All you need is:
- a twitter account (of course)
- follow @MiamiTwits
- send a direct message to the group (e.g.,
d MiamiTwits Hello Miami!) and it will be automatically broadcast to the entire group.
All you need is:
d MiamiTwits Hello Miami!) and it will be automatically broadcast to the entire group.
I wrote this as the introduction to a report I presented a year ago, after attending the Forbes MEET conference, and was surprised at how relevant it still was… so I decided to share it with my blog readers.
The traditional media outlets were used to managing an industry of scarce resources, which they owned. Acting like toll booths, they decided what got published and what didn’t. The Internet put an end to this system, giving everyone an effective distribution channel. The bottlenecks have disappeared. Anyone can post their opinion to a blog, a video on YouTube, and even distribute their band’s songs. MediaSnackers are an example of the way users are adapting to this new way of creating and consuming content.
Although traditional television will continue being relevant for a while, an ever growing number of users will opt for the freedom of deciding how, when and where to consume media. The need for watching live television will still exist, given people’s need to socialize around shows (the so called water cooler effect), but users will increasingly satisfy this need with their online friends (via Twitter, for instance).
In a world of easily accessible, unlimited content, the role of editors is ever more important. We need trustworthy recommendations in order to find quality, relevant content. As the value of our time increases, so does the need for editors or editorial systems we trust. This applies for all kinds of content: news, software, music, games, videos, etc. Services like Digg, even with all their faults and growing pains, are a possible solution.
When agencies like Reuters can distribute their content to every news show in the world, the value of those news falls (as they’re no longer exclusive to any one show). Newscasts and newspapers need to take advantage of their local presence and knowledge to cover events of real relevance to local consumers. The tendency is towards hyperlocal: the neighborhood, the county, the municipality. The Internet is the ideal medium to distribute this localized content. Likewise, users have begun to engage in Citizen Journalism, using blogs, videos, podcasts and any other distribution technology to give their opinions, make their complaints public and comment on the latest events.
In the next couple of years the Internet will be connected to the rest of our homes. Already, content that’s available on the Internet competes with television shows, and soon watching an Internet-available show on our television sets will be a simple matter of pushing a button on our remotes. YouTube, CurrentTV, Google Video, to name a few, will have a permanent home in our high-definition televisions. Traditional media networks need to make an effort to distribute their content through the Internet (see Hulu), create Internet content that supports and extends their TV offerings (see Heroes) and, more importantly, begin to compete against themselves in this new arena.
What do you see as the future of digital media?
A Spanish-language version of this article is available at Technosailor.com, where I write a regular column. Disponible en español en Technosailor.com, donde escribo una columna regularmente.
Arthur C. Clarke once said that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Entire religions have been built around apparently magical events. In this PodTech video interview, Robert Scoble converses with Professor Marc Levoy of Stanford University about ongoing computational photography research that will simply blow your mind.
It’s almost an hour long (and worth watching entirely), but if you can’t afford that much time (really, it’s brain food.. it’s good for you) these are some of the highlights:
11 minutes: Using stock photography to recompose or fix images. Read more about it here.
16 minutes: A camera that allows you to refocus a photograph after taking it. Ever taken a photo only to find that the camera auto-focused on the background? No problem… this technology will solve that. (Even more amazing is that this technology was presented two years ago at SIGGRAPH and is currently under commercial development by Refocus Imaging, Inc. – How did I miss this?).
38 minutes: Gigapixel imaging. Creating gigapixel panoramas. Check out the Gigapixel Panorama viewer at Microsoft Research.
42 minutes: Microscopy research. Using the image refocusing technology to create a three-dimensional image of neurons firing throughout the brain at a particular moment in time.
45 minutes: One of the interviewers asks Prof. Levoy what’s next for image search? His answer is priceless: “I know too much, sorry.”
46 minutes: A bit of trivia: the real origin of Google‘s name.
The reason? NBC is launching their own video distribution network, Hulu.
Is this a smart move? I understand NBC wanting to control (read: monetize) the distribution of their content, but NBC’s YouTube channel was all about promotion (and I’m sure they could’ve played with video ads there as well). With the move, NBC has left millions of viewers in the dark – just like that. If Hulu was ready to go, I might understand the move (although, how are YouTube viewers supposed to figure out the content is now at Hulu?)… but the fact is that Hulu is still in private beta, closed to the general public.
In any case, NBC should have kept their YouTube channel and used it to publicize their Hulu service, that way maximizing YouTube’s promotional aspect. YouTube is limited to 10-minute long clips, while Hulu will supposedly host full length content as well.
Hulu needs to work amazingly well from the start. In addition to good content in the proper formats, it’ll need to offer:
What do you think? Was pulling the plug on YouTube a good move? Does Hulu have a chance?
NBC’s escape from YouTube was chronicled around the web:
Could this move be a sign that Hulu, scheduled for “private beta” testing this month, is finally ready?
Also, read Silicon Alley Insider’s take on Hulu’s exclusivity deal with NBC.
…the real question is whether or not viewers will feel comfortable leaving YouTube to view NBC’s shorter clips on the new site. If pulling the plug on its YouTube channel without warning is how NBC is going to roll, then it’s not looking good.
An NBC spokeswoman confirmed promotional content would no longer be available on YouTube. She said it was “not antagonistic” but a move designed to support Hulu.
She said NBC still might put promotional content on YouTube “as we see fit”. The network was not “closing the door” on anybody, she added.
