This is a very nicely recorded video (thanks to the BBC NI and their fabulous studio in Belfast) and I cover a lot of ground as far as the future of media is concerned; one of my best talks on this topic, to date, imho:) Enjoy and share!
You can download the PDF with most of the slides here , or just browse my Slideshare channel. In this talk I cover most of the key topics such as 'the people formerly known as consumers', the shift from ownership to access, advertising becoming content, independence replaced by Interdependence, the end of attention monopolies, the social OS aka SoLoMo.
Special thanks to the BBC NI for making a great video and sharing it with me and everyone else. Also special thanks to Tiffany Shlain and her great work - be sure to watch 'Connected the Movie' asap!!
Social web strategist, speaker and blogger Stowe Boyd and
futurist, speaker & author Gerd Leonhard are delighted to present
this 60-minute, free webinar based on a white paper jointly developed by
Stowe Boyd and TheFuturesAgency entitled 'social TV and the second
You can read more about here (and
download it via the link or directly, here )
"The overlap of social media and TV represents a huge opportunity
for those that truly understand and internalize, embrace and partake in
these changes, and that welcome this dawning networked, interdependent
and many-to-many society"
Stowe and Gerd will briefly present some select slides and updates
on the topic of the future of television (10-15 minutes each), followed
by a Q&A session with the participants.
The emphasis of this event is on allowing plenty of time for
questions and discussion; both via chat as well as via audio (upon
individual invitation only).
THIS EVENT IS LIMITED TO 100 PARTICIPANTS. Please sign up early and
be sure to show up at least 30 minute prior to the starting time to
Stowe and Gerd are both members of The Futures Agency network and
often work together holding seminars and think-tank events for media and
technology companies, around the globe see
Find our more about Stowe Boyd
Find our more about Gerd Leonhard:
Mobile apps: http://road.ie/futurist
The Future of Business blog http://www.futureof.biz/
More links: http://about.me/mediafuturist
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
"News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch has only been on Twitter for two weeks now, and I’m now dubbing him the new @ShitMyDadSays. He holds nothing back on the social site, and has already stirred up some stuff by admitting MySpace screwed the pooch.
I am delighted to be involved with PressPausePlay, a movie about digital creativity, funded and promoted by Ericsson, featuring people such as Hank Shocklee, Seth Godin, ZeFrank, Sean Parker, Larry Lessig and Mike Mesnick. And it's finally out and available! Here is what it's all about:
"The digital revolution of the last decade has unleashed creativity and talent in an unprecedented way, with unlimited opportunities. But does democratized culture mean better art or is true talent instead drowned out? This is the question addressed by PressPausePlay, a documentary film containing interviews with some of the world's most influential creators of the digital era"
From the blog: "we have had so many people ask "Where can we see your film?" and this week we are very happy to say our digital distribution has begun! PressPausePlay is now available online in many countries around the world, with more coming soon. You can now find PressPausePlay on iTunes US, iTunes Canada and iTunes UK. You can also purchase PressPausePlay on Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Vudu.com, CinemaNow.com, Xbox, and Playstation. Or put us on your Netflix cue where we will be coming soon..."
DVD streaming ‘rental’ service Zediva just shut down to comply with US court order; see the attached email. While it was clear from the beginning (to me) that their approach to licensing the rights wouldn’t work for very long, it is a pity to, once again, see innovative ideas fail because the rights-holders aren’t ready for it - or shall we say, aren’t ready to give these options to consumers...
It seems like every single day I read about how Internet and mobile companies are struggling to obtain the rights for what they want to do, whether it's about music, videos, TV shows, films, articles, text and images.
