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Author Topic:   Web 3.0
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posted May 26, 2009 03:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
Welcome to Web 3.0
Published on May 26, 2009
by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher


At All Things Digital World Headquarters*, our huge staff of expert analysts** is always keeping track of two things: The latest trends in tech and media, and the latest jargon used to hype those trends.

This year, as we convene the seventh edition of D: All Things Digital, we think something major is happening at the intersection of tech and media, and we think it deserves its own new hyped-up name: Web 3.0. Yes, folks, we are declaring the Web 2.0 era over, because, well, when you run conferences and Web sites, you can say stuff like that.

But, if you read on a bit, you will see that we actually have some real, rational basis for believing that yet another seminal moment has arrived in the never-ending digital revolution that inspired us to launch this gathering. And, as you will observe over the next few days, we have assembled what we think is a stellar lineup of speakers to address this major change and other topics.

First, though, a few words about the elephant in the ballroom: The Great Recession. Or, as we like to call it on the Web site: The Econalypse. We started work on launching D during the last tech bust, and we believed then that — despite the very real economic woes afflicting the industry — the digital tidal wave sweeping the world wasn’t stopping. In fact, it was during that last recession that the iPod, iTunes, Windows XP, Mac OS X and early social networking services, like Friendster and LinkedIn, were born.

We are painfully aware that this crisis is far worse — we work at a media company, after all, and media companies have been economic piñatas lately. We do not in any way underestimate the economic pain and danger still under way all over the world. But we still believe the digital tidal wave rolls on. And we are immensely grateful to all of you for continuing to attend D under these tough circumstances. In fact, your support has been so strong that we actually sold out a few days earlier this year than last.

So what’s the seminal development that’s ushering in the era of Web 3.0? It’s the real arrival, after years of false predictions, of the thin client, running clean, simple software, against cloud-based data and services. The poster children for this new era have been the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch, which have sold 37 million units in less than two years and attracted 35,000 apps and one billion app downloads in just nine months.

The excitement and energy around the iPhone and the Touch — and the software and services being written for them — remind us of the formative years of the PC and PC software, in the early 1980s, or the early days of the Web in the mid-1990s.

It’s a big deal.

But this is not just about one company, one platform or even one form factor. No, this new phenomenon is about handheld computers from many companies, with software platforms and distribution mechanisms tightly tied to cloud-based services, whether they are multi-player games, e-commerce offerings or corporate databases.

Already Palm, Research in Motion, Nokia, Microsoft and others are hot on Apple’s tail. You will hear from them here at D. And a profusion of new devices, software development kits, app stores and cloud-based services has been announced in the teeth of the economic downturn.

Some of these handheld computers will make phone calls, but others won’t. Some will fit in a pocket, but others will be tablets or even laptop-type clamshells. But, like the iPhone, all will be fusions of clever new hardware, innovative client software and powerful server-based components.

And Media companies are on the case, too. You can already read The Wall Street Journal and other news sources, complete with photos and videos, on the iPhone, the BlackBerry and the Kindle, and new handheld devices are coming that are tailored to news. Our own AllThingsD iPhone app will be out by the time you read this. And consumers can stream radio and TV, and even follow live sports events, on pocket devices.

Over the next few days, you’ll hear from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, whose company makes software for both the new platforms and the traditional PCs they threaten. And the leaders of the hottest social network, Twitter, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, will talk about its future. Speaking of the future of social networking, we have invited News Corp. digital head Jon Miller and MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta, who were recently brought in to reinvigorate the media giant’s business, to talk about how they plan to do just that.

You’ll hear from new Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, who’s trying to deal with rivals and suitors just as the new era is dawning. Also on stage will be the leaders of some key companies making the handheld computers’ hardware and software: Mike Lazaridis of RIM; Jon Rubinstein and Roger McNamee of Palm; and Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo of the worldwide mobile phone leader, Nokia.

From the telecom side, there’ll be Randall Stephenson of AT&T. Cable pioneer and media mogul John Malone will offer his perspective on the future of television.

And, from the content world, we’ll have Jeff Zucker of NBC, Irving Azoff of Ticketmaster, Mark Cuban of HDNet, blogging queen Arianna Huffington and Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth.

The leaders of Mozilla, Mitchell Baker and John Lilly, will talk about the role of Web browsers and open source. And playwright Eve Ensler will explain how all this shiny technology is tied, unwittingly, to a crisis thousands of miles away.

