Archive for the ‘Disruptive Innovation’ Category
If Twitter, why not the news media?
Did you spot an item just before Christmas that Twitter is now supposed to have pushed into profit?
There’s comment on whether they are actually in profile, whether this will be enough to sustain Twitter and lots more on what else it might have to do, but I want to point out just one thing.
Twitter is (possibly) profitable because Google and Bing are between them giving Twitter $25m to access data which will then go into their search indices.
The data is mostly provided free by Twitter’s millions of users.
Contrast this deal with Google taking data from newspaper websites and putting that into its search engine. But not giving the newspapers any money.
The news data comes from fairly expensive journalists who investigate stories, check facts and sometimes put their lives in danger.
Twitter, free data = $25m. News, expensive data = Zero.
Now I’m no fan of large news organisations some of whom may be confused about user behaviour on the web, but you know … this state of affairs seems a little strange.
What this means is that they can release much higher quality versions of their programmes and it won’t cost them any extra to distribute them. It also means that their content starts to become self-organising as the viewers and listeners can link and tag and store the stuff they want.
Already dedicated viewers of some of the material released are producing their own subtitles to translate the programmes into english, known as ‘fansubbing’.
Having your own tracker is also a great idea because it allows you to be free with your content and still retain some control as the tracker server will be accruing some vital statistics about what material is shared, when, by whom and how widely.
Maybe in the future NRK won’t even need it’s own archives, as the material will all be distributed throughout the computers of the good people of Norway. (This is clearly fanciful, it will never happen!)
I can’t help thinking that someone in the BBC is thinking that they’ve been beaten to a great idea. But why not make a start by putting every BBC Schools programme broadcast last year on a P2P network, accessed by the BBC’s own torrent tracker?
No print, no radio. Is new media solely where the money is?
Google said its move into print and radio ads would perk up media sales. It hasn’t happened.
(Perhaps WSJ Managing Editor Robert Thomson was right when he suggested that Google ‘devalues everything it touches’?)
TV ads still seem to be on the radar, but Business Week explains why this plan might similarly struggle.
Up till three weeks ago there was speculation that Google would hang onto radio sales.
Google bought the radio automation company dMarc three years ago, agreeing a total price of over a billion US dollars, although only $102m changed hands initially.
The idea was to sell inventory quickly and easily with a much more detailed reporting structure, bringing new advertisers into a radio ad market which was already on the slide in the States.
Radio Business Report has some insight from a former dMarc customer: The original pre-Google system, while selling ads more cheaply than they could themselves, was very effective. But Google made changes to the sales method without consulting the station and revenues collapsed.
Is this just a simple development mistake? There seems to be value in these forms of selling, but only if the media owner and the advertiser can talk to one another.
Ironically, it seems as though in an online world where disintermediation is the mantra, and something Google has previously championed, the very thing which caused this failure was Google’s attempts to be the middleman.
But perhaps Google’s exit is a long-term strategic decision, rather than a short-term response to the current recession.
If so, what do they know about old media sales that we don’t?
Filesharing with shared computers may equal anonymity
An american judge has decided that the RIAA, who are seeking to prosecute illegal filesharers, may not have personal information from Boston University about who was using a particular computer.
There were too many people around who could have had access apparently.
So if you’re going to share files at university, make a party out of it!