Home: Internet TV

The Liability Circle of Copyright Filtering Technorati icon

June 9, 2007 | Filed under: Internet TV

If you complain once more, you'll meet an army of meI feel for Microsoft and the other companies trying to integrate the co-called 'copyright filtering' (a term which makes it sound nice and simple like looking for naughty words in a  text file) technologies.

My time at Kazaa trying to integrate these tools gave me a rich appreciation of how messy the process is.

Of course these are just technical issues and can be solved in time.

The real problem is, these days there is a good chance you will get sued if your solution is less than perfect. And who will take that responsibility? Liz Gannes' report on NewTeeVee encountered this problem:

"We called Microsoft to ask what was going on. You should talk to Audible Magic, they said; our system is only as good as their index. We called Audible Magic, who essentially blamed Microsoft, for only implementing the audio version of its software."

This is a technologically challenging problem that is clouded by lawyers designing the software either directly or vicariously via contracts and settlements. Everyone else is busy thinking about how to best cover there ass instead of building copyright filtering solutions that work.

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Posted by Phil Morle at 12:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Revver to Begin P2P Downloads of Video Content Technorati icon

April 26, 2007 | Filed under: Internet TV

Revver has made the inevitable decision to begin using P2P to for video content downloads. I suppose I have a unique perspective on this because I have both done the business planning to launch a new video content business and I was CTO of Kazaa - a humungous P2P network.

The video distribution business is a very tough one. Not only do viewers generally expect the content to be free, creators (rightfully) expect to get a cut of ad revenue. Of course, this is no different to any kind of user-generated-content business, but video is more difficult due to expensive bandwidth bills, processsing requirements (to render correct formats etc), copyright filtering, etc. Revver must be spending bucket loads of money.

Now Google Video and YouTube are united and underwritten by Google's revenues from elsewhere, Revver needs to move towards making money and differentiate itself by offering more of a payback to content creators in the hope of attracting the best stuff.

Problems they are going to face:

1) Getting users to install a P2P application. Most video viewers are snatching a few minutes to watch something someone sent them. They will be difficult to convince to install.

2) Managing the value equation for users. Downloads are cheaper for Revver because users pay for the uploads. Will they be compensated? Will uploaded MB per user have a ceiling? 

I'll be interested to see if its mandatory or an optional component with some payoff for the user. e.g. get higher quality downloads if you use P2P.

Anyone know what happened to Dijjer? I am pretty sure Revver originally used Dijjer as a P2P platform before YouTube went large and Revver needed to compete without problems 1 and 2 above. 

Beet.TV has the scoop.

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Posted by Phil Morle at 8:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Want to Start Your Own TV Station: Answers Technorati icon

April 10, 2007 | Filed under: Internet TV

AIMIA has published the overflow answers to the panel discussion on the future of TV. Here they are.

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Posted by Phil Morle at 2:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Joost the Real Competition for NBC Universal / News Corp? Technorati icon

March 23, 2007 | Filed under: Internet TV

simpsons

Techmeme is alive with comments that the new NBC/News video offering will be a YouTube killer but it seems to me that Joost is more likely in its cross-hairs. YouTube has short, 10 minute, user-generated videos. The quality is uncertain but the abundance of content is compelling. NBC/News is going for the packaged, channel-based, quality offering of video content once the sole domain of broadcast television - just like Joost.

Its like Verizon and BT getting together when Skype was in beta to create a desktop VOIP client. Looks like the media companies are learning.

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Posted by Phil Morle at 10:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Ads in Video Get Twice Click-through Technorati icon

March 22, 2007 | Filed under: Internet TV

Beet.tv is talking about a new eMarketer survey which finds that regular ads within video get twice the click through. This is the kind of thing Revver does to monetise the content.

Intuitive: the site has the user's gaze on that part of the screen from watching the video so it makes sense that more click because more see the ad.

Good: Most people don't get to the end of a video so probably the percentage of people who get to the end and click is even higher.

Bad: The video costs more than twice as much as a web page to serve so double isn't enough. Also, a page can hold more than one ad.

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Posted by Phil Morle at 9:37 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Create Your Own TV Network: Report from the Panel Technorati icon

March 21, 2007 | Filed under: Internet TV

hes watching you

I had a great time last night participating in a panel discussion organised by AIMIA on creating your own TV network. Thanks to everyone that came down to the Shelbourne Hotel. We discussed how the internet is making new things possible and focussed on the opportunity to set up new video content businesses.

It was a pleasure to catch up with Mark Pesce again after more than ten years. We last saw each other in Madrid in 1996 at the Cyberconf. He's a passionate and clever bloke and always good to hear in a debate.  Last night he advocated the ability of individuals to get there stuff out there and build an audience using Ze Frank as his case study. What is the 'value' of Ze Frank after a year of vlogging now he's as big as Jon Stewart? Mark also questioned the internet's ability to handle the load of a video dominated web - especially once Joost goes viral as many expect it will. 

I enjoyed meeting Tom Kendall from Of The World for the first time. He's not just talking about it, he's actually building an internet TV network and there's some good stuff there at oftheworld.tv. I love that the channels are presented full screen in the browser instead of the little screen that are so common. [Tom, I don't know if any of my shelved chatabox.tv thinking is of use to you?]

Ian Gardiner from VioCorp was an important component of the group because he represented the enterprise market. Unlike most of the internet video market that has to give stuff away, Ian is building a business around charging business customers for video products. He was also the most knowledgeable on the subject of large scale webcasting and talked about his experience webcasting the Mardi Gras this year as a pay-to-view offering. [Ian, this is the powerful streaming technology I refered to last night.]

As ever, Marty Wells was the voice of reason. There's a lot of hype about forming a startup and most of it is crap. He has a talent for clearly explaining why. He spoke alot about Purepwnage.com as an example of starting small with a strong idea, and then slowly scaling the business from there. With the videos served on Brightcove there is no serving cost to worry about and its monetised with advertising and merchandise. 

My big points where:

  • Forget the technology, focus on the idea instead of getting lost in the options in Adobe Premiere. You can make something great for free and become famous, at no cost. i.e. you don't even need a video camera.
  • The problem with podcasts, video blogs, etc is that they are not searchable, so the content can be invisible to the normal channels of discovery. Is that where Adam Curry went as all the discussion went to audio??
  • Don't try to control your content by keeping it on your own site. Accept that the internet's nature is copying, sharing, transfering and let it go. Let the users promote your stuff for you. Find a way of deploying the monetisation with the media so this doesn't matter.

Apparently there were quite a few tough questions via SMS that we will be answering today for publishing on the web later.  Watch this space.

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Posted by Phil Morle at 2:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Invitation: Jamming the Future of TV Technorati icon

March 19, 2007 | Filed under: Internet TV

pan-o-sonic

Friends, I am on a panel jamming the future of TV tomorrow night (Tuesday) at the Shelbourne Hotel, Sydney.  Come and join the debate!

Details here.

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Posted by Phil Morle at 10:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Answering Charlene... Technorati icon

February 24, 2007 | Filed under: Internet TV

Charlene asks what is taking Google so long to implement copyright filtering technology into YouTube...

My guess is that it isn't the implementation that is taking the time, its the phone calls with media company lawyers agreeing on details of the implementation.

It's interesting that they chose Audible Magic. In this game it's not all about finding the best solution, its about finding one that the content industries are already familiar and comfortable with. That's Audible Magic by a mile.

UPDATE: I should have called this "Answering Josh" because it comments on a post written by Josh Bernoff on Charlene Li's Blog. Sorry Josh! :-)

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Posted by Phil Morle at 8:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


AIMIA: Want to Start Your Own TV Station? Technorati icon

February 22, 2007 | Filed under: Internet TV

I am on a panel for one of AIMIA's NSW Intimates nights at the Shelbourne Hotel on March 20th talking about how television is changing. Come on down. It'll be fun! Register here.