So sit back, open your minds, and get ready for Web 3.0.

*Actually, just a cottage in back of Kara’s house.

**Actually, just a handful of journalists, a couple of editors, a geek and an intern, plus some business people.

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posted September 29, 2009 09:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
Disney's First Digital Subscription: Online Books

Posted By: Julia Boorstin

Today Disney announced the first-ever digital children's book platform, which also happens to be the media giant's first digital subscription business.

A "virtual bookshelf" of 500 books at launch, plus an additional 20 books every few weeks will cost $80 per year or a monthly fee of $9.

Most notably, the service will be accessible online - but not yet on the Amazon's Kindle - Disney says it's waiting for e-Readers to offer color and sound. Paying a subscription gives you online access to any of the books, which range from the classic Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh story, to the more contemporary Cars, Toy Story and Hannah Montana. But you can't download the books to a laptop to bring them on the road to entertain kids on a long trip, so it doesn't yet offer the portability of an old-fashioned book or even a DVD.

Disney is hoping to snag more readers - customers - through a new, interactive approach to reading. Each title can be listened to as kids click through the pages, there's an interactive dictionary, and kids can create their own digital books. There are three reading levels, which critics say are a bit tough to navigate between, a technical glitch Disney is addressing. But the teaching approach behind these reading levels indicates that Disney will likely to grow this business to include more educational games and materials. It already has an "in" with the demographic: Disney is the world's largest publisher of kids books and magazines, selling 250 million books and over 400 million magazines annually.

Perhaps most important, this allows Disney to test the much-discussed digital subscription model. CEO Bob Iger has talked about putting Disney-branded content behind a subscription firewall, with the idea that above all, people will pay for quality content. Also, parents trust the Disney brand and kids are loyal to the characters and franchises. With the ad market weak and unstable, an additional revenue stream certainly seems a smart idea. So far the only real digital subscription models have been for music services like RealNetworks Rhapsody, and the Wall Street Journal. News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch has talked openly about his commitment to rolling out subscription plans across his news platform.

Now we'll be watching to see whether Marvel comics are integrated into the platform once Disney's acquisition of Marvel Entertainment goes through. And I'd suspect that Disney is talking to makers of e-Books about developing a reader that targets just that children's book audience. It seems like a Disney branded e-reader could be key at advancing the digital children's book market, and a new gadget for Disney to sell.

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posted October 07, 2009 09:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
A great speech about the new media model...

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posted October 12, 2009 02:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
The Internet Is Bad, And You Just Need To Accept It
Jay Yarow|Oct. 12, 2009, 4:07 PM | 709 |comment1
Tags: Online, Media, Rupert Murdoch, News Corp, Moguls, Jeff Bewkes, Time Warner

rupert murdoch thinkingAs fantastic as the Internet is for the consumer, it's been a nightmare for media companies.

Many of the barriers to entry that kept them fat and profitable are now gone, leaving them exposed attacks from various upstarts.

In the face of this new challenge, they need to figure out what their strengths are, what turf to defend, and the best way to charge, where possible.

We spoke with Jonathan Knee, co-author of "The Curse Of The Mogul: What's Wrong With The World's Leading Media Companies," about a few of the companies and strategies for dealing with this period of upheaval.

Silicon Alley Insider: One of the overarching themes of the book is that "content is not king." But isn't good content still very important?

Knee: It's not that content is not valuable, but shareholders of companies in the business of content aren't likely to do very well. The value of that content, because of nature of the world, accrues to the individual artist or generator of content.

Is there a workable solution to avoid these sorts of headaches?

If someone invests in [a content business], they should have modest expectations of their returns. The businesses that are hit driven are the worst for investment, but unfortunately those are also the most exciting and sexy.

What do you think of NBC's strategy with Jay Leno? They say it's a smart move because it saves them money. That seems to fit into themes you discuss.

Efficient operations has two sides to it. It's cost management and revenue management. Media companies have not done a good job on either. The Leno strategy is on cost management which is critical part of trying to create superior performance.

There is a risk that you get a short term benefit at an overwhelming long term cost. In case of a network there are significant spill over effects from having a huge hit or a big black hole. That is a risk--a ratings black hole--that they run with this strategy.

What do you think of the idea of a Comcast-NBCU deal?