Netflix seems to have been more successful at tackling this wicked problem of content licensing, at least to some degree, by - as cnet aptly puts it - 'building relationships in traditional means' (I guess this means playing nice with Hollywood? Read the article - those are good, old-fashioned golf-club paradigms I'd say)
Spotify is a fantastic music service, no doubt; very much along the lines of what Dave Kusek and me envisioned as 'music like water' in our 2005 book 'The Future of Music', and subsequently expanded on in my follow -up book, Music 2.0 (free PDF here). Spotify is not officially available in Switzerland but I have been successfully using it via a UK paypal account (after trying simfy.de and not getting anywhere with their really awkward and crash-prone iPhone app). Unfortunately, Spotify just can't seem to get the music labels and national rights organizations to bless their launch in many other territories, including the U.S. (read this Slashgear piece for more details ). All of this - you guessed it - because the record companies and the music publishers have not agreed on the licensing and deal terms for those countries, yet, and despite the fact that Spotify is already spending most of its VC money on paying for the music licenses. The fact is that there are no compulsory licenses available for on-demand streaming and flat-rate access services so unless these deals are negotiated nobody can touch it. Read about it here, or here (my Spotify-related blog posts), or via my July 2009 blog post on specifically why I think Spotify is unlikely to survive, or peruse the Zemanta-enabled links below for more enlightenment by some smart people
So here is the point I am trying to make: I don't think a purely free-market-driven and unregulated approach will work, in the future. Many large, incumbent media companies, publishers, record labels and other traditional intermediaries (i.e. the 'industry' as opposed to the actual creators) have every reason NOT to be flexible or even slightly forthcoming with their licensing terms and thereby support the deployment of new cloud-based, access-on-demand and flat-rated services. This is simply because their very existence may quickly and irreversibly change the entire playing-field, and may make it very hard for the incumbent rights-conglomerates to continue to effectively control distribution (and by extension, advertising prices) in the same way as before. These changes aren't for the better when you currently run the entire show, so why should you agree?
This is why Warner Music Group's Edgar Bronfman has said many times that he will not license any unlimited streaming-on-demand service, why Netflix - despite of (or because?) its vast growth - has been back and forth with the Hollywood studios on getting more content deals done, and why Hulu is losing steam because of the studios' concerns over future cable-TV revenue streams. Clearly, this is all about controlling and milking the market (i.e. the 'people formerly known as consumers') as long as possible. Yes, sure, just like the big telcos used to do before they had to let competition in. This is not about 'getting the artists / creators paid' or about fighting digital piracy - it's about maintaining a comfortable and lucrative monopoly position for the longest possible time. Which is OK, too - if it wasn't for the criminalizing effect it has on every single Internet user.
Most large, international media companies (disclosure: many of which are or have been my clients in some way or the other) and almost all major TV, film and music rightsholders are used to absolute control over the distribution of the works (and artists / producers) that they own or represent, and this simple fact used to result in getting much higher license fees - the other party had no choice but to take it or leave it; no license simply meant no (legal) business. This may sound somewhat reasonable in a mostly offline world (i.e. until just recently, when the mobile Internet started to take of), but on the Net, in a truly networked society, this kind of thinking plays out quite differently: refusal to license at a price that is affordable(and / or financially viable for a new, potentially huge but legally unprecedented player) simply encourages and produces piracy, because the desired content will become available anyway, legal or not, one way or the other. The reality is that there is no real control of distribution of digital content, any longer, and all models based on re-achieving that control will fail miserably. Witness the 100s of illegal movie sites that now stream pretty much any movie on-demand, or the many new IP-cloaking and re-routing services (commonly used to access locally restricted content services) that are currently flooding the market. Not licensing content to new players on actually survivable terms simply lets other, parasitic entities prosper by offering it without permission. Everyone loses.
My thesis is that - just like telecom deregulation - we urgently need new, open and public mechanisms that first significantly encourage and then possibly even enforce the licensing of copyrighted works for new services that require a new and more experimental approach, and that may end up serving the consumers much better than the traditional services. A 'use it or lose it' rule may be useful to that end; and as far as music is concerned I have been proposing a new, public digital music license for a long time.
In any case, I think that a system that continues to be based on deriving future benefits ONLY for the largest and most powerful rightsholders (again, by that I do not mean the actual creators, but the industries that represent them) is, in my view, simply unsustainable and socially indefensible in this dawning broadband-culture and in a connected, networked and interdependent society. We need better and more transparent EcoSystems and less EgoSystems; less empires and more Open Networks.
Let me have your feedback please!
Note: if there is some kind of problem with my comment box on this blog, please use Facebook or Twitter for comments, for now, or email me and I will post them.
