Saturday, July 29, 2006

PANDORA to Host 'Town Meeting' in Ocoee

On Friday, August 4th, Pandora's very own Tim Westergren will be hosting a FREE 'town hall' meeting of sorts for local Pandora listeners at the House Blend Cafe in Ocoee (right off Highway 50, a few miles from downtown). It will be a great opportunity to talk directly with music afficionados about the innovative interactive streaming music service and discuss its future development, as well as online music in general. (Food and drink will be provided by the Cafe and there will be some Pandora gifts given out as well.)

TO REGISTER Drop Tim a line at:

WHEN: Friday, August 4th @ 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: The House Blend Cafe
10730 W. Colonial Dr.
Ocoee, FL 34761

The House Blend Cafe is on highway 50/W. Colonial Dr., and Mapquest directions are available HERE:

Among the questions To Be Discussed:

- Is online radio here to stay or just a fad for tech enthusiasts?
- What does Pandora need to do to thrive and continue to be the music discovery site of choice?
- How important are community and peers when it comes to discovering music online? How might one foster community best?
- Might services like Pandora help create a larger middle class of artists who aren't superstars, but have enough of an audience to support themselves through their music?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Phanfare vs. YouTube

Apparently, many people are surprised that when they post their user-generated digital media content to online places like MySpace and YouTube, they're actually giving these popular destinations the right to distribute it, sell ads against it, and generally make money from it...But don't be surprised...this is a new type of business model - aggregating an audience around consumer generated content and then making money by selling access to that audience in one way, shape or form.

Phanfare, however, claims to be a little different. 'With Phanfare, you are paying to publish and archive your video. Not only do you retain the rights to your content, but we claim no right to distribute, remarket, or otherwise make money on your content. Phanfare’ s positioning and business model fits better with the needs of the mainstream who are not seeking anonymous attention but instead seek to maintain a semi-private collection of photos and videos."

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Microsoft Will Pay You To Leave iTunes

According to Engadget, Microsoft is actually going to pay for users to switch to Zune - which is quite a risky (but compelling) value proposition...

"To attract current iPod users Microsoft is going to let you download for free any songs you've already bought from the iTunes Music Store. They'll actually scan iTunes for purchased tracks and then automatically add those to your account. Microsoft will still have to pay the rights-holders for the songs, but they believe it'll be worth it to acquire converts to their new player."

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Microsoft Confirms Competition for iTunes/iPod

Well it's official...Yesterday, MSFT confirmed a new music and entertainment project called Zune which promises to deliver a family of hardware and software products expected to compete with Apple's market leading ecosystem consisting of the iTunes / iPod. The Zune brand is being billed as a "music and entertainment" project aimed at connecting with others to discover new music and entertainment and will deliver a family of hardware and software products.

Billboard reports that "additional Zune-branded devices will follow, including a portable video player and, potentially, a portable game device," as well as an initial device offering WiFi and drive-based storage. The WiFi won't just be for moving around music files, as in the MusicGremlin, however. Apparently other "seven or eight" wireless usage scenarios are envisioned, as suspected, and aims at providing "ubiquitous access to digital media from a wide range of Windows-powered devices in what ultimately aspires to be one part MySpace, one part iTunes and one part Xbox Live."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Open Source Linux DRM Grows Up

An open source DRM (digital rights management) software project started in 2002 that supports embedded Linux has apparently achieved its second major release. OpenIPMP v2 adds support for additional open DRM standards, along with structural and development improvements aimed at making the software easier to port, build, and integrate.
The OpenIPMP project aims to provide open standards-based DRM software that can be easily ported to any platform. Along with an SDK (software development kit) for adding DRM to media encoders and players, OpenIPMP includes a J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) server application for rights management and license issuing.

OpenIPMP v2 supports open DRM standards that include: Motion Picture Expert Group IPMP (intellectual property management and protection) specifications for MPEG-2 and MPEG-4,OMA (Open Mobile Alliance) DRM v2 specification and ISMA (Internet streaming media alliance) encryption and DRM signaling specifications for MPEG-4 streaming and local playback (ISMAcryp)

In addition, OpenIPMP v2 adds a better integration interface, pluggable key management, a full crypto system interface, and an upgraded client-server protocol based on SOAP web services. OpenIPMP v2 is available now for download at SourceForge and its integrated by default with MPEG4IP, although it should support any MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 management system. Additionally, OpenIPMP plug-ins for Windows Media Player and Apple Quicktime player are said to be commercially available from various third-party codec vendors.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Democrats Using BitTorrent

According to a recent report on, John Edwards, one of the democratic presidential candidates in 2004 is apparently using BitTorrent to efficiently distribute and share some of his campaign video content. He's likely to run for President again, so if you want a hip president that understands and supports powerful and disruptive technologies like BitTorrent - vote for Edwards in 2008!

