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You and Content

May 18, 2011 Leave a comment

It doesn’t matter how the content gets to you, by what ‘road” or in what form,  whether in a library book, a hard copy magazine or newspaper, the web and its various forms of streaming … it has something in common … it has to engage with you .. and make you want you to focus and read on.

This has always been the case. How often have you picked up a book, and it didn’t engage with you, watched a movie, switched channels, went to sleep or worse still walked out of a theatre .. or reading a web page and thought , no .. and moved on …  read a Twitter stream and nothing, you either clicked un-follow or went looking for content that you can relate to, regardless of how the content is delivered to you, how you view it or engage with it, it has to value you and engage with you as a person.

The current thinking in Hollywood and Old Media in general is that somehow they are a special case, somehow entitled to and deserving of exemption from a thing  called change, something that happens to us all, it isn’t the change that is a problem, its the attitude to it that matters … and the choices one makes based on these attitudes.

Now and in the future, content of all types, from the written word to a movie spectacular will reach us whether we are at home, mobile on at some kind of outside occasion via a internet appliance, in other words via an i/p address (VOD, Hulu and Netflix +++) …. and it accompanying infrastructure –   this will soon be the case for public screening (when or perhaps if they will happen) as well, perhaps by some kind of version of Bit torrent service.

If you need any convincing of the change to Internet distribution, currently in the USA, Netflix accounts for 25% of total North American Internet traffic. With their first International expansion, they now have an added 800,000 users (10% of all users) in Canada , with other International expansion slated, probably in the first step into Europe. I have spoken about this in previous post, going back a number of years … do not sit with your head in the sand – change will happen, with or without you.

I feel very sad for those companies who’s core business is public entertainment, and the picture theater complexes and soon they will make more money as retail malls .. or car parking .. but again no, the internet is all prevailing … even the traditional focus on malls will change, those huge real estate investments will be a thing of the past … perhaps the land will be returned long term into something productive, perhaps growing food. These changes in the utilization of malls and other huge public and retail edifices, will happen, it will not happen tomorrow, but it will happen.

They say that Hollywood and TV production is a special case, this is such spin , it is not true, at the end of the day if the content is on You tube and you are engaged by it .. nothing else matters … now they have virtual scenery, and computer systems and CGI do so much inside a computer to generate content .. the quality will soon be available to have virtual actors .. so where is the future … where ever it is, it has to fulfill the emotional and entertainments needs of the customers, what they want … so for goodness sakes, ask them… perhaps back in the real world with real events, documentaries,  engagement with your viewers, (forbid the thought ..some sort of reality television) –   the content will need to relate to the needs of the viewers and have an emotional connection with the audience, the viewers … in this world not a virtual one. However being realistic, there will always be an need for entertainment that allows one to escape from the present, fiction or fantasy.

Hollywood is not a special case, get used to it .. change is here … mass media markets are now part of history, the future is niche interests and markets, so find and follow your bliss and there you will find your nirvana.

Back in 2008, I wrote a white paper on the then cliché phrase of the convergence of the internet with mass media .. at the time, I suggested that until band width is comparable with mass media models, that mass media had a little while, probably 3–5 years .. until the TV, Film and Cable business models primarily needed to be aware that there would be a problem, but they should be planning for this event now (in 2008) … because it would be a huge learning experience. However we are there early, bandwidth and distribution / streaming technology has made the jump to online media.

I always say in my day job, what make your business unique, what makes it different, why should the buyer come to you … this is never so apparent as the now, there is almost nothing unique about the Hollywood experience … and a small company can provide the content that people can engage with for a fraction of what the mass media market can .. but the key here is engagement, if I watch it , it is of value … how many times does the content producers play with us with the big fan fare with the new release, the new series, for a industry that is about the production of content .. with so much experience, you would think they would know what the formulae is and get it right more often .. but they so rarely do … occasionally with the NCIS Franchise, Grey Anatomy and Castle they do .. the BBC is about quality (well it was) others are great as well and are successful, however the vast majority of series are just taking up the air time with OK content .. measured by the engagement of people like you and I, as a ratings sample .. as soon as the engagement falls below a set point, they walk .. but seriously, why can’t they get it right more often, after all its their business … they don’t get it right, because they are not listening to the market .. they are producing content for a market that is not listened too or valued.  Does this sound familiar … it should be, it the song that corporations with flawed structures and cultures sing every day in all market segments that are only driven by a short term business view.