Here's the blurb:

With improvements in bandwidth and a doubling of broadband subscribers over the last year it’s possible to broadcast video over the internet and capture a share of the market. With clever technology, broadband subscribers can enjoy quality video even when it’s played through a regular television set.


Viewers are abandoning traditional free-to-air TV preferring to watch online content wherever and whenever they want to. Recently, when 300 attendees at an industry forum were asked if they watched the evening news, only 5 put up their hands. A revolution in the distribution of video over the internet has begun.


Hear how local broadcasters and industry professionals are moving this space forward. Learn about the Australian business models for internet broadcasting, and how to deal with the technical and legal challenges.
AIMIA NSW Intimates is a forum intended to give attendees valuable knowledge about the digital media industry. You are invited to come and listen to 5 panelists, handpicked for their expertise on the topic, give you the low down. Ask questions via SMS from the floor and join in the lively discussion.


When & Where
Tuesday, 20th March, 2007
The Shelbourne Hotel, Altitude Level, 200 Sussex Street, Sydney.


6.30pm for 7.00pm start.
7.30pm Your chance to ask Qs and then back to mingling
10:30pm bar is closed.

Panelists: Ian Gardiner, Tom Kendall, Martin Wells, Phil Morle, Mark Pesce

Moderator: Scott Bradley-Pearce.

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Posted by Phil Morle at 1:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)


Chatabox.TV: Start Here Technorati icon

February 19, 2007 | Filed under: Internet TV

As you know, I canned Chatabox.TV as an active project last week. It seems a bit of a waste to leave the ideas on the D: drive after a decision like that so I thought I'd put some of the main documents up for comment and interest for other people. I've introduced each document in italics at the start of each piece.

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Posted by Phil Morle at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Chatabox.TV: Product Description Technorati icon

| Filed under: Internet TV

This was an early document to describe Chatabox. It outlines a simple use-case that was centered on a citizen journalism model.  I found that the problem with this example was that it didn't show potential to reach a mass-market. Some obsessed on it as an example and assumed that the market was niche.

Real People. Real Places. Real Things

Chatabox is a social TV network, built upon proven internet principles of social networking and user generated content which exploits viral business models.

Chatabox will 'crowdsource' content using software to make the process of gathering, sorting and editing fun and very simple.

Chatabox will pioneer video based citizen journalism before moving into other vertical channels such as how-to, travel and people.

Points of Difference

The Chatabox model has several unique features over other video products on the market today.

  • Video Clipping: Enables users to use clips from larger pieces of content in their own project as easy as quoting text from a blog. An API will allow other websites to enable clipping.
  • One-Click Studio: Make a TV show as easy as making a play-list.
  • Comment Layers: Add rich media layers to add to content.
  • Social Content management: Digg-like voting for the best content.
  • Social Viewing: Watch video together using chat and peer-to-peer distribution of content.
  • Full Ecosystem Economy: Everyone gets paid so everyone is incentivised to create, to consume and to spend.
  • Entertainment Experience: Rich, full screen experience.

Business Model

Chatabox will operate an ad-based business model. As well as exploring existing video ad engines, a proprietary system will allow users to advertise to each other for a fee in order to make more money for themselves from their videos.

Markets

Asia, US, Europe, Australia

Use Cases

To illustrate how it will work, I will begin with a use case.

JO lives in LA and carries his video camera everywhere. When he sees something interesting he shoots it. When he gets home, he uploads it to chatabox.tv. Today he has some nice shots of buildings and shots of a car accident on the interstate. He also finds a message asking all users in LA for footage of a demonstration that is happening the next day in Santa Monica. He decides to attend and get some footage.

JANE is an expert in LA news. She logs on and sorts through the clips that have come into her filter today. She spends 10 minutes looking through some clips and marks some as GOOD and some as BAD. The good ones are good enough quality to use in a larger piece and seem relevant. She also tags comments where appropriate. She wants to tell a story about the terrible road conditions in LA. She queues up some clips (one of them is the slip JO shot earlier that day) and opens her chatabox.tv studio. She sees the clips she has queued as well as transitions settings and titles she used last time. Also preset from her last session are her advert settings (where the ad will go and what category) and text feeds (RSS) that she would like to have scrolling (Bloomberg-like) across the screen in her show. She presses GO and records her 10 minute show. One-click later her show is aired.

JON lives in LA and is a video junkie. He opens chatabox.tv and immediately jumps into watching some shows because his first view is personalized to where he lives and what he is interested in. JANE's piece on the traffic is what he watches first. It is full-screen in his browser and is easy to operate. He thinks JANE is over-reacting and is incorrectly making claims about pollution. He presses record on his webcam and speaks into the camera. He sees his video layered on top of JANE’s show (it can be moved, disabled, etc). No one else sees this until Jane approves it. He then selects a clip which includes her claim and his response and pastes it into his blog.

JACKSON sees JON's blog and is angry. He clicks the link and jumps straight into JANES show at the correct spot. He sends a text message from inside chatabox to swarm his friends into the clip. Chatabox knows the best way to reach all his friends and sends links to their preferred device. Some get Skype IM’s, one gets an email and the rest get an SMS. They all swarm to chatabox.tv and watch it together. They don’t all agree but it is a great discussion. They variously leave comments on the piece and make clips for themselves to use in their own projects.

After one month, JANE’s show on LA traffic congestion has been watched 100,000 times. The ad revenue is split between her and JO, who provided the live footage.

Concepts

These are definitions for various concepts that will be discussed in this document:

Content

Clips

A clip is the smallest unit of content in Chatabox. It is usually unedited raw footage. Sources of clips:

· Uploaded footage of an event, interview, etc that can be used a primary footage in an edited story. Footage comes from browser or mobile phone upload. Also, cutaways and stock footage such as shots of buildings, crowds, planes, planes.

Shows

Clips are edited together to create shows. A show is a complete unit of entertainment. If shows are in a series (e.g. a video blog) they can be subscribed to.

Channels

Channels are collections of shows. Chatabox will launch with 3 main channels:

· News & Current Affairs.

· Lifestyle – cooking, places, travel.

· People – biographies, interviews.

· 2-3 broadcast TV stations who agree to allow clipping and do a deal with Chatabox (see Broadcast TV integration).

There will be a live stream of high quality video that will loop throughout a 24 hour period. It will have an electronic program guide and be distributed over p2p. Users will be permitted to watch 1 hour of live video without the p2p element and then they will be promoted to upgrade to he p2p component.

Channels will also feature on demand downloads of recent shows. Perhaps the last 7 days.

Initially channels will be created manually by Chatabox but we envisage a great many more channels and these should be created by users.

Comment Layers

Users can comment on a video with a ‘layer’ of their own content. This layer is anchored to the timeline. The comment can be:

· text based e.g. a translation,

· a tag (to help searching and linking to particular content)

· audio

· video

In the interface, the primary content can be viewed with one active comment layer at a time. The software will automatically mix between primary content and the comment layer. For example, a video comment will be superimposed over a portion of the screen and the sound on the main content will be reduced to give the comment prominence.

There is no limit to the number of comment layers that can be added.

The creator of the original video approves which layers go live with the content.

When clips are embedded in other websites the user can optionally include a comment layer.

Users

All users collaborate in the making of the Chatabox experience.

The Eyes

These are the users that upload clips. Some users may only do this and never try to edit things together

Storytellers

These are the users that create shows. They compile clips together into complete units of entertainment.

Swarms

A swarm is what occurs when a user calls his/her friends around a piece of content for collaborative viewing.

Functional Description

High Level Principles

Many video sites today resemble database applications and are quite different to the entertainment experiences which people are used to on their TV sets. Chatabox has its eye on the long term media consumption and will create a user experience that is rich – easily transportable to a plasma television in the living room as well as a laptop.