Glenn Britt, who is CEO of other largest cable company, Time Warner, and Brain Roberts, can not both be right. Glenn Britt has just released himself from being connected to a large media conglomerate, and publicly said he will not invest any of his firm's cash flow or capital into the content business.

The institutional complexities and politics around combining these types of companies usually make them more difficult than what you can have at a third party. If there are benefits from combining these kinds of assets, they have not yet been demonstrated.

It also seems to be contrary to the movement in media to sell off assets.

Despite the fact that the public is perennially afraid that big media is going to take over the world, evidence on the ground suggests everything is going the opposite direction, with increased fragmentation. Major conglomerates are shedding non core assets at a historic clip.

When Rupert Murdoch and Tom Curley talk about charging for content on the web are they right? Or are they missing the point?

Revenue management is critical part of running a business well. The instinctive answer to throw it up for free may have seemed like a good idea when there appeared to be unlimited ad revenue available, but on the face of it, it seems like a mad idea.

The right answer is going to be some mixture of paid and unpaid. The key to effective management is price discrimination, and figuring out who your audience is and what parts can attract a paying clientele.

So, should newspapers have never gone on the web?

First off, the Internet is bad for these businesses and you just need to accept that. It reduces barriers to entry, and anything that reduces barriers to entry is bad. If I was in the newspaper business, I would have protected the parts of my business I could by continuing to charge.

[I would have charged for access to] the intensely local content that only they have the infrastructure to collect. On the other hand, parts of business that were more easily attacked like classifieds, I would have been much more aggressive by supplementing print business with an online business. The resulting classified business is no doubt worse, but it is better than losing share at the rate they did. The problem with their strategy was that it was undifferentiated.

What do you think of Hulu?

The constructive part is that it took way way way too long, but ultimately, a critical mass of industry is cooperating with each other. Historically, it is the insistence on going alone that enhanced the negative impacts.

However, I think it is very important for this joint entity to go slowly and not pursue self destructive strategies, and figure out how to use the joint vehicle to price discriminate with advertisers and viewers.

Why isn't there bigger cooperation amongst news orgs?

People believe everything they do is special. It turns out only some of it is special. The marketplace is showing what's special. Local papers don't need a Washington bureau, but they need local politics, local crime, local sports expert.

Many traditional media companies buy web companies, only to write them down a few years later when they see that they're not worth what they thought. Do you think it's in media companies' best interest to wait until the dust settles on certain web businesses before they dive in?

People sometimes get confused. Just because somebody destroys an existing business model, for all of the emotional satisfaction that may give you, doesn't imply it is itself, a good business model. The simple fact that you've torn down a barrier, leaves you just as naked as it has left them.

Unless you are able to construct something new in its place, which is no mean task, the chances are that you are going to be threatened in the same way they were by the next guy, who will not need to try as hard as you did because there is no wall there in the first place.

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posted October 21, 2009 11:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for a   Click Here to Email a     Edit/Delete Message
Great stuff from Xplane...

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posted November 06, 2009 05:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message

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posted January 11, 2010 09:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
The State of Online Video: Getting Paid for Content

by Guest Author on January 11, 2010

This guest post is written by Ashkan Karbasfrooshan, the founder and CEO of WatchMojo, a leading producer of premium, informative and entertaining video content. The company’s catalog of 5,000 videos has generated over 105,000,000 streams since 2006. Today, WatchMojo streams nearly 10 million videos each month and reaches 20,000,000 consumers online and offline.

Party like it’s 1999?

Online video is where search was in 1999: a major part of the digital media ecosystem is desperately looking for a business model and a leading ad format. We know what happened in search, while the early leaders ditched search-as-a-business for portaldom, Google stayed the course and built a $200 billion company.

Search captures intent, video captures interest. Intent offers advertisers a short-term benefit, interest a more long-term value. Perhaps that is why it is taking longer for online video revenues are materialize in a major way.

Yet, over the past year, online video consumption has soared threefold and it appears that this might be the year that the medium grows up and sees its revenues take off too (fingers crossed). This explains why in boardrooms large and small, everyone is trying to crystallize their online video strategy.

Old media and video: Those who can won’t, those who want can’t

When it comes to traditional media companies and online video: those who can won’t, those who want can’t.

Print media would love to ramp up video efforts, but they can’t because it’s not a natural part of their DNA, operations or culture.

Conversely, while television media companies can transition online, they won’t because it cannibalizes their larger offline revenue streams. To TV executives, online video is what the Web was to print media a decade ago: those who embraced it didn’t fare that well; those who shunned it died.

