Narrowcasting--as opposed to broadcasting--has been the trend in the entertainment industry as long as there has been an entertainment industry. In my life, through probably not in the lives of many of my readers, I have watched the effects of audience fragmentation, not necessarily as an inevitable force of nature, but rather as the natural evolution of a commercial marketplace.

As Marshall McLuhan has observed, the purpose of media is not to deliver content to an audience, but rather the reverse--to deliver an audience to advertisers.

When I began watching television--I remember when the first one came into the house--we all watched Maverick and Perry Mason, and Ed Sullivan. This, of course, was a carry over from the days of the great radio networks--like CBS. I even remember when all the kids in the neighborhood would gather in the house of the one kid with a television to watch Howdy Doody. I never watched Hockey Night in Canada, though most of my friends did.

This was the definition of broadcasting.

salimfadhley makes many good, and interesting points in narrowcasting, viral marketing, TiVo and in the other nodes he has linked. But I think the technological has missed the point: We got to here because of the evolution of the technical infrastructure, pushed by the lure of enormous amounts of money. The personalisation available in the DoubleClick Master Database, its tracking, will be the basis of what could be called pointcasting.

As Lawrence Lessig, and others, have pointed out, the architecture of the internet can, and is being altered so that it will all have to be paid--the ultimate interruption.

The convergence that is promised by the technology we are now using is not a technological one, rather it is the coalescence of advertising and sales, of purchase and sales.

When they know where we've been, what we want, what we have paid for, they will know what to offer us--what we will buy.

What more do they need to know about us?

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