Videos will be generally full screen with fluid, transparent layers that can be shown and hidden by the user according to their specific needs. This is inspired to the experience of playing collaborative video games such as World of Warcraft.

The user interface can be shown as a layer above the main video content. Here you can see a chat window appeared during a swarm viewing of a news show. Also, some tags which have been attached to the timeline have just faded into view and the user can click on these to find related stories.

In addition to the previous configuration, this user has also displayed the comment channels for this story and selected JazzyB’s comment. When the comment appears on the timeline it fades into view and becomes the primary sound channel.

This is a news banner user interface that can present contextual information during a show. For example, show creators can integrate text RSS feeds into their show and it will scroll across the screen.

When a clip is paused the user gets the ability to interact with it. For example: marking an in-point to a clip.

Here you can see a possible Vista integration where the user can watch certain channels persistently and also view their inbox to get breaking news, new clips, etc.

The site should encourage link-clicking at all points to lead users on an interesting and enjoyable content discovery process.

It should be easy to embed appropriate elements into other websites. For example, take the electronic program guide (EPG) for a channel and embed it in a users MySpace page or blog.

All clips, stories and channels need simple links for easy social interaction.

Inbox

This area is where you go to find stuff that is of interest to you. If you are just a viewer you can configure this to list shows that you may want to watch each day. It’s your personal channel.

If you are a ‘storyteller’ you can come here to watch the clips you want to assemble into your shows. It’s an inbox. It’s a control hub. It’s part of the production line. Raw material comes in one end to multiple user’s inboxes and goes out the other side a little more refined, better described, clipped differently for specific usage. All users can vote on clips and shows that come into Chatabox.

Functional Requirements:

  • RSS feed so that you can watch your incoming media from any RSS application.
  • Easy Voting/Digging of new clips and shows.
  • Categorisation tools – tagging.
  • Ability to open a clip and re-clip it so that it can be used for specific purposes.
  • Filter configuration – users need to be able to refine the content that comes into the Inbox.

Studio

The Studio is where clips are combined, optionally with live footage, to make a complete show. Storytellers queue up their clips and configure other settings and then Chatabox builds there show.

  • Easy access to a playlist of clips that make up the show
  • Ability to tweak in and out points of clips
  • Set transitions
  • Set backdrop image/set
  • Record control for live camera and microphone

Player

The player is how media is viewed, but also the main forum for user interactivity and community.

  • Player Controls: Play/Pause, volume, etc. In collaborative contexts there needs to be the concept of who is in control.
  • Clipping: Users need to be able to set in and out points for clips and save them out to their clip lists.
  • Chatting: Chat with people in your viewing group.
  • Who’s watching in your group:
  • Invite people to group: It is envisaged that this will interface with other communication tools such as AIM, Skype, SMS, to pull people into watching content.
  • Comment Layers: Other users can add media to the parent content which will be displayed as a layer on top. Sound and vision will be mixed automatically. Comment layers can be clicked to link off to other content from the commenter.
  • Rating/Voting/Digging: Interface needed for users to mark what is good to assist others finding the best stuff.
  • Tag overlays: Tags can be set on the timeline to assist users searching within the video. Clips can be auto generated from this. Where tags have been set they can be optionally displayed as an overlay on the video. They are hyperlinked to search for similar shows and clips.
  • RSS overlays: Storytellers can assign RSS feeds to their content so that text information can be presented in the video screen to create a rich, Bloomberg-like experience.
  • Ads are displayed somewhere. It is envisaged that the system will need to support multiple display choices while we understand what users respond to best: post roll, pre-roll, ads around the content, in tags, etc.
  • Persistent comments: Comments can be made which are not on the timeline. Text comments should be available at any time. Video comments perhaps are played after the main content.
  • Share – embed – email – post to blog. Sharers can also optionally set what layers to display in the shared version and if they want to send the whole show or just a clip.

The Archives / The ‘Basement’

This is like the catacombs under the BBC! It is where all clips and shows can be found and added to clip playlists. Like all things in Chatabox it should be possible to update the content (metadata and re-clipping) as well as view it

  • Search by full-text or tag
  • Tag browsing
  • Category browsing
  • Geo-location browsing
  • Date browsing
  • Set search results as filter for Inbox

Search and browse results also show links to blogs and websites that have embedded video with this metadata, who is maintaining the content in this section the most.

Community

The community is the engine of Chatabox.

  • User homepages with lists to their content
  • Tutorials and demos
  • Resources to download
  • Forums for discussing content and also to discuss the creation process
  • Friends lists – Friend of a Friend (FOAF)
  • Look for friends – include mobile phone number and various IM – to send swarms.
  • Invite Friends
  • ‘Wanted’ Notice Board: Order clips – include ad ordering, chatabox briefs, etc. “I need some clips of New York at night.”

Broadcast TV Integration

Chatabox will do deals with some existing broadcast TV networks to allow users to take clips from them. This will most likely be limited – at least initially – to public broadcasters rather than cable or commercial networks. Channels would be recorded and made available only to users in the legal jurisdiction. A simple DRM will be in place to limit clips to a certain length set by the channel owner.

API Strategy

The main use for an API will be to allow other video services to provide the clipping functionality of Chatabox. This way, Chatabox users can refer to them and link back to the host site.

Codec strategy

The entire site will be created as a rich Flash application and video will be played as Flash Video by default.

Videos will also be available to download in as many formats as possible. A favourable default could be determined as a high quality download if Chatabox was to work with a particular media player.

Mobile phones integration

Mobile phone integration will be important for content acquisition, community and monetisation. For example, users could upload video (or a series of stills) from their phones, vote on small number of Inbox clips, etc.

Most interesting would be a way to request footage. For example,

a user can send a message to all users in LA (who opt in) to request footage of something happening that day/hour/minute in LA.

Monetisation

As a business that relies on user generated content it is important not to over-commercialise the product too soon and turn away users.

Advertising will be the main vehicle for revenue. This will include users making the ads for the advertisers.

Additionally:

  • Buy professional studio tools
  • Mobile phone upload and download data charges
  • Bill to phone/Premium SMS (video ring tones, voting)

Everyone Gets Paid!

Objective:

  • Make high quality, relevant content for less using the power of user generated content.

To do this, a financial model will be created that distributes the ad revenue between Chatabox, ‘Eyes’ and ‘Storytellers’.

Market

Chatabox would naturally be promoted to English language jurisdictions such as the US, UK and Australia. Additionally we will target key markets such as China.

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Chatabox.TV: A Powerpoint Technorati icon

| Filed under: Internet TV

This is the Powerpoint deck that I used most frequently when talking to people about the product. Usually, I just skipped to the middle bit where there were mockups of the product. People have heard the pre-amble about the opportunity in video a gazillion times.

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Chatabox Update Technorati icon

February 16, 2007 | Filed under: Internet TV

Some of you will know I have been thinking a lot over the past year about an internet video product for the social creation of content I call Chatabox. There's a mockup screen shown above.

Well, the news is that I have decided to suspend this project and pop it up on the dusty shelf in the 'Things that Never Happened' pile. I do this with only a little regret because I think an entrepeneur needs an idea I learned in theatre from the director Peter Brook: "Hold on tightly. Let go lightly". Its a great idea that says, hold onto your beliefs and your ideas, fight to make them real... but know when to let go and walk away.

In this case I have spent a year talking to various people in attempt to fund the dream becoming a reality, but now its just too late. The window has closed and there is too much competition to make it worth doing without a good war chest to go at 'em. I think Chatabox would have done it better than Jumpcut, Eyespot, Lycos Mix and Dabble but just being good isn't enough in this very competitive market.

One day I will post a fuller description of Chatabox to this site so to at least get the ideas out there.