The World’s First P2P Webathon

via press release - London-based RawFlow, a leading provider of live peer-to-peer (P2P) streaming technology, have started working with NexusLive, an internet broadcast specialist. RawFlow will support NexusLive in a major webcast happening on the 19th of July to promote the emerging Edinburgh act Amplifico. The event is the world’s first ever live web broadcast album fundraiser.

The band has been endorsed by singer KT Tunstall and has received a fair share of media attention worldwide after the launch of a donations campaign for getting their first album produced. The cash strapped, unsigned four-piece have already recorded half their debut album, but now the band intend to complete their album solely by donations generated via a unique webathon fundraiser. So far they have raised around £3,000 from people from all over the world on their Webathon website (they need £10,000). In exchange for a donation to the Amplifico album appeal fans will receive a mention in the thanks and see their face appear in a photo-collage included in the artwork to accompany the CD.

The webcast is predicted to reach a larger audience than Sandi Thom’s Tooting flat gigs online, and Amplifico has been heavily featured in blogs and forums online. The band will also be featured on BBC 1 Scotland today promoting their webcast and webathon. The webcast will commence on the 19.07.06 at 8 PM GMT will stream directly from The Bongo Club, Edinburgh. The 3 hour event will include sets from 3 fantastic Scottish bands, followed by a set from Amplifico and will be broadcast live from NexusLive's site: simultaneously. There will be live donations feeds to see how much is being raised over the course of the event.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Freelance Interactive Designers/Programmers Wanted

Freelance Interactive Designers/Programmers Wanted:

- Entry level and experienced freelance positions
- Required skills: Flash, Adobe CS2, Microsoft PowerPoint
- Bonus skills: After Effects, ActionScript, Website (design and programming)
- Projects could be as short as 1 week, as long as 6 months

If interested, contact John Lux at i.d.e.a.s. with resume, Adobe PDF portfolios and/or links to samples.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

DMC2006: Panel 4 - Mobility Is The Message

[Notes from the 2006 Digital Media Conference]

Paul Towler: Mobile is an incredibly flexible distribution mechanism, but one of the key challenges that all the MVNOs have is that they don’t own their own infrastructure, so they’re forced to live at the whim of the mother network. To that degree on the data side, they’re not in full control. The key attributes of a successful MVNO? (Virgin Mobile comes to mind) is that they capitalize on their marketing ability instead of their segmentation capabilities. Being consumer-oriented can also carry over to this space…

Vince Shaw: You really have to educate the customer and this is a market challenge. eBay could potentially roll out a wireless device oriented towards making money off of non-talk uses….becasue of all the loyal customers…Believe it or not, John Deer has a pretty loyal community as well. Location based services offer tremendous opportunity too…the surface of that hasn’t even been scratched. The technology always outpaces the business models…

Key Sar: Wi-Max is a threat to carriers as it eventually surpasses the 5-10 city block range. It’s certainly something that we’re looking at…But, one of the problems is that there’s a lack of OEM in the devices…Building a Network is very expensive...ours cost us 30 billion dollars…

Alan Reiter: If you're thinking of getting into this business, you need to look at every single piece of your value chain. In wireless, if one of those links is missing it can really trip you up. At this point in time, ESPN and Disney are looking the like the best MVNO’s for the longterm…..Helio is probably 3rd …but needs to tweak their pricing…and AMP’d mobile is 4th, chasing the young adults - but their pricing is too high. In this fast moving business, "don’t look at what’s happening today – look at what’s going to happen in the next 2 years." Also, think about the business processes…Very very soon, video-enabled phones are going to have a huge impact on user-generated sites like Youtube. (Camcorders aren’t really going to be the dominant content source anymore…

Jeff Lee: Text messaging is pretty easy to launch and is an easy way to get into the space; from there you can easily branch out. Don’t agonize over the myriad of choices, but definitely start something. I agree with Alan’s rankings. AMP is an anchor in this category, while Helio/SK telecom is heavily committed. 25% of our users have played a game on their handset, but when you look at downloading a brew/java application - that’s quite a bit more complex, so you have to make these things easy…in order to become explosive.

