RIAA Declared Peace!

December 21, 2008

Finally the RIAA got it. It will stop suing against individual filesharerers (see the Wall Street Journal). As Lawrence Lessig said: This is important progress.

But is the copyright war over? Not yet, there are still a lot of problems to fix.

For all of you who haven`t read the latest book of Lawrence “REMIX” yet, here his latest great talk about his ideas on copyright issues in the digital age.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Freesouls by Joi Ito

December 15, 2008


Great present for Christmas?
A wonderful book by Joi Ito – Freesouls. A celebration of all the people who are willing to share. The book is beautifully designed and contains 296 Portraits by Joi Ito and essays by Howard Rheingold, Lawrence Liang, Cory Doctorow, Yochai Benkler, Isaac Mao and Marko Ahtisaari and a foreword by Lawrence Lessig.

State of the Mediasphere – Monaco Media Forum

December 10, 2008

Three weeks ago at the Monaco Media Forum Jeffrey Cole (USC Annenberg School for Communication, Director of the Center for the Digital Future) had an worth watching talk at about the state of the mediasphere. He summarized quite well the status quo of the media industry in the digital age and gave a small insight in his research, where he tries to figure out why there is only a small willingness to pay for digital content.
The average American household spent 260 Dollars per month on communication services that didn´t exist a generation ago. He thinks people are not willing to pay more on top of this and sees that as an argument for advertising as the future business model, which enables “feels like free” content. But that´s not the only reason why he sees the future in advertising, but also cause of the high potential of personalized online advertising, that will be more effective than advertising was ever before.

Another worth watching video of the Monaco Media Forum is the panel “The Revolution Will Be Streamed” with Henrique de Castro (Google), Nancy Cruickshank (VideoJug), Dina Kaplan (Blip.tv), Mike Volpi (Joos) and Dan Scheinman (Cisco Media Solution) moderated by Jack Myers. A very interesting discussion about the status quo in the web video industry and the potenial of the online video market especially in the area of advertising.

Striking the Balance between Giving It Away and Making Money

December 6, 2008

By accident I found these two posts from Michel Bauwens and Steve Bosserman on the challenge of striking the critical balance between giving something away (for free) and making money in a digital age. They deliver the thesis that the “Internet Economy” is redefining operational assumptions and models for all organizations within the public and privat sectors and that the transformation does not stop in the realm of bits and bytes; it is spilling into the traditional mainstays of agriculture and all types of industry and threatens to alter the most basic tenets of how to market, value, and receive compensation for our creativity, collaboration, and contribution. Steve Bosserman shows this descriptive on an example from the agriculture industry.

“When information is free, it is a great equalizer. This equalizing feature is changing the business models of corporations that made their fortunes from a portfolio of proprietary offerings.”

So the authors are trying to answer the basic question: where is money made in such an environment?

Both posts are argumenting along a very basic diagram that shows the general options for a business model:


I don´t want to repost the articles here, just want to highlight the most important insight for me:

The classic business model of the analog age (paid & closed, in the diagram up,right.)  that we are all familiar with and which relies on state-protected intellectual rights monopolies, is obviously the model that is being most undermined by free information. But the point is that, as the other three business model options become more established in the society,  it is not just hackers and consumers that threaten such a business model, but your own competitors. In any sector, there will always be a pioneering company that decides to give the primary commodity for free, or gives away the source code, deriving income from secondary modalities, leaving the traditional closed rights holders in the cold, and making this model unsustainable in the long run.
So let´s start thinking about the other three options.

Go legal and die!

December 2, 2008


The year 2008 is nearly over and we are still having a situation on the digital music market that cause entrepreneurs like Michael Robertson (CEO of MP3tunes) to write articles with headlines like: Legal digital music is commercial suicide – Fans suffer as lawyers get rich (Article for The Register).

Still record labels or copyright holders (collecting societies) are torpedoing successful music services with big financial requests from labels for “past infringement”, plus a hefty fee for future usage.
Michael Robertson´s comment: “Any company agreeing to these demands is signing their own financial death sentence.”