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This Video Changes The World Technorati icon

January 1, 2007 | Filed under: Internet TV

This video changes the world. How can we look at things the same way after seeing this?  Should we be seeing people die on YouTube? I don't know what to think.

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Social Networking and World Building Coming to TV? Technorati icon

December 21, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

C21Media reports (subscription required):

Endemol UK is planning to abandon an individual on a desert island with only a laptop to build their own community, as audiences vote for people to join them or leave, in the company's first global commission.

There's not much to go on yet, but it sounds like fun. Endemol's new format, iLand, brings internet-style entertainment (and branding!) to the TV. Contestants will be using Yahoo! Answers for survival.

Endemol is ahead of the game, as ever, and is also pulling the other way and bringing the TV formats to the net to put Big Brother in Second Life.

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Why the Mainstream is Vulgar? Technorati icon

December 19, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

From Chris Anderson:

"TV is not vulgar and prurient and dumb because the people who compose the audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests." A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again.

Vulgar is also the easiest thing to make for television. Let's make 2007 the year where we tackle the hard stuff and give people the tools to be noble! 

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Barry Diller: "Now is the Moment" Technorati icon

December 12, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Barry Diller (CEO of IAC/InterActiveCorp) at the Web 2.0 Summit.

"Its not yet really there, but in the next couple of years for certain I'm quite sure that being able to create programming... different hybrid forms, pure, actual program creation... now is the moment ...  that you could justify putting  real capital in, so we are going to do so." 

The whole video is good to watch.

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Mobile TV - Some Valuable, Real Observations Technorati icon

November 24, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Jan Chipchase from the Nokia Research Center has blogged a summary of their findings when they examined how actual mobile TV viewers are consuming TV in South Korea.

It is an important study because it is about how real people use this technology not a theoretical speculation as so much of this market currently is.

Often the findings are surprising. Head by Jan's blog to find out how... 

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Big Advertisers Coming to Web Video & The Quality Question Technorati icon

November 17, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

I have been speaking with a few 'big brand' advertising executives recently and heard that advertisers are generally still resistant to buying inventory on the web. I must be missing something because I also understand that:

  • Every year they get less eyeballs for each $ they spend
  • Young people (in particular) are migrating to the web from other media like broadcast TV
  • Web advertising can be targeted more precisely
  • Effectiveness of web advertising can be measured more precisely

Perhaps the extraordinary Jay-Z ad for HP (below) is a sign of change. Slate is reporting that, whilst these ads were expensive to make, many were only released onto the web instead of broadcast TV slots. (Thanks Anil for the link.)

I think it also shows that quality counts. Right now audiences are enjoying the explosion of unique, relevant, unusual stuff that is coming out of our long-tail big bang. It feels fresh and invigorating against the mainstream noise of big media. 

But when something with higher production values is dropped into the same mix, it stands out like a candle in the night. I was looking around YouTube yesterday and found Kiwi (below). The creator sez:

My Master's Thesis Animation, which I completed while I was at The School of Visual Arts in New York City. Created using Maya, After Effects, and rigged using The Setup Machine by Anzovin studios. If you would like to download there is a small version at my website: www.donysanimation.com

The music is orginal and is by Tim Cassell, someone I went to highschool with. The music will be available for download very soon.

Made by a student and his high school buddy, this has been watched 2.2 million times - and deservedly so. The comments show that the audience loves it. It is a candle in the night at YouTube.

So in the years to come, as production values rise, will we still be watching relevant grunge like Revision3 and Rocketboom? Or will we have moved on? 

While I have you, check this out. It's so much fun to be in an era where users have the tools to interact with a brand in this way. I am not sure HP would approve, but I wonder if it is a negative effect? Perhaps it indicates that the ad, and the brand, are getting good meme action?

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Steven Bochco Working on Diamonds in the Crud Technorati icon

November 16, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

PaidContent is reporting that Steven Bochco will be creating content for Metacafe.

I have long been a fan of Bochco's ability to know his medium and create audience experiences that exploit it to the full. His creations show Dickensian slices of life that are real and yet poetic - certainly compelling. Consider Hillstreet Blues and NYPD Blue.

Now he is joining a charge to bring the next wave of content to the web with the growing number of people bringing diamonds to the crud that is online video content. He has already indicated that the content will be unscripted and interactive.

I can't wait.

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Google Video: Ad Tools for User-Generated Content? Technorati icon

November 14, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Beet.TV are today showing this video of Hunter Walk, one of the execs behind Google Video, where he indicates that ads are coming soon for user generated content as well as for the 'professionals'.

If Google made this available openly in the way that Adsense is today it would fuel the fire of online video that is already raging.

There are some of the complex problems that need to be solved to do it.

  • How will the content be analysed in order to target effectively? It will be disappointing if the solution is low revenue 'run-of-network' type ads like Revver seems to be.
  • Related to this, how will they prevent earning revenue from copyright infringing content or annoying advertisers by placing their ads next to offensive content?
  • Where will the ads be placed? Pre-roll? Post-roll? Scrolling text links across the top?
  • Will videos need to be uploaded to Google Video or can they be hosted on completely independent services just like AdSense can be placed on any web page?

I've met these guys and they are smart. I'd be suprised if they didn't have solutions to some of these.

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Lycos Cinema: Almost Cool Technorati icon

| Filed under: Internet TV

Reuters are reporting on the new Lycos web video play Lycos Cinema. I haven't tried it myself - something I will get to in a moment - but it is great to see new ideas like this emerge because they are post YouTube stuff.

Lycos Cinema already has full length features on there instead of the crippling limitation of 10 mins/100MB which shields YouTube from  financially bleeding to death and provides low-tech copyright filtering.

Its most significant feature is that users can watch videos together and chat at the same time. IPDemocracy reports:

"One section of the site lists movies that are currently “playing” and how much time is left in the film so that users can jump in and watch along with the other viewers. Up to 10 viewers can watch schedule a movie in advance and watch it simultaneously, and Lycos is planning to add voice chat to the service."

This is a compelling idea that could get lots of interest. The 10 viewer limitation seems to be a huge limitation though and p2p social video products like the forthcoming  Venice Project may wipe the floor wth them.

So why couldn't I try it myself? First run:

This is because I am using Firefox. So I tried in IE7:

But I have WMP 11. They lost me.

I tried harder than a regular fickle user would. This kind of thing suggests to me that they have got lost in the technology and forgotten their market. They are making it the user's problem and most users will simply choose not to resolve it. Knowing this is precisely why YouTube succeeded. They exploited the ubiquity of Flash and made sure that their content experience worked for everybody - first time. Users come for the content and to be with their friends and they care not about the technology. A site that depends on social network dynamics cannot have this kind of barrier.  

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Google Co-op: The Technology of Entertainment Search Engine Technorati icon

October 24, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

I just pimped Google and made a new search engine which specialises in the technology of entertainment. Anyone can contribute to this search engine so feel free to dive in and help me make it super-useful. This Google Co-op thing looks kinda intersting...

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Why Google Bought YouTube: The Final Piece of the Puzzle? Technorati icon

October 21, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Fortune is reporting a real reason Google bought YouTube:

"Google executives confirm that the company bought YouTube in part to better position itself for getting into the business of selling traditional television advertising."

It could be the final significant piece of a puzzle that currently looks something like this:

  • Hardware / software now cheap and simple to use for making great quality video content.
  • Flash video creating a format for almost everybody to be tooled-up ready to view video.
  • GooTube, Revver, and the rest training users to get into watching video on their computers

Missing is:

  • [Insert solution here] as a revenue engine for content creators to make a living from their efforts.

With this final piece of the puzzle, an entire ecosystem could, theoretically, be in place. 