Lost in time

Last year marked the first drop in online advertising revenues since 2002: a 4.2% decline according to eMarketer. Combined with the economic meltdown, media executives had the knee-jerk reaction to knee-cap free, ad-supported content in favor of subscriptions.

Two years ago, the Wall Street Journal was considering going totally free. Now suddenly everyone wants to erect pay walls. Problem is by the time these tactics are implemented, advertising will return faster than ever and old media will once again find itself on the wrong side of the equation.

The main difference between now and then

In 2000, when the Nasdaq crashed, it dried up the advertising money that venture-backed startups were spending online. Traditional marketers had yet to really experiment with online advertising. Today, as marketers start increasing advertising spending again, they are shifting more money to online at the expense of traditional media: Pepsi will shun Super Bowl advertising in favor of social media.

Social media and UGC changes things, sort of

Social media has changed the rules of engagement in news and publishing. But when it comes to ad-supported models, marketers will never feel 100% comfortable advertising alongside user-generated content.

This is why professional content remains the key ingredient to capturing those advertising dollars.

Where video and text diverge

Unlike articles, you can’t fool audiences as easily with videos. It’s easier to get away with a slapdash article than with a slapdash video. Thus, most of the existing online video content relies on “talking head” footage and Q&A formats which are relatively simple to produce. Most of the videos that pass for professionally produced videos should be articles. No wonder marketers remain hesitant to underwrite the genre.

Fiction vs. Non Fiction

Even non-fiction video content needs to be demonstrative (vs. descriptive). Meanwhile, chasing hits with fiction remains too speculative; the risk/reward benefit makes it prohibitive online. Producers who understand this will have an edge over time as budgets shift to video.

Premium vs. Super premium

Naturally, not all online video content is created or valued equally. Traditional media companies produce super premium content. Web producers try to create premium content. However, both are professional.

While marketers will pay more for super premium content (which explains why Hulu commands a large premium in ad rates over the industry standard), online audiences tend to favor Web content whose format and style is more in tune with their more fickle tastes.

As such, those who mold their Web content offerings by mapping out super premium catalogs will also create more valuable libraries. While you cannot match production values, you should offer marketers the same value proposition, adjusted for the ROI that advertisers have come to expect from digital media.

The branded content hype

Branded content holds much promise. But it might be myopic to think that audiences will remain engaged with marketing videos disguised as entertainment. Advertorials in print media have long been a part of the magazine experience, but audiences have learned to bypass them.

Over time, the content itself filters audiences for advertisers. Advertising cannot fully replace or become the content outright. But producers who tastefully weave commerce into content will win.

Ultimately, the Field of Dreams approach might be more realistic: create content that you are passionate about and people want to watch, build an audience and then monetize it. We all want advertisers to pay for content before it’s green lit, but that doesn’t mean it will happen.

Licensing vs. Ad-supported

Of course, getting paid for content is ideal. But consumers will never pay for it online, so find other media companies who will. To be able to become a supplier of content to other media companies and maintain the Field of Dreams philosophy, producers need to balance a) quantity, b) quality, c) frequency and d) consistency.

Getting paid for content by other companies is especially important with video content because even large media businesses are having trouble generating meaningful video advertising revenues.

Finally, to position for the day when video advertising becomes material, producers need to consider e) timeliness. Returning to the search parallel, what good did market share do in 1999 when queries weren’t being monetized? Creating so-called evergreen content gives one’s catalog a longer shelf life, which in turn protects against the short-term weakness in revenues and the long-term “build vs. buy” dilemma that old media (and eventual M&A acquirers) need to go through.

Even if you don’t take advice, learn from it

But that’s not enough. Companies will pay a supplier if they also offer f) variety. founder Scott Kurnit once gave me the best advice I didn’t fully heed. He cautioned me against covering too many categories. I didn’t take his advice, but made sure that if we did want to offer clients variety, then each category’s clips should be as good as what any best-of-breed producer offers.

