GDAY WORLD 160 – Digital Hollywood :: Day One

Hey Folks, Cam in LA doing a quick update from the Digital Hollywood conference. My raw notes are below if you can make any sense out of them.

Web 2.0 – The Next Iteration: How Next Generation Personalized Media is Rewiring the Web – User Generated Media, Programmable Web, Podcasting, Mashups & Blogging – Transforming and Disassembling the World of Traditional Media, Communications & Advertising
Erik Flannigan, Vice President, Programming for Moviefone, AOL Music, AOL Radio and AOL Television, AOL LLC
Dan Monahan, Global Infotainment Segment Manager, Mobility Products Group, Intel, Inc.
Kris Jacob, EVP of Business Development, Sales and Marketing, PodShow
Erik Hawkins, CEO, Pure Video
Rodger Raderman, co-founder and Chief Marketing & Product Officer, Veeker
Gilles BianRosa, CEO, Azureus
Tim Chang, Principal, Gabriel Venture Partners, Moderator

Tim Chang from Gabriel Venture Partners moderating.

Gilles BianRosa, CEO of Azureus – says the application has been downloaded 128 million times. They are releasing a new version in a couple of weeks which will support DVD-quality movie distribution. They have signed deals with a bunch of movie studios.

Kris Jacob, EVP Sales, Podshow, says they outright own 3000 shows out of the 60,000 shows available on Podshow.

Tim Chang, the VC perspective – it’s all BS. Web2.0 is a shell game. Thinks this is definitely a bubble from an investment perspective but not a bubble from an innovation perspective.

What’s changed in the last few months apart from YouTube being acquired?

Kris – massive change in audience behaviour. Podshow is doing millions of downloads a month, more than many mainstream media companies.

The quality of consumer generated content is getting better.

How big is the window to being acquired? Longer than people think and not as long as we’d like. The GEMAIIA exit isn’t the only opportunity – there are lots of media companies out there who need to re-invent themselves.

What does the new value chain look like? Will the consumers want to download media from the operators or use some other kind of broadband access and make do from hotspot to hotspot?

You can incubate shows and talent. What’s happening to media now happened to music over the last couple of years.

Yahoo and AOL are thought of already as "old media".

Yahoo and AOL are very programming oriented. Google is building an intelligent machine that allows user to find what they want and advertisers to find the customers they want to connect to.

Is it all advertising? The same as 1999? It’s a very solid business model.

What has happened in the last ten years is that we’ve broken the bond between the hosts of mainstream media shows and the audience. Who wins? The audience. They are now creating their own programming. 80% of Podshow’s advertisers are conventional advertisers.

What does advertising 2.0 look like? It has to become more relevant to the audience.

The movie called "The Island" has more product placement than any other film out there. GM should have paid $30 million for the placement in the film. Reality TV is using product placement in a way that is insulting.

User requested ads. User generated ads.

What other innovations in terms of business models?

"Freemium" model – what are the premium aspects that are working? Flickr is a good model. But the key model today is free to the audience and supported by advertisers.

"For Pay" programming. A big move by mainstream media to Direct to consumer propositions. Now they are looking for ways to not only control the programming but ways to control the conversation around the programming around that as well. The Podsafe Music Network have had 200 million "spins" (plays of tracks in podcasts) in 12 months.

People are used to paying for things on their mobile phone. How does advertising move to the phone and how does subscription move to the web? Perhaps Web3.0 is when the PC, the network and the mobile phone all come together.

How does mobile effect Web2.0?

Intel are focused on the usage of Web2.0 and how the different user communities access their Web2.0 services. Focusing on the 15 – 35 user demographic. What are the models that are going to fly for these users? It’s only a matter of minutes before the connected iPod is out there, the Zune is coming out. What will people carry with them and how will that affect monetization? Users are frustrated with their mobile devices and aren’t surfing the web on them.

When Pure Video made their video formatted for the PSP, 24% of hits came from it straight away.

In Europe, the mobile manufacturers have more control than they do in the US. The Nokia N61 came out in Europe with inbuilt 802.11 and a podcasting application. When Cingular launched the same phone in the US recently, they turned the wi-fi off.

Podshow considers themselves an "independent media company".