But I am still wondering:

  • Will monetised videos mean more copyright cases? The case would be stronger against them for sure... Expect to see lots more copyright filtering in place.
  • Will monetised videos with no revenue to the people that made them (say LonelyGirl15) make creators angry? Presumably they would share the revenue as Revver does.
  • Testing and optimising TV-style ads on the type of content we see on YouTube today does not necessarily help Robert Scoble or Revision3 who are trying to make 'shows' rather than muck around with 'clips'.
  • If 'shows' get enough viewers, will it be possible to build a content business to rival NBC as Revision3 are trying to do? Will content businesses be able to earn enough revenue from the Google product? I guess Google did get that right with adsense so we just have to wait and see how a Google video ad eco-system works.

If this is why Google bought YouTube AND they have a video adsense AND they balance the eco-system carefully it will be very interesting indeed.

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Sexy, Naked Girl Has Accident: Or How to Market Video on the Web Technorati icon

| Filed under: Internet TV

Back in August I blogged about a REALLY BORING video that was somehow in the Google Video Top 100. Its popularity seemed driven by the thumbnail which showed a moment in the video where the camera fell to the female passengers groin.

Looking at the same Top 100 today I see:

I wonder why these videos are so popular? :-)

Update: Sure enough, this post immediately entered the top 5 of my posts from Google searches largely (keyword: 'sexy') and has a 71% bounce rate. For some reason the people that found the post didn't find what they were looking for! :-)

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Scobleizer: Where's the Money in Video? Technorati icon

| Filed under: Internet TV

Today Robert Scoble walked into the same wall I crashed into a couple of weeks ago.  Business models for video are challenging. For sub 10 minute, low quality, user generated content like YouTube the ad CPM is tiny or zero. For unique content like Scoble's the CPM can be much higher, but at 200MB a download, not enough.

There are solutions though... and one that can be adopted today is p2p. Revision3 is doing this already.

The secret is to be aware of the distribution cost and tweak the model accordingly. Its not like the text-web, where you can ignore it, chuck some adlinks on there and watch the money flow in.

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Some Notes on "Revision 3 Grows Up" Podcast Technorati icon

October 19, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

I just listened to Catherine Girardeau interview Revision3 CEO Jay Adelson and Production Director David Prager. Here are my notes on the podcast:

Ambition

Adelson: "Our viewership potential is actually greater than television."

Growth

Adelson explains how he wants a slow, organic growth of loyal viewers: "We're not aiming to have billions of viewers overnight"

Girardeau: "Are you aiming to have billions of viewers at all?"

Adelson: "Yeah - absolutely."

Investment

50K personal investment then 1 million angel funding.

Downloads

1.5 million downloads / month  (1 million of these are diggnation)

Most podcast/feed downloads are from iTunes Music Store. Downloads = Viewers because iTunes stops downloading from a feed if the user stops playing the files.

Advertising

18-34 men - "most covetted by advertisers"

Keeping Costs Low

Adelson: One thing I also don't want to do is throw a lot of money at it. Y'know, increase production values and so on. That doesn't buy me anything."

The podcast is here.

I previously discussed Revision 3 here.

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Video on the Internet: Nowhere to Everywhere in 16 months Technorati icon

October 16, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

The 1.65 billion USD Google/YouTube deal has punctuated my awe that I needed to write this on June 26 2005.

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Pulver: 2007 Will Be The Year That WebTV Competes Technorati icon

October 12, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Business Week:

"Pulver believes that, in 2007, we'll see the rise of a new TV network that will eventually compete with the likes of NBC, ABC and CNN. He believes that this new TV network will be Web-based. And he hopes it will be Network2.tv."

I think Jeff Pulver is probably right about this. TV that is made for the web is about to go off.  Where's the money?

"Eventually, advertisers might be able to do product placement with particular Web shows. And viewers might be able to click on a show character's shirt and buy it online."

This is the Revision3 way. I wonder how network2.tv will go about this given that they don't actually make any content.

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Video Business Models - P2P is Necessary Technorati icon

October 7, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Assuming that users will not pay for most content and that advertising/sponsorship is the most likely way to monetize...

Assuming an optimistic CPM of roughly $50 for show sponsorship like we are seeing from the likes of Rocketboom...

And download costs / GB at roughly $0.20 from a service like Amazon S3...

Shall we say 250MB per show so that it is decent quality...?

That means that - optimistically - each download has a variable cost of:

($50/1000) - (0.20/4) = $0 break even

So with no staff, no infrastructure, a very good CPM and a 100% inventory sale, a video site could break even.

P2P isn't a nice-to-have in this world... its a necessity.

It looks like Venice and Revver are well placed...

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Web Video Today = "The Talkies" Technorati icon

October 6, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Mike @ Techdirt:

"the real power isn't just in "broadcasting" TV content to the internet (and then getting a TV or DVD deal, as some seem to aspire to), but in adding in the real interactivity -- and there are many different ways that can play out. It can be as simple as encouraging others to make "response" videos, as are popular on YouTube, or playing up to the community of watchers as folks like Ze Frank have embraced."

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The Secret to Making Online Video? Technorati icon

| Filed under: Internet TV

Lucas Gonze found some nice Justin Frankel wisdom on making music online.

"The secret for making quantity of music is just lowering your standards. That's it. Play a lot and experiment and don't be afraid to post something that's bad, because there'll be good things about it too. And also, I always encourage people to collaborate -- even if it's online. Post some music you made and see if someone wants to rap on it. It can be great; people can come back and add things you would have never thought of, and amaze you."

This principle of lowering your standards also applies very well to online video. It is so easy to get lost in the hardware and the software and strive for perfection like we see at the movies. But this is the way to never release anything, never find your style, never innovate. Just get making and throw it at an audience to see what happens. Someone who does this very well is Jadelr.

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4 Things About Revision3 Technorati icon

September 29, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Last night the TV stayed off and I spent the evening watching the offerings of Revision3 - the internet TV network launched yesterday by Kevin Rose and Jay Adelson.

  1. They get their market: This is a TV channel for geeks. The cookery show, Ctrl-Alt-Chicken is hosted by Diggnation host Alex Albrecht. It helps geeks find a passion for cooking by demonstrating how to cook delights such as Cheese Pie (yes, it is what it sounds like!) and describing food such as Pillsberry dough as "the MacGyver of food".
  2. They get the medium: All shows are what my wife Kellie calls "Garage TV" with just the right mix of watchable people and production values. Non of these shows are expensive to make but all are entertaining to watch.
  3. They get 'piracy': All content is available on multiple formats for practically any device and as torrents for distributed downloads. The shows are licensed under Creative Commons licences and contain no DRM. Their audience does not need to get their fix from Pirate Bay because it is available right now, from the source in the format they want it in. They can send shows to their friends so the audience will grow because they are being referred by people they trust.
  4. They get the business model: They are straight in there with p2p downloads unlike many of the podcasting aggregators so already get that video need not cost the world to distribute. Revenue comes from 50s style sponsorship where sponsors are promoted during the shows by the presenters. If 'Pillsberry' is a company that make ready-mix dough then they should be sending a cheque to Albrecht right now for the MacGyver line. 

There is a simple, but easy to explore website in place today but it is clear that Revision3 has been released at the earliest opportunity and will be updated often.  For example, a Google search reveals that a nice RSS feed system already exists but is not public facing yet.

I'm a fan of Revision3.

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Kevin Rose Targets 3rd Generation TV Technorati icon

September 28, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Kevin Rose of Digg fame has launched Revision3 - a TV network which will create on-demand, niche content for convergent devices. They say that they are the "first media company that gets it". I am not sure that is quite true but it is almost true and they completely and utterly and totally do get it.

ZDNet gives you the bullet...

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Microbroadcasting ... Excellent! Technorati icon

September 27, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Seth Godin today blogged about something he calls Microbroadcasting. It is an important, emergent kind of video on the internet that I think will become super-important in the months and years to come. I see 'Microbroadcasting' as the video equivalent of a Google Adlink. Why? Because it makes a powerful tool available to individuals and small businesses that was once the domain of mega corporations. 

