Below is a very interesting video showing how you can watch TV online without (in theory) having to pay for Cable TV - interesting trend, for sure.
I'm not sure OTT video is quite ready for mainstream yet (certainly the content providers / rights-owners are not;) but this is a trend I'll be watching very closely.
And yes, I do use Boxee on a MacMini at home, in Switzerland, myself; last not least to see what my own videos look like on HD TV.
I just uploaded another 8-minute chunk of video from my appearance on the Brazilian RodaViva TV Show, on my Youtube channel. Some excerpts: we are transitioning from buying copies to buying access. Google just maybe the first company that actually wants to build and maintain a win-win-win ecosystem - to achieve that they have to solve some very hard and first-time-ever problems, on the way (such as, you guessed it, privacy and the mushrooming debate over data security and permission). Governments around the world all have one common goal: get everyone online, and mobile, as soon as possible - because it increases GDP.
But in many developing countries, more telecom competition is needed to increase the speed of the roll-out. The bottom line for Content 2.0: it's better to get everyone to pay for legal content a much lower price, or use bundled services, then to have very few people consume protected content at high prices.
You can watch (and download) the whole 75-minute thing, here.
This is the complete, 75-minute video of my appearance on Brazil's most popular talk show on Public TV, called Roda Viva (on the TV Cultura channel). I was delighted to be invited to the show, and really enjoyed being 'grilled' by the super-smart journalists and Brazilian media experts in the studio. We could have talked forever! The show was originally broadcast on April 26 (on Brazilian TV as well as online, see the Twitter buzz here) but unfortunately the webcast did not work very well so this is the first time I have seen the video, myself, and thanks to Roda Viva / TV Cultura I am delighted to be able to share this recording with you, as well.
More information about the show is here. Duda Groisman made some great photos during the recording of this show, embedded below. Related activities on this trip include: my presentation for NBS Brazil "The Future of Communications and Business", and my presentation at Fundacao Dom Cabral (one of Brazil's best business schools) on "The Open Network Economy". Please note: the video is half Portuguese (the questions) and half English (my replies)
Today, Jeff Pulver's 140 Character conference in London presented a whole new challenge to me: make a presentation on "The Future of Content" with less than 140 characters i.e. in true twitter style (at least as far as the headlines and bullets are concerned), and deliver it in 10 minutes. At least, that is the challenge I prescribed to myself - and those are usually the hardest. Talk about a tall mission: here are those 140 characters - see if you can make any sense of it. My own, personal favorite: the music is 404 (page not found). And GWHTLC (glad we had this little chat;)
It was a pleasure and a privilege to be invited to the Telco2.0 Executive Brainstorm event in London, today, and to address a roomful of telecom & media executives that were - as it says in the conference tagline - looking for a way to 'reduce the friction in the digital economy'. After having to listen to some rather bizarre and, sadly, rather 'retro' justifications about why those pesky Internet users and Digital Natives (i.e. our kids) really do need to be threatened with disconnection from the Net if they don't comply with the rules of yesterday's game, delivered with great pathos by the usual lobbyists from UKMusic and Universal Music Group executives (see the list of panelists below), I tried to get down to the bottom line of what the workable alternatives to their Control & Enforcement paradigms could be.
Funny thing is, that in the subsequent vote most people in the audience seemed to actually agree that disconnection and punishment are not going to change anything and are not a suitable path to new revenues... I always wonder why there seems to be strong consensus if people vote (or talk) individually, but if you hear them 'in public' everyone always delivers the good old party line of wanting more control and protection. Why is that? Whose bread we eat whose song we sing... is that it?
I will post a summary here, shortly. In the meantime, here is the slideshow (download the PDF via slideshare). A
Very good news for Youtube and for the Future of TV, via FT, below. As you may have guessed, I particularly like the comment on the music industry;). Well done, Channel 4 - you are on your way to web-native content economics: decentralization, syndication, next generation advertising and viral distribution on multiple platforms is the key to monetizing TV content in the future.