Hollywood, the TV Networks and the content producers are in denial, if they think they are in somehow a special case .. technology now has the ability to deliver digital pictures to a mobile device via a GSM or Wireless device .. by next year as the broadband speeds increase by factors of ten, or even multipliers by a 100 times, this will become the norm .. Goodness guys and girls … the future is here … adapt or die.

I have written a number of posts on this subject, going back 4 almost 5 years –  the attitude between of the content producers is desperation, they have almost no original stories that fit the Hollywood mold, and so the content producers regurgitate the same old formulae’s again and again … they do not rely on innovation, they rely on the past to provide their profit for the future … this reminds me of a old example but a good one, how do you think the last manufacturer of buggy whips did at quality control, through, over time, mergers and buy outs, I bet the last manufacturer produced the absolute best   product in the world, in what is defined as a shrinking. niche market, a long way from the Hey Day … we are seeing the same again … Hollywood is producing technically great content, all fluff and wonder, with almost no substance .. all fluff .. and relying on technical tricks, like 3D to enhance the viewing experience, it is not viable to do this .. I paid on 2009 for an adult and one child $40 for the tickets for Avatar .. (not including drinks, travel or parking ) … this is not sustainable.

Putting you content in a box, and controlling access, cannot and will not work in the digital world, this is a paradigm shift ladies and gentlemen, there are plenty of business models that will work, with this new technology, find another business model, even people of the Internet and New Media industry such as Google understand this, for instance, Eric Schmidt ex: Google CEO – “Free is better than cheap” work with adjacent income streams. This maybe an anathema to you, but it is reality.

Hollywood and its compatriots needs to realise that the dollar well is not bottomless, out here in the real world, money is not abundant (well nothing is really in the physical world) you have to appeal to your customers real needs and desires, I wrote a post about the current content production and MPAA  here …. which focused on the real situation of the motion picture content production industry .. their current healthy status and view of the future, please ladies and gentlemen, I do not want to be the one that says I told you so when a corporate liquidator is going through your asset list and seeing what they can make a return on .. do take note.

I have found another article on content and changes necessary by Jim Louderbeck, that brings more to this subject, I would suggest you look at it here

Is Bit Torrent really a threat for Old Media ?

March 16, 2011 3 comments

Whilst on the surface the Bit torrent application using Peer to Peer technology has the capacity to do harm , again I look at the response to this in a productive viewpoint, how can the studios benefit from this obvious market potential …

For software applications, it is only a threat if the license key operates with the software –  this comes back to the software providers own encryption and licensing software system.

For Video, it is obvious, from the numbers of users, it is well proven point that there is a market for TV shows and Movies … this can be shown by the number of Torrent participants in the data stream … why isn’t it an option to pursue, that the content producers offer a legal stream of product, such as the Australian ABC does when product is broadcast within Australia, OK it is downgraded and in Mp4 Video format, but for those who have missed the show, or want to keep it for their amusement, what is the harm ? – it is a domestic only quality. Alternatively I can view the content in high quality using the i-View program replay service … for a limited time ?  Excellent interactive relationship for a transparent relationship with your customer.

For those outside of the studios primary market, which is primarily that of the continental USA, it is impossible to gain access to the content legally –  due to the Networks own licensing restrictions, people outside the studio zone, cannot view the product on-line … so the Bit torrent Software was born and is used as a response to this limitation. I am speaking primarily here of TV programs, the software allows someone to upload a program that was in the Public Domain, as it has been broadcast, so they can viewed in another geographic zone … In Australia none of the Video Streaming services allow access to the content for users in Australia, due to licensing issues, why is this ? Surely if I was subscribing to a US content provider –  streaming content, my own internet id (Geo location) would identify what geographic zone I was in, and thus my licensing region, and thus the content licensee for this zone … in my view the money I pay for access could be quite easily sent to the applicable country license holder for a particular content, by the i/p address as a subscriber … you guys need to start thinking outside of the box, and there is a substantial  increase in income that will flow once you do something so simple, for no appreciable increase in costs, as well as the increase in net due to increases in good will and lack of a confrontation relationship and the lack of a divisive enforcement arm – which lacks any credibility.