Everyone: this is a biggie. Check out this video below and the announcement on the Google blog. Here are some quotes from the blog, and some comments from my end:
"Google TV is a new experience for
television that combines the TV that you already know with the freedom
and power of the Internet. With Google
Chrome built in, you can access all of your favorite websites and
easily move between television and the web. This opens up your TV from a
few hundred channels to millions of channels of entertainment across TV
and the web..." My comment: this is the total web-tv convergence, at last, and this development should certainly scare the wits out of most major TV Networks. The gloves are off, guys! So far it has been quite hard to have TV-like, living-room centric experiences using the web; obviously this is just about to change. And the advertising-dollars will migrate along with our viewing (or rather, engagement -) habits! Friction will soon be Fiction, indeed. Welcome to Media as a Service (MaaS); Content in the Cloud: TeleMedia here we come.
"Because Google TV is built on open platforms like Android and Google
Chrome, these features are just a fraction of what Google TV can do. In
our announcement today at Google I/O, we challenged web developers to
start coming up with the next great web and Android apps designed
specifically for the TV experience. Developers can start optimizing their websites for
Google TV today" My comment: Google is betting on OPEN SYSTEMS to win this game, which imho is totally the right move. Yes, there is some room and argument for closed systems (Apple, PS3 etc) but almost all major successes will be fueled by open technologies, interfaces and platforms, i.e. networked and interdependent ecosystems. Going forward future, it's win-win-win-win or nothing (sound familiar?)
"We’re working together with Sony
to put Google TV inside of televisions, Blu-ray players and companion
boxes. These devices will go on sale this fall, and will be available at
Buy stores nationwide" My comment: very smart move by Sony - they missed the boat on digital music, and on ebooks (at least to some extent, I'd say), so this is their chance to catch up.
Mashable has a good summary of the key 'what it means' points, here.
I think 2009 will be a key year for the content industries, the creators, media companies, platforms, labels, publishers and other middle(wo)men.
In 2009, the value of content - starting with music and news - is being redefined for the Internet age. The gloves are off: the music rights societies want more money for each play, many journalists and writers are fearing a gloomy future as newspapers stop printing and shift to digital publishing around the world, and the book-authors guild is quarreling with Amazon about the Kindle2's robotic voice renditions of their works.
The bottom line is that the core logic and operating mantra that the 'Western' content industries have employed until now is becoming unstable and, economically speaking, increasingly unworkable. The Internet has severely disrupted the traditional value chains, and the promised land of advertising-supported free content has not yet materialized.
Let me outline these shifts and challenges a bit more:
A) Controlling the distribution of content - whether by technical or via legal means - is increasingly becoming an utter 'mission impossible' unless you want to adopt a seriously totalitarian Internet regime (as seems to be proposed in France last week I fear...)
B) Closed systems and walled gardens (yes, those of the telecoms and mobile operators, too) are leaking everywhere. Closed and centralized ecosystems are becoming very expensive and thus hard to maintain, e.g. Microsoft Windows versus the ever-mushrooming Google Web OS (soon to include voice communications), Android and Symbian mobile OS vs Windows Mobile, free streaming vs paid subscriptions such as Rhapsody, open API-based platforms such as Twitter and (now) the Guardian's Open Platform versus proprietary offerings such as iTunes or the WSJ, and so on and on.
C) On the Net, just about every mode of content consumption -aka listening, watching, reading- does in fact create copies, too, so the traditional legal distinction of 'free use/listen/watch but paid copy' is... well, toast, I would say. This creates significant legal uncertainty and pulls out the rug under the value logic of the traditional publishing industries.
First, here are some of the most common questions I keep getting about the Future of Content:
If everyone gets to make use of content (music, video, news, images) 'for free' or for much cheaper than before the advent of the Net, if just about everything but my dinner can be shared and remixed and forwarded, won't we just see a 'rush towards the bottom', i.e. all content gets cheaper, all the time, until it stops making real $ altogether? And how will 'open' content make any money, anyway? Who will pay for something that can be gotten for free? How can you compete with free? And beyond that, if everyone thinks they can be a creator, producer or broadcaster, too, who will still pay for the 'professionals'?
When access finally replaces ownership on a large scale, e.g. printed newspaper-reading goes away and reading on mobile devices takes over, or streaming music on my iPod Touch overtakes buying single tracks on Amazon or iTunes (ps: I think it already does), who should pay for what, when, where and how? Is this kind of universal access monetizable like the 'copy' was? How is the current law going to help us with this... or not? When the very definition of COPY becomes unworkable, what happens to Copyright?