Now anyone can have their own TV show and make it available to as few or as many people as they need to, for whatever reason they need to. The example Seth gives is a really nicely produced (though clearly not made by the BBC) show which both promotes a couple of design firms and is compelling content in its own right. It sells their business better than any brochure and was probably made for a fraction of the cost. Now me and Seth are linking to it and I guess the customers are coming.



Seth says:

It's about being more vivid than a postcard or a letter. And now there's room for a billion more just like it.

I think we are about to see a million Wayne's Worlds explode down the long tail of the Internet. This is more than 'video blogging' where people sit in front of their web cam. This is users exploiting the creative tools available today to create fully conceived 'shows'. Seth's right: there's "room for a billion more".

Microbroadcasting... Excellent!

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<Embed> is YouTube's Real Innovation Technorati icon

September 25, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Techdirt is talking about YouTube's functionality to embed videos into other sites. We can analyse YouTube's success until the cows come home. But their one and only genius innovation is the capacity to emded something cool from one site into another. Look at my blog... there are videos everywhere thanks to this innovation. It is the perpetual motion, effortless recommendation machine at work...

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We Need One of These Gizmos For Internet TV Technorati icon

September 22, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

This yummy widget from MeeVee (I love the name) lets users create embeddable recommendations that they can paste in their blog. We need one of these that connects Google Video, Yahoo Video, YouTube, Blip.tv, blah, blah, blah so that we can start making the host site irrelevant to content discovery.

Thanks TechCrunch.

Get your own widget.

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Performers! Use the Web! Technorati icon

| Filed under: Internet TV

The ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) in London is the bastion of 'difficult' art. Artists that chose to present themselves there are pretty much confining themselves to an elite audinece for new performance and a life of obscurity.

The terrific opportunity of what's happening on the web now is that this kind of work can reach a global audience.

Check this out. It's from an ICA performance and its fab! 

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Jeff Pulver Still Looking for the 2006 Wayne's World Technorati icon

August 31, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Jeff Pulver has done a really useful overview of the current state of the art for internet content. He has wisely split up the list into:

- "TV on the Net" - these are websites for TV shows that are, or have been, on TV/Cable and are now available for viewing on the Net;
- "TV Shows Only Available on the Internet" - these are new programs produced for the purpose of viewing on the broadband internet.
- "User Created Content sites" - these are the sites like Veoh and YouTube which offer community members the ability to upload video content to share with others;
- "Sites to View TV" - these are sites like ChannelKing and ChannelChooser where someone can watch commercial TV stations over the internet.
- "Misc" - for websites that didn't fit in any of the other boxes above.

For me, the one to watch is the second category. Like Jeff, I am looking for the new Wayne's World and if I don't see it soon I will have to make it myself!

Me and Xav will review some of the shows in Jeff's list over on I Am The TV.

I'm looking at Alive in Baghdad right now. What will TV journalism become?

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Neave.TV - At Last A Delightful UI For Web Video Technorati icon

August 23, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

It is a real pleasure to see the Neave.TV user interface. Web video is most commonly presented in a way which does not move user interface design much beyond the player template that comes free with Flash. YouTube, Google Video, Brightcove... all variations on a rather dull theme.

Neave.TV has a full screen flash UI that is more like a living room TV experience. Particularly delightful are the transitions when you select a new video.

Thanks Unmediated for the link.

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Advice For A TV Producer... Technorati icon

August 22, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

If a TV Producer asked my for some tips for working with the Internet as a distribution channel, here is what I would suggest:

  1. Start today: Avoid the innovators dilemma and start making some content that STARTS on the net and makes revenue from the net no matter how small it is today. This may be your main revenue stream in 5 years.
  2. Remember that fans talking to fans is what makes something popular on the Internet: Make it EASY for anybody to promote your content for you. Not just possible, but EASY. This means find ways to let them view it on their choice of device with their choice of software. Let them link to specific sections when talking about it. Let them embed your content (or at least sections of it) in their blog or social networking site like myspace.com. Using something like Brightcove lets you stay focussed on the content and they will build the pipes to feed your content through to multiple platforms.
  3. Let go of the 'mainstream' concept: Well, don't let go altogether but realise that the net means that you can distribute high quality content, direct to an audience without a middle-man at a low cost. This content can be custom-shaped to appeal to a precise and measurable demographic that appeals to the advertisers you want to attract. Google's building the technology to feed the ads into your content. Are you ready to do something with it? Consider code.tv. Here is a 'tv channel' designed to make content for only a few hundred thousand people, but will attract high-value ad revenue.
  4. A sale should be no more than one click away: Find ways to sell your content from directly inside fans own web pages. Look how this is already happening in music. For example, let users show a section of your content in their MySpace page and offer their friends a quick link to purchase a download license. A 'sale' could be getting them to watch your ads or to buy your stuff on subscription or a la carte.

These are the big ones. Here are some other things worth considering:

  1. People like to see themselves and their friends in the media.
  2. Allow people to re-mix and mashup your content. People don't consume mashups instead of the original.
  3. Watch what users are making and learn from it.

Here is bundle of my TV thinking from the past few months:

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An Internet Chat Show? Waynes World ++ Technorati icon

August 21, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

What would make a really interesting chat show on the internet? I don't mean taking Parkinson or The Colbert Report and trying to find an audience on the web here. What is an internet chat show which uses the language of the internet for an internet audience?

I saw the video above today because I was had heard that someone called lonelygirl15 was huge on YouTube. Her 'TV Show' has been viewed over 1 million times. If you watch the video it starts off appearing to be a simple girl-with-webcam 'comment' but soon becomes something more. Still not a chat show, but it got me thinking...

Could the next Larry King be some teenager in their bedroom interviewing famous internet figures over Skype video? A Wayne's World ++...

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Killing Seals - A Flirtation with New Cinema Technorati icon

August 19, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

This was Xav and my first flirtation with Flickbook Pictures. Xav directed it (and I messed around with a camera) over one day in Amsterdam. He has this idea for a kung fu hero who has no arms. I keep thinking it would make a very cool comic novel or something because the character has something of an X-Men feel to him.

Mat Fraser, who plays Jimmy, is a very exciting performer to work with and he completely shattered all my perceptions of people with no arms. Indeed, his hands are powerful and the character he played was charismatic and edgy. 

It's amazing what you can do in a day. Watch this space for a trailer of the first Flickbook full-length feature - Mine. I am buzzed!

Here is Xav's sketches for a novel version of the F**king with Jimmy story and his notes on its making.

Here is the embed code for the short to paste into your blog:

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Exploring Brightcove: Some KAOS Theatre Trailers for You Technorati icon

| Filed under: Internet TV

I have been exploring the Brightcove software with a view to using it for Flickbook Pictures distribution. It is very nice but not what I expected. Unlike YouTube, Videoegg, etc it leaves the content preparation entirely to you (making the .flv Flash Video files, making thumbnails exactly the right size, etc) and it takes care of its syndication. 

KAOS Theatre (I am a board member) are about to do some pretty cool stuff with online video and already have some nice video trailers so I decided to use them for this experiment.

One of the things I like about the Brightcove players I have seen elsewhere is the capacity get embed code. This seems to have been removed from the players. If you want to embed this video please feel free to use this code:  

Technorati Profile

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ScobleizerTV: I'm Looking Forward to This... Technorati icon

August 18, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Mega-blogger Robert Scoble quit his influencial position at Microsoft to get into making TV for the web. This post notes some of his ideas for his new show. Scoble gets the whole two-way-web thing so I am really looking forward to seeing what he comes up with.

