The creators disrupting old media aim to be hired by the the film studios, television networks, publishing houses, and newspapers they challenge. Creative tweeters angle for sitcoms, bloggers dream of scoring gigs at magazines and newspapers (the Gawker career path of yesteryear was a position at New York Magazine), and single-serving Tumblrs still hope for book deals. Even passion projects of creative professionals take this route: Portlandia and Children’s Hospital started as internet shows before IFC and Cartoon Network declared them cable worthy.
Media companies turn to such proven online properties and talents to save on development costs. Yet nothing is done to improve their increasingly creaky forms of distribution, whose dwindling returns ate into the development budget in the first place. So sitcoms fail, coffee table books flop, magazines go under, and creators are fired. Unlike the developer that spins an app into a lasting business, these artists earn only a meager fee or a brief job.
The problem is there’s no App Store for writers, directors, photographers or comedians. They’re stuck a generation behind software developers, only now entering a shareware-esque era of free podcasts, blogs, and videos funded by donations from a small segment of their audience.
Creators need an App Store equivalent, one which handles business details, provides an audience, and allows them to earn money for their work. There’s tremendous economic value waiting to be unlocked.