What’s after YouTube? Social networks start to re-verticalize? YouTube is unstructured. Structure will come back, similar to what happened in print. People want more context, not less. Privacy might become an issue. Look at Gmail watching what you write. Employers reading kids MySpace sites before an interview. The world is going to get very interesting when you have portable devices which can record video, and be connected to communities. Lots of advertising models to play out.

Web3.0: true integration with models. better ad models. old media buyer. deeper richer segments. tastemakers become important around search.

You need to start your start-up knowing how you are going to make money. Create something of value to the user. This time around you don’t have the same capital it required in Web1.0.

It’s all about the team you have around you.

Despite the rise of social networking, are the kids of today becoming less social? Will kids get to a point when they say "hey I’ve logged 10,000 hours on YouTube watching basically the same video over and over and it hasn’t made my life any better. I’ve got 40,000 friends on MySpace and I haven’t met a single one of them in person. Stop the insanity."

Answer from the panel – no. We’re just all going to get dumber and dumber.

Session: Blogs, Mashups, Social Media, Wikis, and RSS as Mass Media – Blog Movements as Agents of Change
David Hyman, CEO and founder, MOG
Howard Kaushansky, founder and President, Umbria
Tom Gerace, CEO, gather.com
Louis Moynihan, Director of Strategy and Development, Pheedo
Chase Norlin, CEO, Pixsy Corporation
Mike Brown, Principal, Partech International
Michael Raneri, CEO, MeeVee, Inc.
Tom Merritt, Editor, CNET.com, Moderator

People edit Wikipedia without getting paid because they are passionate about the subject – we’re in an economy of passion.

Advertisers need to go where the audience is. YouTube and MySpace have reach much larger than the traditional TV networks, so the advertisers will have to move with the audience. If you can create good quality content and break it down by niche, you will be able to get advertisers.

Even most high profile independent bloggers aren’t making a living out of it yet. It’s a very, very small handful who are making a living from blogging.

If you’re an individual blogger, it’s going to be pretty challenging to make big money from advertising. It can be done but the odds are extremely slim. But they may get book deals or jobs with bigger media outlets. The demise of the resume and the rise of the personal brand.

Is anybody going to make garage sale size money? Yes, lots of people will be able to make $10 – 20 a month and already are.

With IE7 coming out last week, RSS adoption will explode over the next 6 months. The killer app (RSS) has been there for a while but most people just aren’t using it yet. Everyone is predicting RSS will explode now that it’s in IE7 and the branding has been changed to "feed".

Mashups – very cool but are they useful? They are creating fear in the hearts and minds of many companies out there. Chevy put up an online tool allowing people to make their own Chevy Tahoe ad – people made them saying Chevy was responsible for global warming and pollution. Those were the ads which were the most popular on YouTube. Another example – "Snakes On A Plane". Lots of user-generated trailers changed the actual film. Based on the popularty of the fake trailers, the producers put more sex and violence into the actual film. Red Bull put empty cans in the trash cans of popular night clubs.

Where is all this social content going? Who is going to become the gateway? Relevance and trust are big aspects of the success of social networks. If you ask your friends why they bought the last ten CDs or iTunes tracks they bought, they will tell you they were recommended by their friends as opposed to MTV. It’s about trusted voices. I threw in my ten cents during question time about whether or not search engines like Google are becoming the way people find the media they consume. Do they really need another gateway? The panel was mixed.

The best writer at the New York Times doesn’t make 1000 times the money as the worst writer at the NYT. But they should. We have an opportunity to re-distribute the funds according to who is producing the best content.

The consensus seems to be that the YouTube acquisition makes sense when you look at the revenue Google will generate through Adsense on YouTube.

Early Results of the TPN Oct 2006 survey

Beti the Excel Jedi (and the host of the TPN Health and Fitness podcast) has put together a nifty pps containing the results of the TPN Oct 2006 survey so far. I’ll leave it open for another few weeks but I think the results are already showing some interesting trends.

