I’ve got some bad news for Chris Shaw, senior programme controller, news and current affairs, at Channel Five. In today’s Guardian, he writes:
This week I encountered a new media buzzword: Disintermediation. Sounds like Dalek talk to me. But apparently it spells doom for the traditional media… Disintermediation means consumers can interact directly with the people running our newspapers, TV and radio… In the disintermediated future, individuals can be both consumers and producers. In theory you – the viewers, listeners and readers – get exactly what you want, when you want it, cutting out the traditional broadcasters and publishers altogether.
This isn’t the future, Chris. It’s already happening – and arguably, it has been happening for over a decade now. Certainly I remember using the word myself, as long ago as 1995. I’m actually quite shocked to see this sort of comment in a piece by a ‘senior’ news person in 2006.
The reason the media needs to use tools like text-message feedback (which, incidentally, I wouldn’t class as ‘disintermediation’) is because they need to earn their status now. If they aren’t perceived as delivering a valuable, relevant and responsive service, people can go direct to the sources for their news. And we do, in increasing numbers.