DMC2006: Keynote #3 – Michael Kelly, President, AOL Media Networks

[Notes from the 2006 Digital Media Conference]

The market has enjoyed 3 plus years of quarter over quarter growth in online advertising, which is big and it's getting even bigger... and becoming a huge part of our business at AOL. Keeping up with the demand is a challenge. The 4 big players (Google, Yahoo, AOL and MSN) control 50% of the advertising dollars. Each of these players enjoy over a 100M visitors a month. The spending gap between the 4 major portals and the non-portals is huge (i.e. a billion compared to 400k)

- The ability to assemble 3rd party networks will play a critical role…(Build large networks with lots of inventory.)
- The big macro-trend is that big media is losing viewers.
- It’s always about the consumer’s habits.
- Almost 20% of consumer usage is online.
- 63% of all online households have broadband today; this is an amazing transformation of medium and has ushered in a wave of opportunity and its taught the consumer that they can get way more out of being online. The consumer sees real value in having an online connection.
- 86% of internet usage is from broadband connection
the new primetime is online (in the office)
- All advertisers want to be direct response advertisers.
- We’re entering a world where traditional television is in a potential state of scatter…… It’s going to be hard for new players to enter the market.

Search has created a whole new life for content. Convergence was the digitization of all content, but we’re still in the early stages…This mass digitization thrills the consumer.
Social networking is also a key driver of growth. (i.e., AOL has a billion IM messages sent every day.) In the near future, however, different social networks will start to interact with each other.

Scale will continue to matter…It’s very hard for a sub-scale player to generate the earnings required. 76% of the online traffic is being generated by an industry that generates 23% of its own revenue. The market will continue to be driven by the big players. We’re a scale player in video; currently 200M streams a month and this will grow over time.

The advertising agencies of this world are all dealing with clients who are asking about, “what’s going on with online advertising?” Unbelievably creative things are occurring, such as creative execution and creative mix of applications. But in the next few years, we’re going to see a huge explosion in online advertising creativity; this will be very exciting.

DMC2006: Panel 3 - Television - The Future Is Now

[Notes from the 2006 Digital Media Conference]

Larry Gerbrandt: The digital genie has been let out of the lamp. Case in point: Google has recently surpassed 44 million streams a day…From a macro-perspective, we’re looking at 110 million households here in the U.S…User-generated content is clearly the hottest ticket of the day, but just how big of a game changer is it? The bottom line of this panel is “to follow the eyeballs….”

Daniel Blackman: What’s interesting is that as we move forward, we can experiment with different models (i.e. day pass, syndication, etc…) Overall, the future is going to be positive because we can hook advertisers and customers together with better granularity that we really never had before and have more level of control. Targeting is also going to be very powerful…We’re trying to create the infrastructure and the platforms to reach those new consumers. How do you define user-generated content? (Stuff that’s professionally produced that then gets uploaded…..or the lo-fi stuff that’s created by the actual user?) How do we leverage all this content from the long tail to the torso to the premium content…? It’s all over the map in terms of capabilities and opportunities now. What we find exciting is the maturation towards premium content. Niche advertising is going to be a very big story down the line…Our video is primarily download video-to-own….

Paul Condolora: The landscape is largely positive. Historically speaking, technology clearly helps the media industry. Our brand translates incredibly well into the new media space. Fortunately, cannibalization of our linear format is not occurring for us….each channel is reinforcing the other. Primarily it’s a net win for the incumbents…Competition is great and it forces to rethink your strategy and forces you to raise your game. As we move forward, its still too early to make any comments or predictions. One thing is for sure, User-generated content is only going to grow…However, just because content is uploaded doesn’t mean its going to find an audience. And people aren’t always going to accept the status quo.

Joshua Freeman: Anytime a new distribution channel opens up, the ultimate winner is the content owner. Many companies in the space are tripping up over rights issues, which is inhibiting growth. The more that we all see and enable this explosion of content, the better for the industry. This is really about incremental growth by opening up shelf space. Use of the internet opens up new windows. Traditional television usage will suffer some… Short-form “snack sized” content is working best for AOL and is probably the best current viewing experience on a PC. Consumers will move the content where it needs to be. This year we’ve seen the addition of two pieces to the puzzle: 1) user-generated content – which is here to stay, but how do you monetize it?….and 2) distributed content (i.e. warner brothers) the redistribution of a branded content.

Ray Hopkins: We feel that we have the best content and we try to maximize that content across a bunch of different platforms. We’re not too concerned with competition from user-generated content. We just launched last week…where we add programming that you can’t see on our linear channel. This is another area that we can exploit.

