Two Cheers for Media Fragmentation

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When critics of the contemporary media scene aren't bitching about media consolidation, they're popping Pepcid about media fragmentation.

Buzzmachine's Jeff Jarvis has some sharp thoughts about the latter here:

Turn that word [fragmentation] around and look at it from the opposite perspective—from the individual's perspectived—and it's really a question of control. The audience is moving to lots of new places now that they have the choice, now that they have control. The single, shared national experience we keep sighing about existed for only a few decades as we lived with three networks and fewer and fewer newspapers. The natural state of media is fragmentation: consumers gain choice, media loses control, citizens gain control. Fragmentation is good.

All praise the niche market in media and culture.

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  1. Why do all these people push for fragmenting industries, yet support a system of government that creates an artificial duopoly? If two large corporations came together and divvied up markets and held down competition artificially, there would be riots on the streets. But when our two dominant political parties do the same thing everyone accepts it. Why can the court step in and say two companies operating in a semi-free market is not competition, yet two parties operating in an obstructionist political process is okay?

    They talk about two Americas. They say there are only two sides to every issue, that America is divided between equally between dems and repubs. Why is this an acceptable situation?

  2. Funny how many news stories about the news industry keep popping up.

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