Stripping of a DVD to obtain the Video Stream is something that is another kettle of fish all together, as it was a licensed program, for one viewer only (household) –  I can see the harm here, all though it is no way to take as credible the loss of income the studio pundits claim, you cannot view the numbers and directly equate them to lost profits. However I do not agree with the commercial use of the Bit Torrent service where people pirate these streams to produce pirate copies to DVD’s …. however from the research I have undertaken, talking to users past and present, for a single user .. I have been told by many people I have spoken to actually go onto to buy legitimate licensed products, using the downloaded product as a trial if you like.

The content creators themselves have used the Bit Torrent facility, in the recent past and continue to do so. Recently there was the much heralded release of almost the final installment of a major franchise – (one more to go) … a program full topped and tailed (a teaser .. less than 40 minutes long) was released onto the Bit torrent before the theatrical release date … I have written about this as a use by the studios, when it suited them as a “legitimate marketing channel”, they used the Bit torrent facility, that obviously created interest and did make a positive difference at the box office.

However, by creating scarcity, the studios, the content creators / providers have created a secondary market that is so substantial –  what is their response, instead of being constructive and transparent, and working with the internet, to provide a access channel to provide access to this content, they go to these facilitator organisations that further exacerbate the situation, they troll the internet for alleged offenders. I have been so informed that the content providers / studios supposedly farm out their enforcement to self styled cowboys who I have been told send out unsubstantiated claims of infringement … for which they have no way of gaining anything positive from, except that it creates distance between the two parties and a them and us mentality. Nothing will be resolved … hopefully though, we are looking for a solution here … right ?

Surely if the studios, created a way whereby people could legitimately download a copy of the content, a downgraded quality for free or via something like an i-store or similar content provider at a reasonable cost of say $1 per TV episode (bear in mind there is no medium and the user pays for the data downloaded), the problem would essentially evaporate ….. or provide a encryption licensed video feed on something like a i-View format file, to provide the content …. or invest in a new Video file format that could not be hacked with a one user only encryption key.

Further to these claims of loss that is put forward by the license holders and their cowboys, this is substantially a fallacy, as it looks at the numbers of downloads and equates them to sold product at a sell price, this is such manipulation, as those downloads will not transfer to income unless the studio actually puts a 21st century procedure in to capitalise on this … if those that are seeking content could legitimately source product from the studios, free for a lower quality downloaded copy of pay for it at a reasonable price for a quality product then I believe the problem, much of these I am a victim mentality the content providers, particularly the spin the TV studios are pushing, is substantially a beat up and the problem would essentially evaporate.

If we view the actual financial performance of studio licensing, in context of the United States Balance of payments for 2008, 2009 and now in 2010 –  you can see increases in licensing income for overseas content sales which has increased over these years.

Incidentally there is only one major TV network in the USA that gets it … and coincidentally only one in Australia … that is making an attempt to provide access .. unfortunately the worst network is someone who should know better and I thought that they did

I wrote about this and other aspects of the affect of the internet on Old Media models in a white paper as far back as 2008 … with different ways to re-structure their business models even then, it is obvious that no one is yet ready to see a solution here and start thinking outside of the box now or then.

My view of the Internet and Older business models, is a couple of things, (1) The internet user demands a different relationship with content providers & (2) Use the internet to form communities, and build a sustainable interactive relationship – this is its strength (3) Please think outside the box … you cannot win this – make some money by approaching it another way … and what you can do best, that is to produce excellent content .

My advice to the studios, capitalise on the opportunity …. focus on your craft instead of sending all your profits to the lawyers.

News Limited – Daily

February 5, 2011 Leave a comment

I know that it is the essence of business to explore every option, but this niche opportunity that News is exploring to me verges on wishful thinking.