Today, I think we do that. As we mark WatchMojo’s four-year anniversary and celebrate crossing the 100,000,000 cumulative video stream mark, we’ve learned that sometimes, you really have to go against the institutional imperative and find your own path in order to survive.
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CrunchBase Information
Ashkan Karbasfrooshan
Ashkan Karbasfrooshan image
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran
Companies:, Granicus Group

Ashkan Karbasfrooshan is the founder of Granicus Group and Founder/ CEO of Mojo Supreme, a digital media, technology and services company with interests in vertical and video search, online publishing, the production of original video content for the… Learn More image
Location: Montreal, Canada
Founded: January 1, 2006
Funding: $1.5M is the leading supplier of premium videos to media companies who look for professionally-produced content. Distributing video programming to the largest social networks and video portals online, also reaches 20M consumers…

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posted February 17, 2010 12:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
`Funny Or Die' leaps to TV in new HBO series

AP Entertainment Writer

Will Ferrell and Adam McKay forged their partnership years ago on "Saturday Night Live." Now, in a much different way, the two are back on TV with a sketch comedy show.

On Friday at midnight, HBO will premiere "Funny or Die Presents," a new half hour series that compiles clips from the comedy video Web site that McKay and Ferrell co-created in 2007.

The show arrives as part of a new batch of HBO comedy. The Friday slate also includes the premiere of "The Ricky Gervais Show," the start of season eight of "Real Time With Bill Maher" and the second season of "The Life and Times of Tim."

"Funny or Die Presents" is the fruition of a deal hatched in 2008 between the site and HBO, which purchased a piece of reportedly in the neighborhood of about $10 million. There's further overlap in that HBO airs the McKay and Ferrell-produced hit "Eastbound & Down," which is prepping a second season.

"Funny or Die Presents" represents an increasingly common fusion between Web-created content and television. When the series was announced, Ferrell sarcastically asserted the deal was "the missing link moment where TV and Internet finally merge."

The show is introduced by a 1950s-style TV host who intones: "'Funny or Die' is at the forefront of computer technology, leading the way in computer comedy programming. Tonight marks a departure from our usual business model as we join the ever-declining world of broadcast television."

McKay, best known as the director of comedies such as "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" and "Step Brothers," says that joke is "70 percent true and 30 percent joking."

When launched, it was rare in its combination of professionally created content (from Ferrell, McKay and their Hollywood friends) and user-generated videos that, if deemed funny enough by viewers, could compete with the pros.

It has had some mammoth hits, such as "The Landlord" (nearly 70 million views) and the beloved series "Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis." It has often capitalized on the news cycle by rapidly creating timely videos. Videos submitted by users have been far less likely to find viral success, but McKay believes the contributions have gotten "way better."

"Funny or Die Presents" isn't the next "Saturday Night Live" - it's somewhat slight, unabashedly cheap programming. McKay describes it as "the least noted or developed TV show that's maybe ever been put on."

"The whole concept of 'Funny or Die' ... was the idea that people could have a place to put up whatever they wanted to put up with no notes and no filter," McKay says. "The TV show came out of that same spirit."

McKay was a writer at "Saturday Night Live" in the late 1990s. He has occasionally written sketches, including one performed by Tina Fey as Sarah Palin. In "Funny or Die Presents," he sees an unfiltered sketch show not beholden to network demands or audience expectations.

For frequent visitors to, the material on the HBO show will look familiar: Will Ferrell as Abraham Lincoln with Don Cheadle as Frederick Douglas in "Drunk History"; Rob Riggle and Paul Scheer in "Designated Driver"; Fred Willard in "Space Cats."

"It has an energy to it," says McKay. "There are some pieces that are brilliant and some that are kind of a mess. It feels really kind of free."

The show, produced by creative head Andrew Steele, is essentially a step in a direction toward longer-form material. McKay's goal is to transition the site further into TV and low-budget movies.

"That's probably the next big step for 'Funny or Die' - to continue to sort of blend the two," says McKay.

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posted March 01, 2010 02:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
The Future Won’t Be Free

By Andrew Zolli | NEWSWEEK

Published Feb 26, 2010

From the magazine issue dated Mar 8, 2010

Fifteen years and two careers ago, I, like a lot of young, aspiring digirati, migrated to New York to be part of what was to become the dotcom revolution. I worked in the new-media division of a well-regarded communications agency, designing and building Web sites for big corporate clients. Many of these sites were intended to give away huge amounts of content, and I toured the world, making countless speeches extolling the virtues of free-for-all online access. I generally got a warm reception.

In those days I frequently spouted Stewart Brand's maxim that "information wants to be free." And, like almost everyone else at the time, I was quoting only half of what he said. "On the one hand," Brand explained, "information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other." A nuanced thought like this was harder to paraphrase, and selling "free" made us seem like visionaries—radicals even. The fact that the grown-ups looked quizzically at our (largely absent) business models only confirmed how smart we thought we were.