I like ideas like this most because they provide the show with a visual context that is entertaining:

5. Tech tea time. Getting together with several geeks over tea to talk about the issues of the week. Or, maybe, just get into an argument about programming languages like we did last week.

I was thinking about new forms of chat-show yesterday. I'd love to see a chat show about some of the people who have become famous in their own niche on the web. For example:

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Sex Sells & The Power of The Thumbnail Technorati icon

August 14, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Look what is currently number 8 in the Google Video Top 100:

It is a crappy home movie about some people driving around in an old Audi and yet it is hugely popular. Why?  Because the thumbnail happens to be a snapshot of a woman's groin.

I'm curious, does Google take the thumbnail from a certain part of a video?  It seems that getting your thumbnail right is an important part of marketing when putting video online.

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I Am The TV: A New Blog I'm Trying Technorati icon

August 12, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

I am playing with a new blog that is dedicated to exploring what video content is becoming as the internet takes hold:

“So what is the new content? Where is it heading? What is interesting and why?”

I Am The TV.

Should be fun!

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TurnHere: The Middle of the Video Long Tail Technorati icon

August 9, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

TurnHere is doing some interesting stuff. The head of long tail video is emerging – you can download Hollywood movies on Bittorrent, etc. The tail is certainly emerging through the likes of YouTube. But what about the middle? TurnHere are paying for their user generated content in an attempt to solicite stuff of a higher quality. And it seems to be working. Here is a user-submitted video on the Hamptons.

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Ads in Video: This is Scary But True... and Very Funny! Technorati icon

July 28, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV


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Coming Soon to a TiVo Near You... Tricking You To Watch An Ad Technorati icon

July 26, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Polar Bear Paws - Toledo Zoo

Originally uploaded by JeffreyWiden.

I once met the guy whose idea it was to make an ad look like a Windows system alert and make it shake to get more clicks. Now it looks like we might start to see this kind of deceptive thing happen on the telly. In the NY Times today there is an article called TiVo Is Watching When You Don’t Watch, and It Tattles. TiVo have been tracking how some people interact with advertising and have made shattering discoveries such as this:

For example, one study for a consumer packaged goods company, which Mr. Juenger declined to identify, found that commercials featuring animal characters, when shown on animal-related programs, were skipped less often than usual.

In other words, if you make the ads indistinguishable from the David Attenborough show you recorded while fast-forwarding people might accidentally watch your ad.

And no, I won’t tell you who it was that invented those annoying, shaking ads…

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Veoh Technorati icon

July 25, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

What is’long tail’, niche content? My buddy Xav thinks its horror movies but I think this is a genre. It should definately be distributed on the web and could find a great audience but TNT can do it better (perhaps) and it still appeals to a generic mass audience. It is hard to find advertisers that wouldn’t prefer to put there money into a broadcast TV campaign.

I’m thinking more: “A Guide to Sydney: By People that Live There” or “On the Road with [Insert Niche Band Here]”.

But I may be wrong. What do you think?

While click-thinking on the subject I re-visited Veoh. Here is some horror I found!

 

Veoh has been through quite a few iterations since I first saw it and it is getting better and better. What I like most is that they have a great web experience to get the quick fix that users want and a neat application for p2p downloads via subscription onto multiple platforms like PSP or iPod.

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Niche TV is Here Technorati icon

| Filed under: Internet TV

Niche TV is here according to Robert Scoble and he is right. Most of the debate ponders how to get NBC onto the web and while NBC certainly need to get themselves onto the web… and fast… this is a tiny part of the video web that is upon us.  It is also the least interesting…

Personally, I gave up listening to generic radio shows on my long commutes into work a long time ago, switching to fresh podcasts directly downloaded to my iPod. No more wacky afternoon banter about Big Brother, now I listen to the kind of conference talks and tech chatter that would bore most people to tears, but I enjoy. Robert Scoble sez:

“But on the Internet I don’t need to dumb down my content. The costs of doing content are so low that if I want to do a cooking show for geeks I can. Just get a $300 camcorder and start putting videos up on Google Video or You Tube.”

TV will now do the same.  Whilst quality does matter, making the content relevant to me is primary.

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Hellodeo: Fabulous Name and Nice Technology Technorati icon

July 23, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

This is just what I have always wanted!

One-click record from a webcam. hellodeo.com

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Google Video Allows Link to Specific Section Technorati icon

July 20, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Google Video now has the capacity to link to a specific part of the video.

I sent that idea to Google Video a few weeks ago although I am sure it was already in the pipes at that time. Its great to see the feature in somebody’s video product because it is the necessary tool for ‘quoting’ from videos.

Now we can have important discussions about things like this.

Now we just need the UI to do this easily (including adding it to the embed code) and to punch out as well.

Another idea: It would then be good to be able to chain a playlist of these together. 

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The Coming of The Long Tail TV Networks Technorati icon

July 10, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Today, Techcrunch covered some developments in television programming on the Internet beyond the likes of YouTube and Metacafe but just scratched the surface of something significant which I think is emerging.

Things like Warner’s In2TV are actually the least interesting. They are important because they show a recognition that the net is a viable distribution platform but they have not recognized where it is different.  These services just move old content to the Internet without considering how people use the Internet and what new things can be accomplished. For starters, here I am trying to talk about In2TV and there is nothing I can do to embed an example into this article to show you what I mean. Services I will talk about later don’t have this problem.

In fact, while I am at it, what IS wrong with In2TV?

  • I can’t watch most of the content because I am not in the US.
  • I can’t embed anything in my own site/blog/space.
  • I can only send IM referrals using AOL Messenger.
  • I can’t make playlists and send them to my friends.
  • It is Windows only – I tried to show a friend with a Mac who told me the ‘page was broken’.
  • I am forced to go to their website to see the content… but I don't want to… so I won’t.
  • Most of the content is too long to watch on the PC in the browser.
  • No RSS feeds with enclosures for the video files.

But then… you (yes, you Windows users!) can download some Max Headroom episodes for free so kudos to AOL for that.

Earlier this year, my long-time collaborator Xavier Leret and me formed Flickbook Pictures. We realized that technology had now reached the stage where we could make high quality, HD movies for under $100,000 US and these movies could be distributed on the Internet free of the innovators dilemma that existing video producers have. We have since made Mine (and here) and will release it early next year.

But release it how? And where? And to who? These question have led me down all kinds of intellectual roads. Thinking about concepts technologies and businesses that emerge from a truly converged digital content universe. 

Well here are some general concepts with video on the web:

  • Unlike broadcast it is very expensive to serve large audiences… but cheap to serve small ones.
  • If the content is user-generated (so could be anything from porno to copyright infringing) it is hard to automatically serve ads into the experience because advertisers won’t take the chance… but if this can be solved then advertisers can get all the brand richness they get on the TV today but with greatly refined targeting and value.
  • Users want to show a bit so that they can talk about it.
  • Users want to consume it with content from other people… they don’t want to use the software equivalent of a different DVD player for each piece of content they choose to watch.

http://www.mtv.com/overdrive/ is an example of something that got it wrong for many of the same reasons.

The really interesting thing that happened to the web in the past 12 months was in technology. Great codecs, pervasive formats (like the groovy new Flash video), experience innovation from the likes of YouTube and delivery/protocol innovation from the likes of Bittorrent and Dijjer and of course media RSS.

Well now we have what we need, the stage is set,  for the next revolution where the new content will emerge.

You all know the ‘long tail’ right? The concept of the gigantic market place that exists in niche products when scarcity (such as shelf space limitations) is removed? We are now seeing the early signs of the new Long Tail TV Networks. Let’s have a look at Code.TV because I think that is a terrific example.