But Robertson is not only accusing the record industry:
The root cause is not the labels – chances are if you were running a label you would make the same demands, since the law permits it. The lack of clarity in the law is the real culprit – and it’s the huge potential penalties that create an incentive for the big record labels’ law firms to file lawsuits. Without clear laws and rulings from the court about what is permissible, every action touching a copyrighted work is a possible infringement, with a large financial windfall if the copyright owner can persuade a Judge to agree.

The problem is that changing the copyright law will need many more years – (Creative Commons and Lawrence Lessig are unfortunately no superheros) – … so the market has to be faster… has to find a solution… has to create an environment, where innovative business models can be develop without the fear of being sued the rest of your life. Why is there no chance to negotiate a true partnership between net companies and the content/copyright industry, where going legal is a real option for a start up, where both sides get the ability to create a profitable business?

Tim Westergren – The Future of Radio and Digital Music

November 22, 2008

Tim Westergren the founder of the free Internet music provider Pandora.com speaks at the Harvard Berkman Centre about his experiences in the tumultuous world of digital radio.

He has an entrepreneur story to tell: Several months working without salary… 11 debt out credit cards – 3 years later: 18.5 million users, 35.000 new users per day. All without advertising. Now dreaming of one billion users sometime.

He delivered some insights in the analysing process of music at Pandora. Trained musicians are analysing the “Music Genome” of hundreds of tracks everyday. He spoke about the difficult right issues situations… about the monetization concept of the site… delivered some interesting insights into the user behavior (eg. users come back to the site during listening 7 to 10 times per hour)… a lot of interesting stuff in this video:

Did you know?

November 12, 2008

The Future of Social Interaction in “Real” Space

November 10, 2008

Here is a great presentation at the LIFT Asia Conference by Jan Chipcase, researcher for Nokia Design. He shows some interesting examples how technology influences our social interactions “in real life”, or to be more precise, how it influences our human interaction in space. The speech is just a collection of trends and practices of human behavior and usage of mobile technology that his department spotted all over the world. No solutions, no predictions just some inspiring stuff and some great questions. A rare kind of presentation concept… I enjoyed it… best summarized in Jan’s own closing statement: “I have way more questions than answers… and that`s kind of what we do… I think I call it a day.”

Medientage Munich 2008: Day One

October 29, 2008


Just back from Day 1 of the Medientage 2008 here in Munich

There is no chance to blog a conference like that in detail without going crazy, so just some things I have learnt… in bullet points, sorry.

(Update: I have added links to videos  of the panels I´m talking about. Most of them are in German, sorry.)


Panel: Customer Relationship instead of Ratings – New Driving Force in TV?

Watch the video here.

Intro speech by Niko Steinkrauß, Booz & Company:

– Three megatrends influence and accelerate each other: -> fragmentation of the media market -> advertiser under pressure -> power moves to the consumer

– Examples like P&G, Coke, Nike show that “direct customer relationships” are getting more and more important for the big media spenders.

– Only interactive and “target able” advertising platforms show growth.

– There is a rethinking in campaign controlling: Reach is not the only “thing” anymore. Performance, ROI and “interactivity” are getting more important.

– High CPMs for interactivity: Opportunities for TV 2.0?

– Let the user decide how they want to consume advertising (eg. preroll “block”? banner? ad breaks –> higher engagement –> higher advertising impact)

– Best case: Hulu

– Concerns about privacy vs. willingness to get relevant advertising –> more clarification

– Recommendations: Be a brand not a aggregator of viewers – there is more than just one platform – don´t just offer adinventory, offer solutions – cooperations between TV channels are necessary to establish new standards eg. web tv (Hulu) – overcome being just a wholesaler of adinventory and try to establish communities and capitalize customer relationships

Panel discussion:

Berg: A current Microsoft study shows that the “under 20 generation” has no interest in television anymore. They don`t arrange their spare time around TV programme anymore.