Chris Maxcy: Our success is incremental. In our view, we’re not hurting opportunities for the content owners; some are more forward looking than others. It really boils down to consumer choice and content is still king. The difference now is that there’s a new way to look at it…Obviously, an internet platform can help build awareness. We’re currently experiencing 70 million streams a day and the average length is 1-2 minutes… “I tell people that we cater to the ADD generation.” (laugh….laugh…) We think that advertising is the way to monetize free. Consumers are basically used to consuming television video in a free format…We look at our company as an advertising supported model. User-generated content has been around for a long time and it will continue to be, but the difference now is how its being delivered and who’s creating it. Our advertising model is going to evolve, but we’re going to be very careful not to alienate the users or the advertisers – make it relevant…but not annoying.

DMC2006: Panel 1 – The Battle For The Digital Consumer

[Notes from the 2006 Digital Media Conference]

Ok, I missed the first part of this panel saying “HI” to a few people on the break, but here’s what I heard during the second half…In general, the consumer now has complete control over their television viewing habits and the advertisers need to respect that. The 1980-2000 generation is not really watching tv screens and is much more interested in dealing with content that they’ve generated and in sharing it thereby building community.

Colin Dixon: The traditional thirty second spot does not work anymore. So how then do we reach the consumer?

Mark Walsh: Advertising will cease to be intrusive and become more of an opt-in. Refusal to share personal info online may result in a clunky entertainment experience and those who do will have a richer and more satisfying online experience. What new search engine will deliver what we want in entertainment? Who’s going to be the source? Speech recognition is the next UI and could be an important future search technology. European ads are more sexy and funny than here. Agencies need to get back to persuading using humor, rather than hitting us over the head; this will be a real challenge. People love dumb stuff (i.e. the “Paris Hiltonization” effect) , but Darwin was right too…Entertainment that is ‘smart’ will appeal to people looking for smart entertainment.

Davina Kent: Let’s give the consumer the opportunity to tell us what kind of advertising they actually want. The average length of these new targeted on-demand messages will be 2-4 minutes. In general, people still want to consume content on the television, but the content could still come from the internet, especially if the media search element works well. (Tivo is partnering with Comcast and positioning itself as the premium content choice.) In the near-term the consumers will be the winners and the losers will be the companies who don’t think about the consumer first…

Marsh Marshall: From a privacy perspective, are you being careful with the information I’m giving you? Search systems used in Blink, Flickr and Delicious can eventually be far more powerful than Google is now. The recent proliferation of communication tools is a key driver of the media industry. The editorial function of the great newspapers is under threat. The technology is enabling a new generation to explore information in a new way.

Andrew Nachison: Services that figure how to “connect” and not control consumers will be the winners of tomorrow. Believe it or not, our research shows that young people have a massive and passionate interest in news and politics, but they consume it in a brand new way.

DMC2006: Keynote #1 - Dawn McCall, President, Discovery Networks Intl.

(Notes from the DMC 2006)

Discovery Networks International, (DNI) programs content for 704 million subscribers outside of the U.S. and it operates the largest international footprint in the industry. (i.e., consists of 17 brands, multiple continents, 100 unique feeds, 35 languages, 1000 employees in 24 offices throughout the world.) DNI is committed to ambitious growth in the next 5 years, investing in their viewers and brands. The company is currently delivering 731M in revenues and 109M in operating cash flow.

DNI is a longstanding supporter of platform neutrality. A key to their growth is the strength of the brand = customized programming and custom scheduling. “Trusted brands and quality will always win out.” They possess an in-depth understanding of their audiences and cultures. They try to make their brands as relevant as possible by owning their own content. For example, each year they produce 5000 hours of content. Their massive library of footage can be easily be repurposed– making them one of the most nimble players in the space, which helps differentiate them in the marketplace. Lifestyle is the next big area of growth, with each of the 3 lifestyle brands targeting a different demographic group.

Through John Hendricks’ leadership , they delivered the 1st international HD factual international network operating 24/7. HD is currently in 7 markets outside of the U.S., making them the leading HD network in the entire world. DNI is also currently in 23 spanish speaking countries with 3 specific latin channels. The company embraces platform-neutrality.
In a crowded media environment, trusted brands are critical. DNI has been active in the new media area for the last 6 years (i.e. they have a Made-for-mobile channel on Vodafone which contains 2 hours of streaming video that is refreshed weekly. Specific footage is carefully selected to complement current cell phone screen limitations.) DNI is also active in the development of new genres in mobile film-making, which offers a new type of online forum.

NEW PROJECTS: Google earth partnered with them this year to share video footage. “Cosmio” is another new venture which is basically a digital encyclopedia. The Discovery Atlas series is another new HD initiative. They’ve also recently done a deal with the video iPod. As soon as the ability is there to capture video elegantly, they will push the content out asap. They’re always looking for new ways to inform and entertain their audience.