Some interesting things that popped out at me:

  • most people say that, on average, they listen to “most or all” of podcasts
  • about a third pay attention to ads in podcasts, but another third ignore them
  • 50% would be willing to pay >$1 a month to listen to TPN podcasts
  • the breakdown between people listening on a PC versus a portable player is moving away from the PC, with 75% listening on a portable device
  • nobody first heard of TPN via the mainstream media
  • the vast majority say they trust the opinions of TPN hosts either “very much” or “somewhat” and 70% trust TPN hosts more than they trust mainstream media (which might shut up all the journos who love to say “you can’t trust blogs”… nah who am I kidding… )
  • almost all of you relate to TPN hosts more than you relate to mainstream media hosts, yet again demonstrating the power of citizen media
  • two-thirds listen to less traditional radio since discovering podcasting (I should have asked what percentage of the podcasts you listen to are traditional radio shows versus citizen media… next time)
  • two-thirds find citizen media more stimulating than mainstream media
  • and, overwhelmingly, you are Beatles persons who disagree with the Iraq invasion and are worried about climate change. In other words, you haven’t been fooled by the propaganda campaigns on these issues run by your Governments and the corporations that run them. I am very proud of you.

Check out the early results.

And if you haven’t completed the survey yet, you still have a chance by going here.

From Melbourne Intl Airport

Gate 10. Melbourne International Airport.
Sniffer dogs sniffing at my bag. Maybe it’s the sunnies that give me away.
Number of people who have come up to me and said “Hey aren’t you that guy on the front cover of the Bulletin” = zero. I even spent ten minutes standing next to it at the newsagent here to tip people off… nada.
Couldn’t take my filtered water bottle on the plane. Apparently can’t get into the US with it in my carry-on. There goes my plan to stay hydrated on the flight.

Books I’ve got on in my bag to read on the flight:

Ideas: A History of Thought and Invention, from Fire to Freud by Peter Watson

Naked Lunch by William Burroughs

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

Also got The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki in the suitcase. No doubt that’s going to come in handy over the next month.

I hate flying. God I wish now I hadn’t bothered to watch the first two seasons of LOST. Here’s a question – if my plane crashes on a pacific island, which member of LOST do you think I’d be?

  • The natural-yet-unwilling leader everyone turns to?
  • The slick guy who collects all of the valuable stuff from the wreckage, sells it for a profit and is popular with the ladies?
  • The fat funny guy?
  • The weird philosophical guy who is good with knives but is keeping secrets?
  • The panicky guy who runs around saying “OH MY GOD WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!” and then starts figuring out who he is going to eat first?

Okay we’re boarding. Here’s goes 19 hours (Auckland stopover) of hell.

A Kids Guide to (Breast) Cancer

In early 2005, the wife of one of my oldest mates was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40 and spent most of that year undergoing treatment to overcome the disease. It was a harrowing year for them, their two young kids, family and friends. Fortunately, Lisa is now in recovery and doing well. Typically of Lisa, she turned her experience into something positive to help other people:

Lisa and Michael were unable to find a suitable children’s story book to help explain the illness and its treatment to their two young children so Lisa began a journal, and now, with the help of her son Harrison, she has turned this story into a children’s book about cancer as seen through the eyes of a 7 year old boy.

The book aims to assist parents in explaining the breast cancer journey to their children in an informative and entertaining way. It offers explanations of tricky medical terms, cancer treatments, medical personnel, and helpful hints for family and friends, opening up areas of discussion between parents, carers and children.

Three generations contribute to the making of the book. Lisa has written their story assisted by her son Harrison who is now 8. The story is supported with drawings also by Harrison and illustrations by his Nana, Lisa’s mother. It is suitable for children aged 3 to 10 years of age, and priced at $16.95.

The story book is self-published with strong endorsements including Doreen Akkerman from The Cancer Council of Victoria and Kerri Guy a member of Breast Cancer Network Australia. The publication is not for profit and net proceeds will be donated to these two Charities.  

If you’d like to get a copy of the book it’s called "My Mum Has Breast Cancer : A Family’s Cancer Journey" and is available from from Melbourne bookstore Book Street on +613 9598 5111 or  [email protected]

What Does Packer Know?

Unsurprisingly, most of the media chatter about PBL’s decision to sell off 50% of its media assets says the decision was made "so it can focus on expanding its international gaming business". Now I know James isn’t Kerry. But thing back. Kerry was the king of expert timing. He floated ecorp (aka PBL Online) about 6 months before the dot com crash. He cashed out of the stock market just before the 1987 crash. He famously sold Channel Nine to Alan Bond at the peak of Bond’s hubris and then bought it back a year later when Bond crashed.