If we agree that not making your content available online seems like an unrealistic option (as it indeed robs the creators of the most popular platforms and ways to present, market and promote themselves to their audiences) is the traditional right to refuse permission, based on the exclusive right of the author (or their representatives i.e. the publishers and labels, studios, rights organizations etc) still feasible and realistic? Can the law as it is now still be used to monetize our creations, or will the insistence on these pre-Internet laws just render us irrelevant, attention-wise and dollar-wise? And if we need to make our content more available, where will the new money come from? In other words, if not Control, then... what...how...when?
Here are some answers that I have been investigating (please bear with me for a few hours while I find the definitive solutions ;):
1) I think content can be both free or cheap, and very expensive. This sounds paradoxical, perhaps, but the reality is that in a system that is no longer based on selling units or copies (i.e. CDs, DVDs, books, single-track downloads, cable slots etc), the value of content is very likely to be constantly re-determined by a multitude of surrounding and incremental factors.
So the correct answer to that key question of 'what's the value of content' should probably be a solid: 'it depends'. As much as that may make the job of getting remuneration so much harder, I think it is also potentially quite liberating that we will no longer need to worry about controlling distribution so that we can sell more copies. Instead, as would be the case with the flat rate for digital music that I have been pushing for for the past 7 years, we could then shift our entire focus to getting and keeping Attention and Trust - 2 factors which now are the very foundation of any commercial success. In fact, I would argue that because of the de-emphasis on copies most content marketing and promotion tasks will get a lot easier (and much less costly) since we can now use the content as a marketing tool, itself.
2) So what are those future value-determining factors? Here are a few from a long list that I have been compiling:
The best quality experience, at the perfect time. Compare listening to a low quality audio-stream on your mobile, in the train, to enjoying an HD recording on your living room (or car?) sound system. The first one could be feels-like-free or bundled, the other one could be a premium, paid-for service. The difference is just my particular use case, not the 0s and 1s.
A new, attractive and convenient package (or shall we say, alternate user interface?) A powerful and very recent example is 'The Presidents of The United States of America' iPhone app: the user pays a one-time fee of $3 for free, on-demand streams and videos from the last 4 albums, and lots of up-selling is built right into the app. iPhone users that are fans are very likely to shell out $3 to get this cool widget, and in a way I guess they are now actually paying for what they would otherwise have gotten for free, anyway (i.e. to listen to their favorite music, on-demand). Plus, the band now has a direct and totally unique path to their biggest fans - and that is the new gold, in my opinion. Sounds like a great deal to me: package it nicely and it will sell regardless of free alternatives.
Also note that this same phenomena is what still sells printed books. The words i.e. the content anyone can probably get for free, somewhere, but the feel and smell of the paper, the physical format, the touch, the familiar and comfortable user-interface (UI) is what I am actually paying for when I buy the good old, dead-tree version. In other words, I pay for the design, the printing and shipping, and only implicitly for the 'words'. It is important to note, though, that nice user interfaces will soon be available on electronic reading devices, as well, therefore leading us to that very same, original question: what will we pay for when we buy content, ultimately? We may soon enter the age of content-as-software-packages: many of us may soon no longer order the printed versions of books (last not least because of environmental concerns) but we may happily pay a few Euros a month for a digital book subscription, or add it in a bundle via our mobile phone bill, only to then buy the 20 Euro multimedia / virtual world edition of a book we really like - except that it won't be printed and shipped but also downloaded to my mobile device.
Authenticity and timeliness. I foresee a future where I will gladly pay a bit more to make sure that what I get is the bona-fide real thing, from the actual creator, in its correct version and without any shortcuts or changes. An authorized, paid-for English translation of the new Paulo Coelho book (digital or otherwise) would certainly be more enticing to me than 'free' copy that is not stamped with his approval. And if I can get it the moment that it's finished, even better (and I pay another premium).
Selection, expert curation, filtering, culling, context, annotation. In my experience, few people have time to find the best music for a specific occasion. Why would I bother looking for a great selection of ambient 'space music' for my yoga sessions when a true, bona-fide authority such as Stephen Hill (Producer of the superb Hearts of Space / HOS online radio show) has already done this for me? My payment to HOS would therefore be not so much for the actual songs, it's more for the service of having them filtered and annotated by a real expert.
