AOL/Time Warner, the message
[dDH editorial Jan 12, 2000]
The recent 'merger' of the largest Internet provider AOL with the media giant Time Warner is much discussed in the financial world. With good reason: It is not only the biggest merger ever (until now), in fact it was no merger at all. AOL, an only 15 year old company in the field of the 'new media', simply bought Time Warner, the largest in 'traditional media', which in contrast took over 80 years to build ...
Of course this is a very important message to the financial community. The rules of the game are rewritten rapidly.
Much more important however is the 'non financial' message to other business, governments and NGOs alike: All main stream media, including much of the Internet, will be in the hands of a few worldwide media giants within a few years. These monopolists will be in fierce battle for market shares. Their policies will be mainly competition driven, everything else will be secondary.
Of course the consumer will benefit in many areas. Realtime video will stream in to your living room from all corners of the planet. Internet telephone will become a real and cheap alternative for your old phone. Shopping will become easier than ever before ...
But what about independent journalism, culture, discussion, the unbiased representation of governmental and NGO information, exposure for hard working small companies?
Will all this 'not paying for itself' information still be freely available for everyone? Will f.e. an environmental campaign still be possible without heavy sponsoring?
In short: What about the freedom of communication and the free flow of information? What about media pluralism?
dDH, example for an alternative
We, at dDH, don't wait for things to come, we are anticipating these developments for years already. We are convinced one of the major tools to guarantee the freedom of communication and the free flow of information is to build our own independent media platforms, on the Internet. All this new 'high technology' also provides the means for non profit platforms like dDH. The right creative and resourceful applications can also 'democratize' the new media.
By providing a practical example, we hope to promote the concept of the 'Independent Internet Platform'. Hopefully many will build their own version. Please copy! We will even help you where we can.
dDH, small as it may be, already IS a worldwide medium and carries international web sites and mailing lists. It has only three limitations:
- The bandwidth of the connection to the Internet
- The capacity of the Internet server
- The workforce behind it
Since dDH is not an access provider, but concentrates on information and communication, the needs for bandwidth and server capacity are relatively very modest and cheap.
Our workforce is a more difficult point. The main hurdle to take is to build a solid platform and example, mainly depending on volunteers. After that dDH can professionalize, thereby assuring its continuity.
It simply boils down to: Are there already enough people who realize that platforms like dDH guard their long term interests? Are NGOs and businesses already realizing that paying a little for their facilities pays off in the long run? That supporting a non-commercial coherent medium together not only provides better exposure, but also serves the community in general?
We sure hope the AOL/Time Warner merger makes people think ;-)
Join dDH and 'do your thing', uncompromised. Or volunteer in any field you like.
Support dDH by paying a little for your banner free web site or other facilities.
Help build meeting points and specials for important issues at hand.
Donate a little to help us pay the bills (as long as we still need it :-)
You don't have to be an idealist or philanthropist, just think about your own long term interests.
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