"Andy Duncan, Channel 4's chief executive, said the deal would be a good way for Channel 4 to maximise its audience. The 4oD service on channel4.com served around 10m streams of full-length content in September, and has served around 365m in the three years since launch. In comparison, YouTube serves more than 1bn video streams globally each day."There is no point in being Canute-like. We have got to go where the consumers are and some members of the public increasingly want to consume programmes online," Mr Duncan said. "It will be a step change in the number of internet viewers we get."
He added that making programmes easily available on a popular platform such as YouTube would discourage people from seeking out pirated copies of shows online. "We are trying to avoid some of the mistakes that the music industry made in failing to make deals with popular platforms," he said."
"The internet is radically disrupting most of the traditional content
distribution and selling models, starting with music and games,
followed by TV, film, books and print publishing. Once everyone
is always-on, mobile and hyper-connected, and everything is available
everywhere, how will content be created, distributed, marketed,
consumed, and paid for? Who will do what, for whom, and how will the
traditional players such as broadcasters, record labels, publishers and
distributors adapt? If new players, starting with telecoms, device
makers, advertisers and brands, indeed move into the content business,
what will be their challenges and opportunities?
challenging financial climate, how do we reconcile the need to reward
enterprise and secure sustainable revenue streams, with the
expectations and demands of the “freeconomics” generation? What kind of
legal, regulatory and cultural framework do we need to ensure that this
new eco-system of creators, consumers and intermediaries generates more
benefits for all involved?
Speakers: Gerd Leonhard, media futurist, author and blogger; Richard Titus, Controller of Future Media, Audio, Music & Mobile, BBC; David A. Smith, chief executive of Global Futures and Foresight (GFF). Chair: Ralph Simon, CEO, The Mobilium Advisory Group and Chairman Emeritus & Founder, Mobile Entertainment Forum - Americas.
I just uploaded this new video (below) to my video channel on GerdTube.net (Blip.tv); it's somewhat similar to what I presented at Mobile Monday Amsterdam on March 30, 2009.
drastically different Broadband Culture is imminent - total mobility, always-on, low-cost Internet access,
constant peering and pervasive social media, rivers of news and oceans
of content. Developing nations will go straight to digital content-access,
straight to mobile EVERYTHING and straight to next generation
advertising and marketing. Control, Domination and Push / Monolog is
out; Openness, Collaboration and Conversation is in. From EGOsystem to ECOsystem. More: check out the GerdTube RSS feed (download all shows via iTunes)
I just finished watching a great Charlie Rose interview with the amazing Marc Andreessen (Founder of Netscape, now Founder of white-label social network platform Ning, among many other things). Marc is one the brightest people in this turf, and I definitely recommend that you check out what he has to say about the Future of Newspapers, and the Content / Technology space in general (Charlie Rose show link).
In the interview (see my short, slightly time-warped but still crucial excerpt below), Marc talks about the urgent need for all content to be blessed with an ok-to-use-license on social networks and social media. I totally agree with Marc on his key message: nothing can be achieved by removing your content, or by making the legitimate use of content so incredibly expensive and complicated that few companies can actually afford it. Recent examples abound: WMG and Youtube, Youtube & the PRS, Amazon's Kindle2 versus the Authors Guild, Pandora's difficulties outside of the U.S., CBS and Boxee, my very own Sonific.com ... and the list goes on. When content is removed from sites that deliver audiences of 200 Million+, then it's the creators and the users that lose, flat-out - no buts and ifs. Why do you think Facebook (which is starting to drive traffic in exceedingly huge numbers) does not have a music or video service? You guessed it: there is no reasonable deal to be had with the representatives of the music, film, and TV companies.
In my opinion, we currently have a severe IP-Gridlock situation: content creators, owners and their representatives (and these are very often more of a problem than the actual creators, in my experience) are still basing their monetizing strategies on scarcity, on the right to refuse the deal, and on 50-year old copyright laws, regulations and traditions. These laws - as crucial as they were back then - afford the rights-owner the exclusive right to say yes or no to pretty much any kind of new Internet-based use of their music, films or TV shows, and therefore a common misconception is that - as it has been for the past 50+ years - more control actually equals more income. And it kind-of did - back in those days when refusal could sometimes be a very effective way of enforcing a higher payment.