With the introduction of a new product for a very limited closed product market, namely for the Apple iPad. A very niche market … So what happens when a new hardware tablet is produced, a new “Daily” ?

A brave new venture to say the least, in my humble opinion the likelihood of payback and ultimate success is remote, when there is so much other content out there (all accessible via RSS and free),as well it harks back to the old media mentality of a closed channel for information. This is not how it works, and it is not viable to think that way anymore. Nor are pay walls … but that is seriously another discussion about flawed market strategies and tactics altogether.

In their favour News Limited / Fox will be able to provide a very wide and diverse content from news, comments and media content, but will that be enough, my view is that you cannot transpose old media structure on the internet, its about time that Fox and News Limited actually woke up to this. The internet is not about closed systems., something also which Facebook will learn, if it doesn’t evolve.

Concerning the future, if there is one, The Daily itself, will News have control over content –  or will Apple have some say ? Is it going to be skewed or politically biased like other News Limited content ? Also advertising on a subscription service will be needed to create long term viability –  would you pay for a subscription and at the same time be bombarded with advertising ?  Or turn it around, offer the subscription to the magazine without Adverts or no subscription with adverts… and why only for the iPad .. ?

The only good things that I see here is that News is doing it at all – it will have to evolve or die (after MySpace and their fiddling and controls .. what of this ? ) the thing that is innovative about this new venture, is that a subscription service actually exists to provide content under the Apple iTunes / Apps store, now that is a a new horizon to explore.  Good luck with that.

Broadcasters need to change – to stay relevant and viable

December 4, 2010 Leave a comment
I wrote the below to a company in the UK about their response to a submission of mine.
 

“ I am not sure you will read this, but I am taking the chance you may, I have been all across media, from Radio, Television and Content production, now more focused on strategy for current and future delivery systems, and how companies, particularly those former monopolistic media companies, such as Television will survive and prosper.

What I wonder, and perhaps you can enlighten me, why Traditional (old) media does not view the Internet as a partner instead of a threat, it is the ideal resource to allow them to form “true” partnerships, rather than the current viewpoint of most broadcasters where they treat these “communities” in anything but an accountable and collaborative way, they either totally ignore their feedback or treat them as a target for Email fodder… the potential for the internet to build support, communities and a future (though a more accountable and transparent one) for old media is there, it is profound, it just needs to be tapped with the right strategy.

Traditional (old) Media needs to be more open and inclusive, they need to provide content that their customers (which isn’t the advertiser) want to view, value them and treat them with respect, why not to start with a treat,  for example, like asking your customer base what they want to see, or how they see this character or that character or that relationship develop, this is the essence of the difference between old and new media ( although the whole idea of being tied to the end-user would be impossible and abhorrent for a really creative soul, Broadcasting is not about true creativity … it is about putting bums on seats ), however if those in Broadcasting are not responsive with a collaborative strategy, traditional media will be about as relevant to the future of content production and delivery, as the current manufacturer of buggy whips are to mass transit.

Old media has to become relevant to the future, they need to stop lamenting about their past glories. For instance the Internet, will not have in the short term, the capacity to deliver product to all, as Television and Cable / Satellite technologies do…I wrote a paper about this and other new growth business models back in 2008, though currently some aspects are changing, conventional broadcasters do have a real positive, and that is unlimited “connections” if you like, the true mass media model, something that under current and short to medium term prediction of capacity, the internet does not – but that gives old media a breather, it is not a reprieve.

Broadcasters need to change direction, as I guess I am doing, re-inventing themselves in a new guise, they need to find a different business model – but I guess my point is, just as in the past, the dire predictions from the other old media such as Radio and Cinema has had to do, they had to find a different way to prosper, they will have to specialise, but first of all they need to listen.

When Rupert bought MySpace .. it was a disaster waiting to happen (and I thought so then when I wrote this and this about Fox and old media), MySpace is now floundering because of the stereotypes and the inflexible and unrealistic short term strategies that Fox tried to impose on the organisation – Fox, like many in the industry are just not structured or psychologically equipped to operate in the internet, as they like most conventional media is looking for the quick fix, the magic bullet, when there is none

They need to face and change, not only change to their structure and the organisation, but more importantly to their old viewpoints, a true change of culture is needed … do get with it, please remember what century you are in ( I am saying that a lot lately ),  your consumers do not want what you think is best or spin, they want respect and to be valued, especially the future generation s –  the up and coming new consumers, including my sons ‘Y” generation  … respect them, ask them what they want and listen and that will help you mold your future.