Unfortunately, as we've seen since, for companies whose core product is content—like every newspaper and magazine you read, including this one—the idea that we Internet visionaries sold is a total load of crap. We persuaded executives to compete with themselves online by setting up Web sites that offered for free the same content their staffs labored so strenuously to produce and sell in their print publications. The theory was that companies were supposed to make back the money by, uh, "monetizing the attention economy," or some other similarly vaporous concept, that meant either charging customers later on, or selling advertisements, or both.

They bought in, and now the Internet is pulverizing them. Notice I didn't say "infotech" or "digital media" are doing the pulverizing—it's the Internet, specifically. Following our lead, companies have now trained a generation of young people to never, ever, ever expect to pay for content on a laptop or desktop. But this is not quite the apocalypse. Many new digital platforms are brewing, and early on in the development of each one there will be a battle for the business model—a fight to figure out who will pay. The advent of every new device is another chance to turn it all around.

When I buy the dead-tree version of my local newspaper, I have no expectation that it should be free. If I pick it up and walk out of the coffee shop without paying, that's stealing. But when I walk upstairs to my office and log on to the Web site for the same paper, I feel a divine right to access the entirety of that paper—and 10 years of its archives—for free. Yet when I use another little computer invented more recently (Amazon's Kindle, say) to access that very same newspaper, I do pay. And I expect to pay. When the market floods this year with the iPad and its inevitable clones, I'll expect to pay on those as well.

In the long run, the first decade of the Web could come to be seen as a momentary aberration—an echo of '60s free culture when we all took the bad, digital acid. So, media companies, on behalf of all misdirected Internet visionaries, I'm sorry. We like you—we really do—and we don't want a world without you. If you can hold on until we all have new kinds of screens, and new sets of expectations, you'll be fine. You'll be different, but fine. Just, please, don't take my word for it this time. Ask around.

Zolli is executive director of PopTech, a social-innovation incubator and thought-leadership conference.

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posted March 08, 2010 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
Andreessen’s Advice To Old Media: “Burn The Boats”

by Erick Schonfeld on Mar 6, 2010

Legend has it that when Cortes landed in Mexico in the 1500s, he ordered his men to burn the ships that had brought them there to remove the possibility of doing anything other than going forward into the unknown. Marc Andreessen has the same advice for old media companies: “Burn the boats.”

Yesterday, Andreessen was in New York City and we met up. We got to talking about how media companies are handling the digital disruption of the Internet when he brought up the Cortes analogy. In particular, he was talking about print media such as newspapers and magazines, and his longstanding recommendation that they should shut down their print editions and embrace the Web wholeheartedly. “You gotta burn the boats,” he told me, “you gotta commit.” His point is that if traditional media companies don’t burn their own boats, somebody else will.

Andreessen once famously put the New York Times on deathwatch for its stubborn insistence on trying to save and prolong its legacy print business. With all the recent excitement in media quarters recently over Apple’s upcoming iPad and other tablet computers, and their potential to create a market for paid digital versions and subscriptions of newspapers and magazines, I wondered if Andreessen still felt the same way. Does he think the iPad will change anything?

Andreessen asked me if TechCrunch is working on an iPad app or planning on putting up a paywall. I gave him a blank stare. He laughed and noted that none of the newer Web publications (he’s an investor in the Business Insider) are either. “”All the new companies are not spending a nanosecond on the iPad or thinking of ways to charge for content. The older companies, that is all they are thinking about.”

But people pay for apps. Wouldn’t he pay for a beautiful touchscreen version of a magazine? Maybe, if it were something genuinely new that blew him away. It would have to be more than an article with video and graphics though. (I agree, otherwise it’s no better than a CD-ROM).

Oh, and he points out, that the iPad will have a “fantastic browser.” No matter how many iPads the Apple sells, the Web will always be the bigger market. “There are 2 billion people on the Web,” he says. “The iPad will be a huge success if it sells 5 million units.”

Despite trying time and again, Andreessen’s observation is that media companies have no aptitude for technology, nor do they really understand what technology companies do. The one thing technology companies do really well is deal with constant disruption. “Microsoft is going through this right now,” he points out, “Ballmer is not complaining about it.” He’s tackling it head on. So did Intel when Andy Grove gutted it to shift from memory chips to microprocessors. So does every technology company CEO. It is ingrained in the industry Andreessen comes from, so it is just obvious to him: “You are cruising along, and then technology changes. You have to adapt.” Media companies need to learn that lesson fast. To the extent that their products are now delivered and consumed as digital bits, they too are becoming technology companies.