Senft: There is no cannibalization. TV and Online complement each other.

Züll: Definition of TV? Linear or non linear? TV signal or IP protocol? TV content still works. Hulu uses TV content but non linear.

Fassnacht: The user is most of the time in the new online environment overextended. Content overflow. This leads to less users. Comparsion: Product line management in the retail industry: Smaller range of products leads to more sales.

Berg: Trend – I don´t care about ratings. I want performance, I want response.

Züll: Internet usage will consolidate and focus. Every user has small relevant set of websites he visits regularly.

Guild: It´s more important nowadays what users say about brands that what brands say about themselves. The big challenge for the media: How do we play a role in the connection of client brands with the consumer conversations.

Fastnacht: Only get in contact with a consumer when he wants to. Only then!

Künstner: The learning curve in CRM in the new environment is big. A huge chance for media companies.

Berg: The transformation process from “classic TV” to “TV in the digital age” in the next 3-5 years is crucial.

Künstner: Who will design the best customer experience? Probably not one of the “old players” (See music industry and Apple).


Panel: Media, Power &  Brand: Business Models and Brand Values in the Digital World

Watch the video here.

Gerhard Müller presents some insights of the new Ernst & Young study (only German) “Medien und Marken im Web 2.0

Evsan: User generated content has to be combined with premium content. Premium content was always and will be very important in the future.

Dörrenbächer: Case: “A small world” – Exclusive niche community –> very valuable for Mercedes.

Mangold: Communication concepts and cross media solutions are very important. Display ads are not enough. Performance based marketing rules. There will be a evolution from “reach” to “risk & revenue share” business models.

Dörrenbächer: Which role will digital media play in the value chain? Standards for “measurement” are still missing. Behavioral targeting is not far enough…

Deutschmann: The “used” targeting parameters are still very simple. Basic demography targeting is still standard. Media agencies and clients aren`t able to use all the data they can get… many niches are to small to target…

A great first day.

Cloud Computing is more of a Reality than we think…

October 28, 2008

I was just thinking again about this post from Kevin Kelly a few days ago. This whole scenario about cloud computing sounds a bit “Science Fiction”… but actually it isn`t …
Even Microsoft is starting a big PR campaign now around it`s new platform Windows Azure… ” the future is cloud computing”…. so it`s going mainstream, although most internet users are still unaware of the term “cloud computing.” They are already taking advantage of it more than they know.

When we talk about cloud computing we mean an architecture by which data and applications reside in cyberspace, allowing users to access them through any web-connected device. This includes: webmail services like Hotmail or Gmail; personal photo storage services like Flickr; online applications like Google Docs and Photoshop Express; video storeage and publishing services like Youtube; blogging platforms like WordPress; social bookmarking sites like Delicious; social networks like Facebook; and of course online servers where you can backup your harddrive or any other personal files..

The PEW Research Center published in September 2008 a study stating that 69 % of all Internet users have either stored data online or used a web-based software application. If you think of the list examples above, you would think it would be even more…

… and it should be just a matter of time for people to accept that cloud computing is superior to desktop applications in all areas of software or media usage and so the hardware industry will respond on it with new devices. Mobile device of all kinds will profit a lot from this developement.

Of course people have many concerns about cloud computing like security and privacy, but there will be some solutions to give the users a “safe feeling”. …  anyway, this will be a big challenge.

So cloud computing is coming fast… what does this mean for the media industry?
A lot especially for the business models. In a cloud computing world, “owning” content is not a thing you will think about anymore, since that was part of the physical media world. You will just desire access to content. That´s all you need. So the cloud computing system and all it`s advantages for the users will push the developement to “The Age of Access“.  Ad supported content will be huge, especially cause of the big opportunities in personalized advertising. Cloud computing is the perfect and most efficient environment for personalized advertising. Social communities and social production will be more efficient than ever before. And that`s just the obvious stuff. If you read the post by Kevin Kelly you will find many more ideas for all parts of the media industry and how it will change in a certain area. I will try to do more research on this stuff…