3) For the very same reason that content can be simultaneously worth a lot or very little (i.e. because of its disembodiment and the shift from selling copies to providing access), it follows that many rightsholders and their agencies may no longer be able to get fixed fees per copy, or even per use of a piece of content. Simply because if they continue to do that they will make it impossible-by-design to comply with their rules and legally use their content in all but the most highly subsidized cases, because most of the time a fixed fee will not be obtained on the other end (i.e. the users), either.
Youtube simply cannot pay a fixed 1 cent per stream - even with Google's deep pocket behind it - because the Youtube users will not pay 1 cent (or even a fraction thereof, for that matter) per stream, and advertising revenues that would support these kinds of license fees are not within reach yet (because, just like content, the web's advertising and marketing logic needs to be reinvented first, as well !). This new business needs to be build together, from the ground up.
We are seeing this hairy issue creep up everywhere: GEMA (the German copyright organization) reportedly wants up to 12.9 cents per music video that is played on Youtube in Germany; the reason being - and this is my personal guess - that they probably treat each video-play as an on-demand performance which would be charged almost as much as an actual copy (i.e. a download). And of course, the reality is that those digital natives are in fact using Youtube as virtual jukebox - watching my 15-year old son hang out in his room I can certainly attest to that.
So GEMA's (and PRS') point is as correct as it is pointless: these on-demand plays are very much like a download, in terms of how the users are using the content. Access is replacing ownership.
But here is the tough part that cannot be avoided no matter what: it's not the users, or Youtube (or Last.fm or Pandora or Hulu or Miro or Boxee etc) that are at fault here, it's how traditional content industry entities such as GEMA and PRS define the value of music (and other content). For them, a piece of content still has its fixed and minimum value, and if you want it, you'll need to pay up according to those rules.
As I am investigating more alternatives I will keep you posted so... stay tuned!
Mashable: YouTube Now Mutes Videos With Unauthorized Copyrighted Music. "Perhaps this has been going on for a while, but I’ve never noticed it before. YouTube
users often create an original video using their favorite popular song
as the audio. I’m afraid that they won’t be able to do that much
longer, since YouTube has started muting videos that use unauthorized
copyrighted music (and that pretty much means all user-created videos.) You can see some examples here, here and here. The official notice from YouTube under the video says the following: “This video contains an audio track that has not been authorised by all copyright holders. The audio has been disabled.”
Ouch. This will really hurt. Everyone. The amateur film makers, the artists, Youtube, us - the users. Yes, sure, I know: synchronization [the use of music in a public audio-visual production] is subject to a license by the writer, publisher, label, artist (and another dozen of parties), no matter how small the use. That's the law. BUT: where will this by-the-book implementation of these laws lead us? The answer is: criminalization.
Youtube (i.e. Google) will be virtually destroying 10s of millions of videos that millions of users have created and uploaded. I understand why Youtube would comply with demands for this, but this is really a bummer - would it not make sense for the music (publishing) industry to instead provide a non-commercial LICENSE for UGC content, and in return get traffic, referrals and shares of ad revenues? Would it not make sense for such a license to be created NOW rather then in 3 years?
"But are things really that dire? Some would argue that these industries
are healthier now than they ever have been. With the spread of
information at a never before seen level, pieces of journalism are
being read more now than ever, music artists are able to reach a
broader audience than ever (some by bypassing the record labels
all-together), and movies are being watched by more people in more
"The issue is control, and the embodiment of that control is copyright.
The music industry is perhaps most illustrative of the issue..."
"Currently in Japan, new copyright laws are being debated which could
make average users subject to civil law suits from record labels or
movie distribution companies. Within the walls of mega-forum 2-Channel
and the Japanese blogosphere, debate has been raging over the laws and
what they will mean exactly for the average user. Specifically the outright banning of illegal downloads—music, movies
and games being the main points of interest—is currently being
investigated by a sub-committee appointed by the central government.
Presently, Japan’s copyright law makes an exception in the case of
downloads for personal use..."
"The industry veteran [IFPI's John Kennedy] says he believes a large increase in resources
will not be needed to govern the Internet—warnings and enforcements
will just need to be carried out in a similar way to any other law.