  • Look, I just embedded it in my blog. I can say to you all “Look what’s on in Manhattan today!”
  • Even though it is in my blog and not on their site, you can now take the same piece and embed it in your blog
  • The content chunks are small. I can watch one or two on my laptop over a sandwich at lunchtime
  • I can subscribe to a code.tv feed so that it fits into my universe and the particular collection of technologies I have chosen.
  • They can sell high value advertising around it that will be relevant to the users and non-risky to the advertiser
  • The content is niche so they can make revenue through advertising to be profitable while delivering advertising

This is an ad-based business aiming to attract 25,000 visitors a week. That is some way down the long-tail by TV standards but the market is pure 25 – 49 year olds earning over $100K.

And our little movie, Mine?  Well, I’m not to sure yet, but perhaps we will try things like:

  • Episodic releases so that it can be viewed in chunks at lunchtime, etc.
  • HD quality downloads over Bittorrent or similar so you can burn it to a DVD and put it on your telly.
  • Possible to embed excerpts in your blog so that people can review it and recommend it (hopefully!) to their friends.

I wonder… what do you think?

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Code.TV - This is Fabulous Next Web Stuff Technorati icon

July 7, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV


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More Video Ideas: Is Video at the Center of Web.Next? Technorati icon

June 30, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

I have been thinking about video on the web for ages. Here’s the latest thoughts.

Is video on the web ending or beginning? Is there a current fad which is about to implode when YouTube.com and others fail to find the money? Certainly I think there will be a shakeout and most will perish, but I also believe that there is a new web emerging. This web is built around rich-media such as video (but also includes audio, images, etc). Video on the internet today is in its infancy and most of its capability and value has not yet been discovered.

My latest thinking is around a kinda ‘social broadcasting’ in which a community gathers around a piece of content and adds layers of other content on top.

Continue reading "More Video Ideas: Is Video at the Center of Web.Next?"

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Ryan Leslie Gets It Technorati icon

June 20, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Ryan Leslie gets it. He makes quick but slick videos, uploads them to YouTube and then embeds them in his blog and MySpace page. Heck, I can even embed him in my page! We’ll see a lot more of this.

 

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Embed Me Technorati icon

June 3, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Most online business models are about designing destination sites which we hope customers will loyally frequent. But people have multiple email accounts, blogs, social network accounts, buddy lists, etc… and users are not loyal. Perhaps they need a tool so that they can embed themself (their karma, presence, files, photos, etc) in any site they want…

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The Innovator's Dilemma for TV Technorati icon

May 23, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

I wonder if TV companies are staring the ‘Innovator’s Dilemma’ straight in the eye at the moment. 

An example of the Innovator’s Dillema is of course the telecommunications companies (once again themselves staring at the beast).  When the telephone was invented the telephone network was not everywhere and users didn’t know they wanted it yet.  Because of these factors it did not have the short term revenue potential that sending cables had so the telcos of the day could not go there without losing money. It was hard for them to do both.

My work at Flickbook Pictures has taught me that it is practically impossible to distribute new video content BOTH through the normal channels AND through the Internet. The existing industry makes its revenue through surgically dividing the rights for different aspects of the IP to different regions.  As soon as something is released globally on the internet this cannot be done.

However, if Desperate Housewives was ONLY available on iTunes there is no way, today, that it could make more money for the producers than it can by selling the rights to TV networks globally, DVD distribution, etc.

For Flickbook Pictures it is quite easy. We have no existing market, so we can ride the new disruption and have the time of our lives. There will be no fall before the rise. It is up all the way. 

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Vlog sounds crappy Technorati icon

April 28, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Vlogs have terrific business potential, especially as video custom publishing.

But “Vlog” sounds so bad. So amateur. So cheap. Too much like a diary of someone with nothing to say.

But vlogs are actually a new way to distribute TV. So what shall we call it?

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Why is this STILL a problem? Technorati icon

April 27, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

Lets P2P: Look at this image from Rocketboom: 

Dembot_after


Because of this, the capacity to make creative product without a business model – just because you have an idea or something to say – is difficult or impossible. This is the reality for anybody wanting to distribute their media today. Why is it still a problem when the technology exists to make it go away?

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BBC Website Two Dot Oh! Technorati icon

April 26, 2006 | Filed under: Internet TV

The BBC website is becoming Two Dot Ohified to have user-generated content at its heart. This organisation is incredible and seems to stand alone amongst the TV networks. They have been experimenting with p2p distribution for years; they know Creative Commons principles and are releasing their catalogue for public use and they have been building API’s for their data for as long as anyone else has.

Now we are going to see blogs and wikis with a rich media BBC player at the centre.

I think they are spot on. Combine user-generated content with the ‘professional’ stuff. Bring depth, diversity, integrity and, of course, users.

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More thoughts on video Technorati icon

September 27, 2005 | Filed under: Internet TV

Tim O’Reilly is absolutely right. The next generation of video content must come from the long-tail. The trick will be to design the experience so that it can flow to the head.

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Some Thoughts for a Video Product Technorati icon

September 21, 2005 | Filed under: Internet TV

Making a business to host video on the web is a challenge because of the economics. Users expect a service offering video hosting to be priced cheaply or free like a photo service such as Flickr. Yet it is much more expensive to host video than images.  Meanwhile, the hard drives and camera-phones of Generation-C are bulging with videos that they want others to experience.

This is what I have been thinking about:

Tv

Continue reading "Some Thoughts for a Video Product"

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A Future of TV? Technorati icon

July 25, 2005 | Filed under: Internet TV

The Beeb was already in my ultra-with-it category because of IMP . IMP means that BBC 'users' will be able to download high quality versions of BBC TV shows using Bittorrent directly from the Beeb. This is wise because users will go to the Beeb for their convenient, on-demand downloads and not un-official sites. The Beeb stays in control of their stuff, stays relevant with their internet-savvy audience and more popular than ever because of cool new features. I have to wonder what commercial networks would have to lose in a strategy like this. They could bundle ads or indeed charge a subscription like cable.

The Beeb just became more with-it...

One of the biggest absurdities in our world is the lack of innovation of electronic program guides for TV. This is not because it is technically difficuly, in fact it is extremely easy. Innovation simply does not occur because innovators would be sued by TV networks claiming that they own the copyright for the list of what's on.

EPGs are the bridge that will make TV relevant in a world that is dominated by broadband services. TV stations that do not act wisely (and liberally?) with an EPG strategy may find themselves becoming irrelevant and feature-poor to consumers.

The Beeb recently released a site called Backstage which provides developers with APIs and tools to 'remix' their online services. They have just announced a project to remix their EPG.

"We want people to innovate and come up with prototypes to demonstrate new ways of exploring the BBC's TV schedule," backstage.bbc.co.uk project leader Ben Metcalfe told the BBC News website.

"We have some ideas: people might want to combine schedules with web search services, like del.icio.us."

So already we see TV morphing to allow distributed downloads (presumably its a matter of time before these mean TV is no longer only available in specific regions but internationally), EPGs that link to value-add web services (and possibly reccomendation tools, etc)... what else is happening?

The old models start to augment (fall away?) even more when considering search and syndication.

Google Video
is letting us search inside video content. Vimeo allows us to tag video content and dynamically build video playlists from similar content.zxcxcz

Services such as Vimeo and Blinkx are demonstrating powerful new modes of viewing video. Blinkx already works really well as a kind of video clipping service. Just watch the video news you want via an RSS feed. At one stage Vimeo auto montaged video clips based on the file's tag. Never mind the 'Nine o'Clock News' on BBC. What about 'Phil's News' from all news sources globally, pulled together and automontaged by the service based on metadata... It's super cool.

Given that all the powerful footage (such as planes flying into buildings, smoking trains on the London Underground, etc) is shot by ordinary people and not by the media, this indicates an interesting possibilty for fundamental shifts in the TV landscape.

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Nothing for video Technorati icon

June 26, 2005 | Filed under: Internet TV

I’m looking for a free service to upload video of my kids for the relatives. Nothing exists as far as I can see.

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