Good Question

Emmy Advanced Media – Television Business News: Who Are The Real Pirates?
Shelly asks a good question that the media companies should be asking themselves. Particularly the music companies. In essence, they need to realize that fair use is fair and good and people WANT media on their own terms.
From the post:
How many times will you buy the same master file? That question is being answered every day on P2P networks, via email and podcasts. Obviously, some consumers are willing to pay for the convenience of not having to bother converting their own files to be used in all of their devices. But there are far more consumers who would rather not pay for the same thing over and over again.

Future of Television Conference

Beyond TV: Next Generation TV
So, I went to the Future of Television conference a couple of weeks ago and was somewhat suprised. Last year, I poked my head in to see what was being discussed and it was a big snooze. After checking out the website, I figured it was worth my time this year so I went.

Wow.. I was surprised. You wouldn’t know it but there are people in TV who really “get it”… Larry Kramer from CBS most notably get’s it.

Here is what I had to say on the day of:
I am writing from Future of Television Conference at NYU’s Stern School of Business today. I am here for several reasons, first of all I would like to know what the networks and traditional media concerns think of the scrappy interactive folks. Second, I am here doing recon. Specifically, I would like to know how long video bloggers and other decentralized media creators have before traditional media begins to offer enough of what they are doing to satiate “consumers”. (Perhaps that is not exactly my fear but close enough for now.)

First of all, I have to say that Larry Kramer gets it. He really does. He is open to experimentation. At CBS he has launched many interactive initiatives from a broadband news channel to podcasts of daytime soaps to fantasy sports sites to deep entertainment content add-ons to viewer/user photo posting to writer and producer blogs to actual audience participation through SMS. Phew..

CBS isn’t the only media company doing this type of experimentation. The other networks, cable and broadcast are doing the same or similar. Notable is ABC News Now, ESPN, Playboy and the like.

The question is, whether or not this is enough. Will this engage and empower viewers enough to keep them despite the ever growing number of alternative content channels. The networks certainly know how to deliver programming to a passive audience. They are just beginning to support a more engaged and digitally connected viewer.

A later speaker in the day, IBM’s Saul Berman described the audience by categorizing them in 3 camps. “Massive passives”, the folks that CBS has always served, lean back, over 35, want to be entertained but don’t feel compelled to buy the latest gadget or create their own media.

The next camp, arguably the focus of most of these efforts he described as “Gadgetiers”. He describes this group as heavily involved in content, they are fans, will seek out other individuals who are interested in the same content they are. They will purchase the latest devices, use time shifting (TiVo) and will space shift (TiVo To Go). They are also the heavy buyers, the early adopters, in short, the people that the advertizers (and therefore the networks) covet.

It remains to be seen whether what the networks are starting to do will appeal to this group in the long run. In the short term, it is clear, if you put it out there they will come. How long they stay is another matter.

The last camp, the “Kool kids”, the ones really getting all of the attention, are the hardest to understand. He suggests that this is the group that rejects DRM and “walled gardens”, in short, the group that wants media on their own terms. This is the group that uses P2P software and is heavily social. They have dream devices that aren’t out in the market as of yet.

I know that the kks (short for “Kool kids”) are what have network executives up at night. They are the hackers and inventors who are really driving the internet. TV and media in general will fit into their game or be disregarded.

Ok.. So the big question at the end of the day? Will the cable and TV networks run scared and do everything possible to protect their business models or will they embrace the new like they must. My feeling after this conference is that they have learned something from the music industry and will try to embrace but there will still be a major shakeup and Yahoo! and Google just might become the “new” networks. Good or bad.

David Pogue writes “What’s Holding Back the Digital Living Room?”

What’s Holding Back the Digital Living Room? – New York Times
In the article he posits a couple of theories ending up with:
Could it be that the digital living room concept is equally flawed–and all Silicon Valley’s horses and all Asia’s men are barking up the wrong tree?

Perhaps I am jaded today but I think the concept that Silicon Valley is pushing forth is flawed for many reasons. First and foremost is that entertainment companies don’t understand interactivity (games aside) and tech companies don’t understand entertainment, specifically that their content doesn’t *work* on TV.

After saying all of that, I do believe that there is a way to “infect” the entertainment industry with interactive technology. Some day I will let you all know how. ;-)

The Participatory Generation

The Lives of Teenagers Now: Open Blogs, Not Locked Diaries – New York Times
NY Times is running an article about a recent Pew survey that is demonstrating that teenagers have embraced publishing media online. From myspace and the like to creating their own websites featuring music remixes, videos and so forth.

They have become the participatory generation.

From the article:
According to the Pew survey, 57 percent of all teenagers between 12 and 17 who are active online – about 12 million – create digital content, from building Web pages to sharing original artwork, photos and stories to remixing content found elsewhere on the Web. Some 20 percent publish their own Web logs.

That reality is now inextricable from the broader social, cultural and sometimes, as in Melissa’s case, deeply personal experience of being a teenager. And it is one that will undoubtedly have profound implications for the traditional managers of content, from big media companies and libraries to record labels, publishers and Hollywood.

[Later in the article]

The Pew survey shows “the mounting evidence that teens are not passive consumers of media content,” said Paulette M. Rothbauer, an assistant professor of information sciences at the University of Toronto. “They take content from media providers and transform it, reinterpret it, republish it, take ownership of it in ways that at least hold the potential for subverting it.”

OMDS Article

TECTONIC: How will you consume your open media?
Michael Sharon has written a nice article summarizing the Open Media Developers Summit.
From the article:
Two weeks ago, on a rainy Friday and Saturday in October, 65 programmers and developers debated these and many other questions at the first Open Media Developer’s Summit held at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) in down-town Manhattan.