(Excerpt of my sharing session with Samuh OTT, Thimphu)
I have been asked to share my views on the future of media and technology, and what was in store for the OTT. As a veteran of the Bhutanese media and technology industry, I am often asked these questions
Well, here is my take.
Going back in time, I predicted the decline of the Bhutanese mass media way back in 2006 when everyone thought that with democracy it would be the otherwise. (Check my article in the launch issue of Bhutan Times).
The mass media (print and broadcast), of which I was one of the pioneers, will die – unfortunately – unless the State intervenes with some form of subsidy. While subsidy may be a bad word in a free market, the public service media is necessary to sustain the concept of a nation. Simply put, if we want to stay united as one nation, we better take care of BBS and Kuensel.
The universal mandate of media is to inform, educate and entertain the people. While earlier the role was taken up by the mass media, in the new era it will loosely be divided between the social media, online educational services, and the OTT. This is what they call fragmentation of the audience.
The next big things will be virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) – something that the OTTs may like to take note.
Interestingly there will be a return of the good old radio in the form of podcast – meaning people will just download and listen the audio files at leisure – as passive listening mode and as on-demand-services.
Nation-building does not only mean building hospitals, highways and hydropower. What is more important, according to social scientists, is the concept of nationhood. Radio and TV bring the nation together. In the same song we listen, in the same joke we all laugh, in the same news we celebrate or being concerned about, mass media can keep the minds united.
Now the role of nation building will be played by the OTT and the film industry.
Regulators and naysayers will continue to stand in their way but that’s not just in Bhutan, but everywhere. We faced higher brick walls during our time. But if you believe in what you are doing, if you believe that it is good of the people and country, you keep pushing. You keep changing the boundary. You redefine the borders.
You will face consequences. Be warned. I faced them too. And it was not fun. But past your 50s, your heart will smile at you. Trust me.
You will tell yourself, “You did what you had to do, and not what others wanted you to be.”
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