Archive for October 2006
The video distribution business is changing. Studios used to make programmes, which were shown on television and might make their way to DVD.
A new Sony offshoot is planning to cut out the TV part and make shows straight on DVD, becoming a distributor in its own right. Will this be the start of a domino effect in America?
BBC Worldwide has previously commissioned some Doctor Who audio programmes for direct sales onto CD with some success.
When you consider how cheap DVD production has become, it’s now possible to have very low production run of quite a niche programme, and still make a profit.
In fact, I have a friend who does this with book production. Rather than find a publisher, he did a deal with the printer, and orders a couple of thousand at a time. Modern desktop publishing software meant he could produce the entire book himself. He sells the copies as and when, and keeps 100% of the takings.
Here’s a report from the BBC, quoting a Point Topic survey. What’s interesting is that the application which are most popular with UK net users the following services and you don’t really need broadband for any of them.
Email – 68%
Blogging, browsing or surfing – 66%
Shopping – 49%
Visiting eBay or other auction sites – 33%
Banking or other financial transactions – 31%
Chat or instant messaging – 27%
Downloading music, games, pictures etc – 26%
Online games – 15%
It’s not until you get down to number 9 in the rankings that you come across an application which really needs broadband for a decent experience :
Listening to radio – 13%
So why is broadband still increasing in popularity?
Possibly because no one really markets narrowband internet access in this country anymore, the days of services Freeserve pay-as-you-go dial-up are over. (Although you can still get them if you know where to sign up) How quickly they came and went. A narrowband connection is about the same price as broadband, and thanks to bundling deals you could get some extra services thrown in.
I note the headline of the beeb’s report suggests that 75% of the UK community will connect by broadband by the end of the year. This isn’t mentioned again later and I’ve looked at both the Jupiter and Point Topic references briefly and I can’t actually see this figure anywhere.
I think it’s too high, maybe in a year or so, but 75%? Not yet, surely?
If you can identify the source of this figure, get in touch.
Jack Kliger said that his industry were ‘no longer threatened’ by digital media, at the American Magzine conference this week.
I’m slightly surprised they were all that threatened as I’ve always thought that magazines had the potential to thrive in the era of the Long Tail. This is because many of them are niche publications and as such automatically attract loyal communities.
As an aside what I particularly like about the treatment of this story is that I can actually see the good Mr. Kliger say it! This is surprisingly rare in reports from large conferences and it adds so much additional meaning, particularly if the subject is a good speaker.
The keynote speeched are recorded all the time, sometimes with considerable production value, but then they never appear to see the light of day again!
Medialoper’s 9 Reasons why Digital Media products are a bad deal for consumers is also unwittingly pointing out exactly why digital media products are hard for ‘old’ media organisations to produce.
They are very much more complicated, therefore time-consuming and expensive than simply manipulating text.
Platform lock-in is a huge issue for content creators. Companies spend hundreds of thousands of content management systems which can very often trap you into producing a certain type of content, in a certain way. Of course, these systems are expandable, but often only by the company who made it, which commits you into spending even more money with them!
Take publishing as example where once a ‘product’ has been created, its lifespan is often dependent on the equipment used to produce it. Once a newspaper has bought printing plant with particular features, you can publish for ten years or more until the gear needs replacing. Newspapers have grown used to long product lifecycles.
Online, the life of a product is much shorter, possibly only a year or so, and this means being able to continually innovate.
I saw Chris Anderson introduce this short video at the NAB 2006 Technology Lunch (plugging his book) and it was one of the highlights of the week for me. I’m glad it’s found its way onto perhaps the most notable example of a Long Tail business – You Tube.
It’s more about the disruptive effects of consumers having access to new tools than it is about specifically about ‘The Long Tail’ but the message hits home well : established business watch out.
Adobe have bought a company I’ve been following for several years now. Serious Magic are one of those companies, which take an old and expensive professional TV processes and make them cheap enough to put into the hands of video enthusiasts. That makes it a neat fit when you look at what Adobe have done with Premiere over the years.
The first was Visual Communicator which basically enables you to make video blogs look more like TV reporter’s pieces-to-camera, but my favourite is Ultra. This is a fantastic virtual set simulator, at NAB 2006 they were demonstrating an alpha version in HD.
And there’s something I particularly like about the fact that Karl Miller, (“The Bald Guy”) who appears in all the demo videos on the website, also spends tireless ours on the stand at various exhibitions around the world.
I’m a little sad to see that BBC News won’t be on those giant screens at railway stations any more. I created the little widget and process the online newsroom uses to snatch the video and insert it into the wysiwyg Flash publishing application created by the marvellous John Kossman.
Now what would be smart is for the Transvision people to team up with whoever it is which does those gimmicky bluetooth posters. Don’t just advertise Sky News, beam the news to your mobile device so you can read it, or watch it on your way home!