So if this was Kerry selling PBL’s media assets I would be asking the following question: What Does Kerry Know That The Rest Of The Market Doesn’t Know?

Now, as I said, James isn’t Kerry. Maybe he has inherited his patriarch’s sixth sense, maybe he hasn’t.

But I suggest to you that "so it can focus on expanding its international gaming business" may be the explanation that Packer, and the rest of the media, what the market to think. What other reasons could there be? That the value of the Television and Magazine businesses have peaked? Is that a rationale even worth considering?

Here is your homework today kids: find a mainstream media analysis of the PBL sell-off which asks deep questions about the future value of the television and magazine business.

Austereo, Australia’s largest radio network, on the other hand, says the media buying frenzy has totally by-passed it.

"In response to media speculation following recent changes to media ownership laws, Austereo advises that it has not had any approaches from third parties," it said.

Wow, now there’s a surprise. No-one is overly-excited about buying a radio business. I wonder why?

Matriculate the walla mung

I figure I can’t be more than 2 degrees from Scott Adams. SOMEONE please arrange for me to have coffee with him while I’m in the US. His understanding of the male psyche astounds me:

Yesterday as I was deboarding a flight I peeked inside the cockpit and wondered that the f**k all those buttons and knobs and levers are all about. Seriously. Do they really need all of that?

It seems to me that the steering wheel thingamajig does about half of all the things the pilot needs to do: left, right, up, down. Then there’s the ON/OFF for the engines, some throttling, braking, wheels up/down, a few communications functions, maybe some climate controls and a few other odds and ends. But that’s about the same complexity as any car. And I’ll bet your car doesn’t look like the cockpit of a 747.

My theory is that the manufacturer throws in extra knobs and buttons and levers just to charge more. I’m guessing that the majority of aircraft designers, and most of the buyers, are males. I think I speak for all men when I say I would gladly pay extra for knobs and levers that are not attached to anything. I like knobs and levers. Buttons too. And if you toss in a few extraneous digital readouts and dials, I’ll just stand there and drool and hand you my wallet.

As I stood at the open doorway to the Valhalla of unnecessary controls, I began panting with unbridled, genetically induced technology lust. I wanted to drag the pilot out of his uber-cool seat, put on his headphones and start poking and prodding things just to see what happened. Compounding my jealousy was the fact that the pilot and copilot were going through some sort of shut-down procedure that could not have sounded more technologically attractive. I don’t recall the details, but it sounded roughly like this:

Copilot: “Power down the main thruster modules.”

Pilot: “Check.”

Copilot: “Reset the navigation framajam.”

Pilot: “Check.”

Copilot: “Depressurize the tale fin metaskeleton.”

Pilot: “Check.”

Copilot: “Matriculate the walla mung.”

Pilot: “Did you just make that one up?”

Copilot:  “Sometimes I invent names for the buttons that aren’t attached to anything.”

Pilot: “Roger that.”

Cam’s Geek T-Shirt brought to you by Skylook

I’ve been meaning to tell you the story behind the now-infamous "GEEK" t-shirt that I’m wearing on the Bulletin cover. That shirt was actually given to me by my mate Jeremy Hague from Netralia, the Melbourne-based start-up who built the first cool tool to record Skype calls, Skylook. The Netralia boys printed up 500 of these shirts to give out at a conference about six months ago and Jeremy saved one for me. On the back of the shirt it has the Skylook URL. So anyway I’ve been wearing the shirt around town and it usually gets a few laughs (or cringes) from people but I just *knew* it was the perfect shirt for the Bulletin shot.

Speaking of Skylook… there is a new version out which has some serious improvements to the older versions. The monitoring window has more features, including the ability to turn the recording off without killing the actual Skype call, and you can also change the bitrate and format for the recording. Lots of cool features and perfect for podcasters.

GDAY WORLD #159 – Goodbye Australia!

Today’s edition is my last podcast from Australia – at least for a while. My guests are Richard Giles and Tony Goodson.

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