations that are based on years of writing about government policies on information and communications technology, and now being in the middle of all these development. So indulge me and read on. Note: All these are my own opinion and does not reflect views of any organization I work for or of which I represent.

1. Faster Internet speeds help generate more business. My theory of establishing link between the adoption and availability of fast Internet and economic growth is based on how businesses see this as an important aspect of doing business. As consumers demand more bandwidth-hungry services like streaming high-resolution video, Internet speeds are critical. Disruptive services like Netflix are just a start, and more will emerge and continue to evolve. And if this theory goes well, we should expect MORE enhanced services that rely heavily on digital services delivered through the cloud. Internet speeds available to consumers will be a critical factor that will push businesses and start-ups to consider to invest in digital services.

2. Efficient economies have digital backbones that rely on hyper-fast broadband infrastructure. This goes beyond the wired network. I’m talking about the digital backbone that connect us to the cloud of services. Broadband Internet is an important layer for the Internet of Things to happen. The intelligence of a system will NOT reside in devices, but in the cloud. Think Matrix, without the evil, alien-like machines chasing down humans.

3. Faster Internet will lead to the creation of more disruptive industries and new product categories. Have you heard of the phenomenon called “cord-cutting or cord-shaving?” These are terms that you will hear, as more Netflix-like services will start replacing or disrupting existing and dominant players in the video business. With innovations come new business categ0ries and opportunities for “Netflix-like” services to emerge.

4. Broadband Internet services will create new jobs. You don’t have to look any further: Silicon Valley is powered by fast Internet highways. This place has been creating new economies and new job categories. So why are we still wondering why places with poor Internet infrastructure are playing catch-up?

5. Broadband Internet is a utility, a basic human right. History indicates that regulators will face issues like Net Neutrality. This issue is, however, becoming murky as detractors are trying to muddle the discussion about its benefits. What you should know is that the cost of broadband Internet will go down. Market forces will dictate that. But there is also significant pressure from service providers to keep profits up, while balancing its operational expenses and margins. Regulators and policy-makers should have consumers top-of-mind, and they should serve them first and well. The reality, however, is that consumers are the last in discussions about delivering fast Internet. This is a topic that divides the industry, the policy-makers, and government. Currently, there is no clear winner. But there’s a clear loser: we THE consumers.



Going back to my little story about my brief stay in Korea for the past 4 days. What could take hours to do,  it took less than 10 minutes. I tried for two-straight nights to send a 50MB, full-HD video that I took using my smartphone camera. While this may sound too trivial, this experience has a lot to do with the economy and the digital lifestyle that we now have.

Access to communications technology is another basic human right. Without it, economies would collapse. Faster, broadband infrastructures are highways that we need to allow us to discover new stuff. They provide us the means to learn new things, to understand and figure out solutions to the questions about our universe. It’s the very fabric that we require to test out scientific and economic question, and hopefully, come up with practical solutions.

The overwhelming Internet speed in my hotel room here in South Korea allowed me to send 2 full-HD videos in a few minutes, sparing me time to spend with friends, to walk around the beautiful city of Suwon and experience its culture–and food. That is priceless.

How I am going to miss my 45MBps Internet bandwidth tomorrow.








Clay Shirky: Social Media and the making of history

This has been one of my favorite Ted Talks of all of time. It comes from Clay Shirky.

From his TED Talks bio:

“Shirky is an adjunct professor in New York Universityʼs graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program, where he teaches a course named “Social Weather.” Heʼs the author of several books. This spring at the TED headquarters in New York, he gave an impassioned talk against SOPA/PIPA that saw 1 million views in 48 hours.”

Watch and learn.

The Internet in real-time

What a cool way of visualizing the Internet and its immensity!

Check this out!

Click the animation to open the full version (via pennystocks.la).