Well, this was then, and the future is... already here. Adhering to this strategy of refusal and monetary revenge ('now that you're a big company we'll take all we can get', see Youtube vs PRS) is a huge mistake and will beyond a shadow of doubt devalue your content very quickly, in the next 2-5 years (depending on your specific domain).
In music, this pivot point has already been reached: if your content is not available (i.e. findable and listenable) on Last.fm, Youtube, Myspace, Spotify, Facebook, QQ and so on, it quite simply won't exist for the 1.5 Billion Internet users and the soon-to-be-online 3.5 Billion mobile phone users. That means you are losing out on reaching a huge audience, and on doing so in the most cost-effective ways. It means that new routes to monetizing - those so-called new generatives- cannot be tried and co-invented. It means that innovative and honest entrepreneurs are stifled and silenced while your content is still being dished up in other places, for free, anyway, and without your permission. It means that all the mad mole-whacking won't get you paid - it's just the lawyers that make a good living this way. It means that a new ecosystem cannot emerge because you are still insisting on doing business like it was done 20 years ago: with large advances, completely under your exclusive control, your way... or the highway.
So here is a wake-up call if you're still thinking that blocking the use of your content will get you more money: it simply won't work. Period. You can't fax a cat. Really.
As to the music business (recorded and publishing), this much is obvious: either the industry will start to dial back on Economic Egoism and their obsession with Total Control, or 4 Billion Internet users will simply route around them like a river routes around a rock. To make matters worse, governments will certainly step in to force an end to a clearly dysfunctional system that criminalizes 100s of millions of people while returning zero new revenues to the creators.
What will work is COLLABORATION, Trust and Mutual Respect in defining the new ways of how $$$$ can be generated for content creators - and there are plenty, once we question our outdated assumptions.
Lastly, kudos to some companies and organizations that seem to be heading in a more positive direction:
I have observed a recent trend that I want to share and get your feedback on: some Internet companies and platforms such as Google / Youtube, Facebook, Nokia, Slideshare and Twitter are becoming so important to many of us that we would be severely challenged if they went away or materially changed their services. This makes them both very powerful but also very vulnerable - for if we chose to no longer trust them, they would quickly face their demise. Some examples:
Google already provides the digital toolbox and 'cloud computing' infrastructure for a 100s of Millions of people: free email, domain services, calendars, docs, widgets, blogging, videos, voice (soon!) - and of course: search and advertising services. Youtube has become the de-facto next-generation TV for a lot of people, already. My slightly futuristic view is that pretty soon Youtub
e and the many other video sites (and of course the 100s yet unlicensed video download services) may start replacing Cable TV as the prime source of entertainment for a lot of digital natives. A fast net connection + AppleTv + Boxee + Miro ...pretty soon, that should do it!
Facebook provides a key social platform that, for many users, has already substituted email or phone calls,
and is well on the way of becoming a cyberspace 'home' for many of us, a digital meeting place and key part of our social lives. My prediction is that Facebook will become as important as Google - and they will reinvent advertising in the process, just like Google did.
Nokia is heading in the same direction: Comes with Music is looking to provide a seamless, all-inclusive music experience
that is build-in or shall we say hard-wired into our mobile lifes, Nokia's OVI is gearing up to compete as the preferred destination for sharing things, and their handsets i.e. mobile computers are well on the way of becoming remote controls for our lives.
Flickr, Slideshare and Twitter - to a lesser degree, for now, compared to Google and Facebook - have become crucially important to Millions of people
already (I can attest to that) because they are great platforms to share stuff; and shar
A bit like the good old BBC, these companies may soon face a double duty and somewhat of a conundrum: 100s of Million of people have grown accustomed to using them, and their services have become so crucial that they have become not only valuable businesses but also public utilities that we are increasingly depending on. My feeling is that once a company has reached this position, its value is much higher than the actual revenues could ever warrant, since it's no longer just about monetary value but also the social capital they have accrued, and the corresponding TRUST that we put into them. So this is, as a result, the most important mission for those companies
that make it to this point: Earn and keep my trust, every single day,
with everything you do. And then, I will keep paying attention to you,
give you my data to use, send my friends to you. Don't mess with the
The Google guys have just published a video with my talk at Authors@Google, in San Francisco, March 2, 2009 (see the details here Pdf: The End of Control Gerd Leonhard at Google SF PDF
*22MB). Due to some technical issues my fancy slides (i.e. the stuff on the screen) come across very nicely in this video while I am left a bit 'in the dark' - but if you use the HQ version on the Youtube site you can still get a much better idea of what my face actually looks like (I guess always wearing black is not ideal when the lights are bad;). Anyway, I do think this is one of my best talks, so... watch the entire 55 Mins 22 Secs. As far as the End of Control Book is concerned, I will have an announcement on my plans within the next 10 days...stay tuned.