Beyond the iPad, he believes that all the talk once again from big media companies about erecting paywalls or somehow charging for news, articles and video online is shortsighted at best. He comes back to the simple fact that the open Web is where the users are. Talking about paywalls and paid apps is like saying, “We know where the market is and we are not going to go there.” Print newspapers and magazines will never get there, he argues, until they burn the boats and shut down their print operations. Yes, there are still a lot of people and money in those boats—billions of dollars in revenue in some cases. “At risk is 80% of revenues and headcount,” Andreessen acknowledges, “but shift happens.” You’d have to be crazy to burn the boats. Crazy like Cortes.

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posted March 26, 2010 10:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message
Seeking to mine a growing audience for TV shows online, The CW Network is taking a route that other broadcasters have avoided: putting as many ads in Web versions of its shows as it airs on TV.

The U.S. network, a joint venture of CBS Corp. and Time Warner Inc., plans next TV season to double the commercials in Web versions of its shows, including "Gossip Girl." That's a steep increase from the one or two ads per online commercial break that have become more standard as media companies jockey to keep Web video from undermining the traditional TV business.

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posted April 06, 2010 08:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message
Producers Guild Of America Agrees On New Credit: "Transmedia Producer"
By Nikki Finke | Monday April 5, 2010 @ 11:10pm PDT

pga logoEXCLUSIVE: I've learned that a significant All-Boards meeting for the Producers Guild of America took place tonight. Sources tell me that the members voted on a series of amendments that qualify individuals as professional producers. More importantly, for the first time in the guild’s history, they voted on and ratified a new credit -- that of the Transmedia Producer -- which had been shepherded by such Hollywood names as Mark Gordon, Gael Anne Hurd, Jeff Gomez, Alison Savage, and Chris Pfaff.

This Guild-wide adoption is unprecedented as it will allow executives who expand storylines of franchises onto multiple platforms to receive official credit on these projects as "Transmedia Producers". These producers develop cross platform storylines on Film, Television, Short Film, Broadband, Publishing, Comics, Animation, and Mobile -- and now, they’ll be credited with an official title. I'm told this is a historic move for the PGA because the guild rarely backs new credits. "These amendments demonstrate how the guild supports producers making and changing the game," a source told me tonight.

Word to me is one of the authors and driving forces behind the PGA’s New Media Council Transmedia Producer credit was Jeff Gomez, President and CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment and a member of the PGA East. He's been a pioneer of Transmedia Storytelling and implemented these type of campaigns for projects including James Cameron's Avatar, Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean and Prince of Persia and Tron, as well as Transformers for Hasbro and Microsoft’s Halo.

Here is how the PGA defines a Transmedia Producer:

A Transmedia Narrative project or franchise must consist of three (or more) narrative storylines existing within the same fictional universe on any of the following platforms: Film, Television, Short Film, Broadband, Publishing, Comics, Animation, Mobile, Special Venues, DVD/Blu-ray/CD-ROM, Narrative Commercial and Marketing rollouts, and other technologies that may or may not currently exist. These narrative extensions are NOT the same as repurposing material from one platform to be cut or repurposed to different platforms.

A Transmedia Producer credit is given to the person(s) responsible for a significant portion of a project’s long-term planning, development, production, and/or maintenance of narrative continuity across multiple platforms, and creation of original storylines for new platforms. Transmedia producers also create and implement interactive endeavors to unite the audience of the property with the canonical narrative and this element should be considered as valid qualification for credit as long as they are related directly to the narrative presentation of a project.

Transmedia Producers may originate with a project or be brought in at any time during the long-term rollout of a project in order to analyze, create or facilitate the life of that project and may be responsible for all or only part of the content of the project. Transmedia Producers may also be hired by or partner with companies or entities, which develop software and other technologies and who wish to showcase these inventions with compelling, immersive, multi-platform content.

To qualify for this credit, a Transmedia Producer may or may not be publicly credited as part of a larger institution or company, but a titled employee of said institution must be able to confirm that the individual was an integral part of the production team for the project.

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posted September 10, 2010 04:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
The future of media in 45 minutes...

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