While it may be true that the frontiers of mainstream media on the Web are just now being explored, gossip and celebrity mishaps have long been a driver of traffic to seemingly irrelevant sites.
BusinessWeek’s August 14, 2006 cover story Valley Boy discusses the rise of the (then) new wave of development on the Internet. The accompanying podcast mentions that social news aggregator digg received it’s first big break when the soon-to-be-freed-Hilton-heir had her sidekick hacked. Long story short, the digg post was listed high in Google search results which seemed to bring digg traffic to the tipping point.
Also, ever taken a look at Google’s Zeitgeist Archive? To say the people haven’t wanted mainstream media on the net since 2001 would be an apparent mistake.
Is this news because entrepreneurs are now realizing an untapped opportunity, the money is just now starting to flow from equity funds, or big media is just now realizing that they are going to have to change their business model?