There is so much more to this .. but finding someone who will even listen, and is open to the inevitable changes needed, that will make them a force in the future is almost impossible to communicate to those who can make the change – now that is irony.

I don’t really want to be the one to say I told you so when it all crumbles and the jackals are there looking to the future picking over the remains of the carcass of old media.

Thoughts anyone –  or send me an Email

Symptoms of Inner Peace

September 16, 2008 Leave a comment

I have started a new job – with a J Curve you couldn’t believe and the hours
merge into days – so when someone said – “remember yesterday morning” – seriously though, I don’t remember it as a morning – rather it is just a haze.. its even worse when someone asks what day it is…. no idea.

This can’t go on – so now it is time to discipline my working and break time,
including meditation, sleeping, reading –good food and exercise.


THE SYMPTOMS OF INNER PEACE

by Saskia Davis

Be on the lookout for symptoms of inner peace. The hearts of a great many
have already been exposed to inner peace and it is possible that people
everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose
a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of
conflict in the world.

        Some signs and symptoms of inner peace:

                    * A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than
                       on fears based on past experiences.
                    * An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
                    * A loss of interest in judging other people.
                    * A loss of interest in judging self.
                    * A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
                    * A loss of interest in conflict.
                    * A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
                    * Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
                    * Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
                    * Frequent attacks of smiling.
                    * An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make
                      them  happen.
                    * An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well 

                      as an uncontrollable urge to extend it.

 

 

WARNING:
If you have some or all of the above symptoms, please be advised that your
condition of inner peace may be so far advanced as to not be curable. If you
are exposed to anyone exhibiting any of these symptoms, remain exposed only
at your own risk.

Ballmer sees the end of print media in ten years

June 6, 2008 Leave a comment

Mike Ballmer – CEO of Microsoft, has now gone out on a limb and made some pretty bold predictions in a recent discussion with Washington Post editors, the biggest of which, by far, is his proclamation that he thinks there’ll be “no media consumption left in 10 years that is not delivered over an IP network.

Well we can always have both – this “death” forecast was around with the introduction of Television, it predicted the demise of both Radio and Cinema – “didn’t happen” – they just changed and they are still very profitable market (in normal economic circumstances), Cinema is even better in tight economic times.

The death of TV – has been predicted – sorry don’t buy this either see my previous on this at my previous on Broadcasting and the Internet.

The death of media as we know it  – sorry I don’t buy that either – the thing is (1) I don’t imagine that he will be around in 10 years to be questioned on it  (2) There will always be niche markets for every kind of media – if on the other hand he had said no newspapers (as we know them today)  consumption maybe I might agree with him. But they will be there in a different form – perhaps on your mobile phone or such.

I didn’t think my prediction about someone predicting the end of media would come to fruition so soon – see here

Here is the link for Steve Ballmer (CEO of Microsoft) Steve Ballmer statement

There Is Still A Great Future For Print Newspapers

June 5, 2008 Leave a comment

The basic message, as told by Gavin O’Reilly, President of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), is that newspapers are not being reinvented, they are simply going through evolution.

Gavin O’Reilly had a very much “take no prisoners” approach – he blames financial analysts and media commentators for spreading misconceptions about the newspaper industry.  I consider as usual the hype that surrounds industry that are involved in the Internet that they are all things to all people. 

The next thing that will happen is the someone in authority at Google or Yahoo or perhaps even Microsoft will come out with a statement that within 5–10 years all media, no doubt electronic and publishing  will out through the Internet.

What utter rubbish.  I know that he was speaking to the converted here as if the Publishers don’t believe in their own businesses then who will.

However I do consider that the future of Newspapers will have to change – to evolve – to have a significant online presence.

Anyway the content of the article is here – Future of Newspapers

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