“People call the Internet an ‘Information Super Highway.’ Well like any
normal highway, it can be governed. If someone is speeding you give
them a ticket and in extreme cases you take away their license.” But
how about finding them? “People sit in their rooms and think they are
anonymous but they are not—their IP address says exactly who they are,”
"Media futurist Gerd Leonhard [Me] says that in a globally networked world,
with an expected 3.5 billion mobile users and Internet speeds
increasing exponentially within the next two to four years, the
traditional Western concept of exclusive copyright must be reviewed.
“It is the purpose of copyright to generate sustainable and growing
revenues for the creators, not to prevent new uses of their works that
may eventually result in those new incomes. He believes that in the
future, “many of these models will be more like flat-rated or bundled
access models, rather than unit-sales based models.”
***"A recent case involving Google may help provide a blueprint for content
creators. In October, Google settled a dispute with authors and
publishers over its scanning of 7 million books for digital versions of
printed material. The company paid $125 million to publishers and
authors and will, from now on, provide a percentage share of the
profits from ads and downloading fees. Under the agreement, Google
would receive 37 percent of revenue while publishers and authors would
get the rest. The settlement could pave the way for similar agreements
within other industries..."
"Ito continues, “While it is important to protect copyright and the
incentives that copyright (and intellectual property) provide, it is
important that we do not prevent many of the basic things that people
want to do with content or prevent some of the potential new ways that
people will be expressing themselves and sharing this expression.”
"Futurist Leonhard says the key to making money in a post
super-connected world is to embrace the concept of losing control. He
believes that “a continued loss of control over IP and copyright and
most other measures of restrictions is absolutely inevitable; and in
fact, the less control we will have the more new revenues will surface.” Leonhard believes that “The future of creativity, content and media
is bright, as it is the human creativity and its embodiments that will
be even more valuable in a world of ubiquitous access and huge growth
of output. It is the value and dollar system and logic that we need to
rebuild and adapt—and the law is, of course, there to support this, and
will therefore be adapted. This process is not new, just more drastic
since the Web is often removing many old ways to get money out of
scarcity while not yet offering the same profit in a plausible new way
yet. This new logic needs more than 3 percent of the global population
on broadband, and always-on, to generate increasing revenues from those
new ideas. Another 24 months and we should have a much better take on
This is really well-written and nicely researched, balanced column by Michael Condon - kudos!
"...the MPAA,...told Judge Davis that peer-to-peer users automatically should be liable for infringement. The only purpose for placing copyrighted works in the shared folder is, of course, to 'share,' by making those works available to countless other P2P networks," the MPAA wrote."
And more from the Wired blog: "You don't have to prove actual distribution. You need to prove there's works in the share folder, and that is distribution," said Joseph Geisman, MPAA's chief intellectual property attorney, as he described the so-called "making available" concept"
"Mr. Perrette said the plan was to create “filtering technology that allows for playback of legitimately purchased content versus non-legitimately purchased content.... At the same time, it will be difficult for Microsoft to add features
that consumers don’t like to its Zune products, which already lag far
behind Apple in the market. Mr. Perrette said NBC understands the potential resistance. “In the
short term, this will not win us a lot of friends,” he said. “In the
long term, the consumer wants there to be quality premium-produced
content, and in order for that to continue to be a viable business,
there needs to be significant protection around it.”
Bizarre story - I can help wonder WHO WILL BUY A ZUNE if this is what happens. Help me out here...anyone?
"But of course, we know why the studios haven’t made those rights available.... But in other cases, they view digital distribution as an opportunity to reclaim the very degree of control they feel they lost with the advent of the video rental and sales business, in which the studios’ role is static and retailers are free to leverage the studios’ products to capture as much value as they can....
Imagine if every electronics device you bought
that was capable of playing video—whether hand-held, set-top or
portable—came with one or more embedded application that let you stream
movies at will for a reasonable monthly subscription fee. Instead of a few, handpicked operators, you would have dozens,
perhaps hundreds of retailers, and an untold number of device makers,
competing to make your products available to consumers, investing in
your business, cooperating to combat piracy.
Yes, it would mean letting those retailers and device makers capture some of the incremental value created by those services. But the alternative is frustrated consumers and under investment in the digital distribution business...."