During the Vietnam War it was called Collateral Damage.
You called in air support and the next thing you knew, they were dropping explosives on your own position Bombing was not a precise science in those days. State of The Art Technology was a radio and an F4 Phantom with a payload.
Today, there is another kind of collateral damage going on in the media world.
While we might spend our time focusing on photographers becoming videographers or reporters carrying small cameras, they are on the cutting edge of the technological shift. There are lots of industries that are simply beginning to disappear – often unheralded – as the new digital technology carpet bombs old businesses.
An article in today’s New York Times highlights that in the era of internet video (which started sometime yesterday), it is now virtually impossible to find pirate DVDs on the streets of New York.
Of course, the City of New York and the movie industry all look at this as a good thing, but it is not the end of piracy. It has simply followed technology and migrated to the web. Like pornography, technology criminals tend to be early adapters, and like water they follow the path of least resistance that new technologies carve for them.
Meanwhile, Yahoo News carries an equally interesting article about the people who make newspaper printing presses. It seems that as publications migrate to the web, the demand for those giant printing presses, and their attendant technology has begun to decline. Fewer and fewer newspapers are making the large capital investments in the machinery as they contemplate a long term move to online publishing. It’s a bit like the horse and buggy whip manufacturers beginning to feel to rising demand of the automobile at the turn of 20th Century.
When the CBS O&Os lay off staffers, we can see the impact of new technologies and new market realities. These are easy to see – just look at NBC 2.0. But the real collateral damage today is happening in the tangential industries. They are the first to feel it, but it is very real.
You have to be careful when you call in the new technologies. You never know who is gonna get hit.