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February 28, 2007
Our Diverse, Digital Universe
 

Media philosopher Marshall McLuhan wrote that “the medium is the message.” Apple continues to prove that McLuhan was right. For example, the message of music in our ears can vary greatly from where and how we listen to it: music can evoke different emotions based on whether we listen in a subway, at a party, at a funeral, on the radio, or in thoughtful isolation.

Just as the iPod has expanded the range of messages and experiences an individual can have with his/her music, the company that I founded, nuvu.tv, is expanding the range of messages and experiences that an individual or group can have with television news: nuvu.tv is the first Internet site to bring news in multilingual, searchable TV format from over 15 countries, 24/7. FOX News, ABC Television Africa — you name it, we’ve got it. And it is on-demand and interactive with sophisticated search.

CNN made the national 24/7 news experience possible through the medium of cable: Ted Turner weaved the leading TV news broadcasters of America into one comprehensive national cable news network. Once again, McLuhan was proven correct: the medium of TV news was changed forever by innovative cable application — TV news now has a whole new message.

Your TV news experience will be changed forever as digital channels become available. For example, you will be able to choose whether you want to watch all entertainment news from FOX News or just sports news from ABC Television Africa and BBC News or just financial news from Nigeria TV — the possibilities will be limitless. You will be able to see who is watching the news you are watching, and you will be able to communicate with that person. In other words, the on-demand and interactive experiences of the Internet on a personal computer will soon also be available on a digital television set in your kitchen, living room or bedroom.

What’s more, citizen journalists will become digital TV celebrities. Citizen journalists who shoot video from their cell phones, for example, or other mobile devices while surviving a bomb-attack, witnessing a government official’s abuse of a woman or child in an oppressive regime, an environmental law being broken by a paper company, and so on will become major currents of the future digital television news waves.

So, let’s take stock on what digital television news will empower you to do:

  • Customize your news channel based on broadcaster and subject
  • Interact with both the viewers and source of the TV news that you are watching

 

The current one-way, Orwellian-Big Brother "fire-hose" of news from very few sources and even fewer perspectives severely undermines political participation at the individual level in a democracy. Digital media, however, empowers engaged users. Hopefully, viewers respond as a more engaged citizenry. Of course, the on-demand, interactive and customizable features of digital television news can also extend to other media including newspapers, magazines and radio. Soon, for example, readers will be able to customize their own newspapers, mixing and matching the business sections of the Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle and so forth online and then having the customized newspaper delivered right to their doors. On-demand, customized newspapers and magazines are possible with printing plants all over the world now receiving content as digital files.

Global media innovation has come a long way, but we have a long way to go. For instance, the first transatlantic telegraph cable was successfully completed on July 27, 1866, allowing transatlantic telegraph communications for the first time. Over 100 years later, media leaders have done little to bridge the digital penetration divide between Africa and Singapore, the USA and Central America, and so forth. Our global civil society is at risk of becoming a global landscape of territorial, threatened fiefdoms, barricaded by language, trade and digital barriers. nuvu.tv’s mission statement is to help bridge the communication cleavages and misunderstandings of the world by stringing the world closer together with a global, multilingual digital news media platform.

I recently had dinner with Silicon Valley friends, and sitting across from me at the table was a person who understands the importance of not only a multilingual world but also a multi-planetary world: since co-founding and selling PayPal to eBay for over $1.2 billion, Elon Musk has started a company called SpaceX. SpaceX is developing a network of launch vehicles intended to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of access to space ultimately by a factor of 10. Elon explained to me that something has to be done about the lack of multi-planetary progress that global civil society has made since landing on the Moon in 1969. SpaceX is making a massive contribution to not only endeavoring to build a base on the Moon, but also on Mars and other planets that have more biodiversity and therefore research value to planet Earth.

Our world has a lot to learn not only from its multilingual inhabitants, but also from the planets that surround it. nuvu.tv will do its best to be both a profitable and socially responsible innovator of the digital universe we all share.


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Tyler Cavell is Founder and President of nuvu.tv. Founded in 2004, nuvu.tv is the world’s leading Internet television news network. Tyler also was a strategic media consultant in Europe and a business development manager of the U.K.'s leading private media company. He earned a Master’s of Science from the London School of Economics (LSE) and a Master’s from the University of Southern California’s (USC) Annenberg School for Communications (Global Media & Communications).

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