The “buggy-whip” theory of industry collapse has never really sat well with me. You know, the idea that the buggy-whip producers couldn’t see that cars would collapse their industry, etc.
Here’s the problem — did anyone back then really produce (and only produce) buggy-whips? I imagine most “buggy-whip makers” were really leather workers and did quite alright as the nations GDP rose and folks could afford more leather goods.
I guess in some way that validates the analogy. But my point is that it is not as dismal a proposition to be a buggy-whip maker as many people seem to believe it is. The industry morphs, but the players remain the same.
In any case, far from being eaten by broadband, publishers seem to be entering a golden age of profits. Maybe that’s temporary. But I have to say it’s not what a lot of people predicted would be the case 18 years into the Web, and it’s worthwhile to look at the reasons why this particular content industry is not imploding and recalibrate our predictions.