Here is the official Google Talks description:The End of Control & The Future of Content: The tough
issue of control emerges, again and again, as the key contention point
within TV companies, publishers, record labels, and broadcasters: How
can a commercial venture that is based on so-called intellectual
property thrive and prosper in an environment that seems to
continuously and progressively remove control from the
creators/owners/providers of content, and hands it over to the people
formerly known as consumers (aka the users), effectively making them
more powerful every single day? But the reality is that every
click inadvertently makes another case for the consumers
ever-increasing rise in importance. Within all the conversations I have
had about things like commercial content versus shared content, about
the read-only or the read-write web, and about copyright versus Fair
Use, the crucial question always seems to boil down to WHERE IS THE
CONTROL HERE, i.e., questions such as Who will control this new media
universe and How much control do I need to run a revenue-generating
I already blogged about the Youtube / PRS show-down (hey - that's a great word for this) in the UK, earlier today. After reading, twittering and talking to lots of 'real' people about this today, this is my conclusion: This conundrum is not Google's 'fault' but still: Google needs to really, materially and boldly get involved with facilitating the construction of a new content logic and economy, and lead content creators, owners and representatives into a new ecosystem that will actually work for all involved parties. Because it can.
Conflicts like Youtube vs. PRS are unavoidable because the canyon between Google - imho still pretty much the primary driver of Net-fueled innovation and disruption- and the content creators (never mind the industry) gets bigger by the minute. And, in my humble opinion, Google isn't doing nearly enough to explain this to them, and to guide them more conclusively into this new domain where content isn't always king, and where it won't matter if it is or not (if it ever did).
I talked about this in my speech at Authors@Google in SF last week; hopefully we will have that video available soon. The bottom line is that this will take deep, serious, multi-lateral, honest and open collaboration between these (and other) key constituents:
Content creators and the content industries (in that order;)
Telcos, ISPs, mobile operators and other telecommunications companies
Advertisers, brands, and their agencies
Social media and social networking platforms (of course all Internet companies, other search engines and portals)
Governments and governmental bodies
Welcome to a new Data Economy, a new Advertising Economy, and a New Content Economy.
Your turn, Google.
I will write more about this, but here's a quick illustration (thanks to Kevin Kelly for the power-lines & copy pic)
The UK / EU web is buzzing with the news that Youtube (Google) has started to block or remove UK music videos because they have not been able to strike a new music licensing deal with the PRS-For-Music, the UK rights society which represents the songwriters and the publishers. I particularly like the coverage of this issue by TelecomTV.com, here, but a lot more links to other coverage can be found below.
As is my habit, at times, I want to quote and comment. Before I get started, though, I want to point that obviously I don't know the terms of the license that were suggested by either Youtube or the PRS, so therefore I cannot comment on whether either one of them is realistic or not. I just know from my own experiences (among many others, with the now defunct - RIP - Sonific) and from many other deals that I have observed, that very often the respective proposals are 20-50x apart, i.e. one party may suggest 1 cent per stream while the other party wants 20-50 cents - mostly, simply because they can; after all, the rights holders enjoy the protection of having the exclusive rights to license their songs. I would not be surprised if that was the case, here (my exact guess is something like 10:1)
Anyway, here we go, from TelecomTV.com "Yesterday YouTube
announced that it was going to take down all the premium music content
currently available to UK YouTube users because it had failed to hammer
out a new licensing deal with the UK's Performing Rights Society (PRS)
for Music, a notoriously hard-line royalty collector. YouTube said the PRS wanted more royalty payment for each video view
than YouTube could ever make from the ads situated next to each"
My comment: this points to the root of the problem, right away. Any deal between the mighty Google and the still-trying-to-find-the-right-$-model Youtube and the rights-holders' representatives has to be about sharing the revenues that are actually achievable, in the market, here and today, and jointly building a system that can generate more and more revenues, tomorrow and beyond. Again, as Larry Lessig says, and as I have proudly annexed from him, it's about Compensation Not Control! To the PRS: NO, you cannot have both - and it looks like you just decided against Compensation???
