"The future of content is niche channels." Head of YouTube. I think he's right. Remember when YouTube seemed silly? Now it's very real.— Bill Gross (@Bill_Gross) February 1, 2012
To which Jay responded:
@Bill_Gross Bundled media was never a user's choice. It was good for the media companies, bad for everyone else.— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) February 1, 2012
Jay Rosen brings up a great point. The Internet didn't suddenly make niche channels popular, it suddenly made niche channels possible. That's a huge difference. Before the web came around, consumers never had the choice; in order to get the content they wanted, they also had to pay for [thus finance] the content they didn't care about. As Chris Anderson so ably pointed out in The Long Tail, the media economics of the time simply didn't make anything else possible. That's changed!
The web broke 20th century media economics, thus enabling the rise of what Jeff Jarvis called the "mass of niches". On the web, it became economically feasible for anyone to create/embrace niche channels and content. In such an environment, consumers are no longer strapped to the stuff they don't care about. Relevance becomes available to everyone, at no extra cost. Once anybody has experienced the pertinence and flexibility of the later, it becomes hard to see why anyone would be expected to settle for the former [with all its inefficiencies] as their primary source of content ever again.