Unfortunately, this detrimental mindset has become a default seeting: many if not most of the rights societies in the so-called developing world, and now apparently the PRS, too, have adopted one of these 2 strategies: a) if a potential licensee is still too small and economically insignificant to warrant their consideration, they will not offer any license at all, unless it neatly fits one of the existing templates b) if a potential licensee is large, juicy, popular and financially connected to an entity that seems to have verrrrry big pockets (see Last.fm, Myspace, Youtube, Facebook... maybe), they will ask for the moon and try take them to the cleaners. Even better if that entity has been previously in-breach of the existing licensing traditions and regulations - more leverage is always a good thing, right? Just study the mind-boggling story of my favorite web-radio service, Pandora. Never mind that this kind of 'it's my right and I will fully exploit it as I see fit' - thinking is also pretty much what has gotten us into this horrible economic crisis, as well - but that's another story.
None of this has anything to do with real, honest and open intention of building a mutually beneficial and future-oriented model, and everything to do with what I like to call Economic Egoism that is effectively set in stone i.e. law by some outmoded laws from over 20 years ago. As long as rights organizations -whose tasks it is to license music not to forbid its use - are pursuing this strategy we will not get to a point of 'peace' with all those new entities that clearly want to use, and pay for their music.
The PRS published a very revealing statement when Youtube announced their decision to play hard-ball and remove the music videos - here is the nugget: "Google had revenues of $5.7bn in the last quarter of 2008". What does that have to do with negotiating the fair and equitable licensing rates for music? PaidContent.org has some great comments on this issue, interviewing YouTuber Patrick Walker, including this one: "to suggest that, because Google’s a big company, we should just suck
it and pay a ridiculous rate is not something that we’re going to stand
by...it’s hard for new models to emerge when the starting point is a massive loss on a per-stream basis".
In fact, I believe that this kind of attitude from rights organizations, publishers and record labels will most certainly lead to government
intervention, sooner rather than later, since a dysfunctional market is not good for anyone - and clearly, this is what we have now, and it appears to be here to stay. I think... I have said it before:)
So here is my message to the PRSForMusic (as they are now called) and their members (hopefully they have a say in this, too): pleasssse get off this bizarre and decidedly Web 0.0 idea that Google should now be paying for everything that you think has been 'stolen' from you on the Internet. Instead, give YouTube a flexible, open, transparent and realistic license that gives everyone room and time to MUTUALLY develop this model, going forward. There is nothing to be gained by refusal! Start to cooperate rather than to try to dominate these conversations. COMPENSATION NOT CONTROL. And do it now, or have somebody else force you to.
" Imagine a world where unfiltered and limitless access to content is
bundled directly into your access to the networks. A world where 'your
cloud' holds all kinds of content, your social network connections,
your community, and your context (i.e. meta-content), your meta-data
and your interaction-trails, and where access to all of this is
feels-like-free, legal, always-on and fully mobile, on any and all
platforms. This is the future we are heading into, and telecoms,
content-owners and brands / advertisers must forge entirely new
partnerships. We are starting to see content creators and
rights-owners aborting their long-standing quests for total control,
and instead looking to build their audiences and share revenues. So
where is this trend going to take us, what do we need to do in order to
turn content (music, video, TV, news, games, books...) into a new and
truly growing business that is really web-native, where are the
big opportunities for telecoms, operators, social networks and
rights-holders, and what will the new business models look like? In
this context, Gerd will also address topics such as the flat rate for
digital music, ISP/Operator + Content bundling examples in Europe and
Asia, copyright 2.0 and the future of content commerce, the shift from
control-economy to attention & trust economy, the latest
developments in next generation advertising, and the growing economic
power of those 'new generatives' (> Kevin Kelly)..."