Is NBC putting too much stock in their own service? They offered video clips for free on YouTube even when iTunes sold complete versions of the same episodes. I assumed the logic was that you could see a clip for free on YouTube and then decide to purchase the episode over on iTunes. Between the two monster services, NBC was getting wide exposure. Now pulling videos from both for their own service seems like a step in the wrong direction. No exposure, other than stories like this stating why the move has been done.
It is my belief that these companies are in the business of content, not distribution. Offering their content on their own properties may give them a lift in terms of page views, but at the same time they also run the risk of losing the audience that simply seeks out such content on sites such as YouTube.
Blogged with Flock
Now that you’ve got yourself a digital camera, what can you do with all those wonderful photos? Here’s a list to get you started:
These services allow you to upload your photos, share them with friends and family, tag them, make slideshows and send them out for printing:
Flickr – Owned by Yahoo!, Flickr offers both free and premium services. You can tag your photos, add comments to any part of an image, create sets, collections, slideshows, print out photobooks, postcards, snapshots, etc.
Zoomr – Think Flickr, but map centric. Zooomr offers nice photo storage functions, closely integrated with geotagging (placing your photos on a world map) and e-commerce (selling your photos) functions.
SmugMug – SmugMug is a wonderful website for storing your images. It’s fast, well supported, and offers plenty of sharing options, including making photos private and password-protecting them. There’s even a special offer for Yahoo Photos customers who are looking for a place to store their now orphaned images.
Photobucket – Photobucket also offers tons of features including easy options to share your images online (particularly useful for bloggers and photographers sharing their photos in online discussions)
Shutterfly – Primarily a photo-printing business, Shutterfly also lets you store your photos, create photobooks, postcards, share your photos, etc.
These services will let you upload your photos and edit them online. Useful if you don’t have an image editor on your computer, or when you need to quickly edit a photo while at a cybercafe.
Picnik – I was impressed by this one. Picnik will even let you play with their software without creating an account (Scrapblog will too), a clever way to let you try Picnik without forking over your personal information. Slick looking, fast and powerful. Worth trying, even if just for fun.
LookWow – Java-based online photo editor. Will let you apply effects to an image, undo, compare and save.
Snipshot – Another really good looking online photo editor. Not as powerful as Picnik, but worth trying.
Phixr – Has a nice set of tools, but took forever to load.
MyPictr – Quickly create image thumbnails for online social networks. Upload your photo, crop the area you want to keep (usually your face), choose the network you need your photo for and MyPictr will spit out your image in the proper size and format.
Quick Thumbnail – Great when you need to quickly resize an image. A useful feature will resize your image to several sizes at once (i.e., 25%, 50%, 75%)
ePassportPhoto – The Internet equivalent to a passport photo booth, it will format your picture so that it can be printed and cut into six passport-ready photos. No more paying $8 for 19 cents worth of prints. Make sure your photo is passport-worthy before uploading.
BigHugeLabs – Do almost anything with your Flickr images. Calendars, frames, print-out projects… too many to list.
Scrapblog – Online scrap books. A wonderful service by my Miami friends. You can give Scrapblog a try without creating an account (you can create an account later and recover your trial project). Connects directly to your Flickr account, so using your existing images is very easy. Amazing flash-based interface will leave you wondering what else is possible on the Internet. Let your inner Martha Stewart run wild.
Spell with flickr – A fun service that will turn any word into its Flickr image letters.
Photagious – Online Slideshows, themes, editing, text, unlimited uploads. Should probably be listed under “Organize and share them” but their slideshow functions are in a league of their own.
Riya – Although it’s been transformed into a “visual search engine,” you can still access their original image storage and sharing service. Riya’s technology will let you search for items containing similar items to a reference image. It will also let you identify a person in an image and find additional images where that person appears.
PikiStrips – Turn any image or images into comic strips, with text balloons and special effects. Look through the earlier examples uploaded into the system for the better quality stuff. It seems the latest ones are mostly people making gang signs.
You don’t need a GPS to map your images online, though one certainly helps. These services will let you identify the geographical place where each image was taken and show them on a map.
PanoramaBuilder Build panoramic images by stitching together your photos. Now you can pan around a place as if you were (almost) there.
Virtual Panorama Tours on Google Maps – A list of panoramic images overlaid on Google Maps. Mostly used for real estate.
Panoramio – Map centric photo storage and sharing. Geotag your photos, correct photos others have wrongly placed. Panoramio photos are regularly uploaded to Google Earth so that other Google Earth viewers can see them by activating the Panoramio layer.
Mpix – Photobooks, Cards, Magazine covers, greeting cards, calendars, bookwrap, tickets, puzzles and statuettes (these last ones you HAVE to see… worth every cringe-inducing penny!)
QOOP – Photobooks, postcards, mugs, stickers, canvas prints, mini photobooks, shirts, hoodies, mousepads, calendars, greeting cards, etc., directly from your photo storage account. Works with most popular photo storage sites.
Flatenme – Create customized children’s books with your little rascal’s image in place of the book’s hero or heroine.
The Rasterbator – An application which creates rasterized versions of images. The rasterized images can be printed and assembled into enormous (or smaller, if you prefer) posters. See website for details.
Microsoft Research Group Shot – MSR Group Shot helps you create a perfect group photo out of a series of group photos. With Group Shot you can select your favorite parts in each shot of the series and Group Shot will automatically build a composite image. Erase someone in the background, fix faces with eyes closed, etc.
Fascinating! Content Aware Image Resizing – An amazing image resizing algorithm. Watch the video and rest easily knowing that the scientist behind is already working with Adobe on the next Photoshop.
Improve your photography with classical art – An interesting technique that uses traditional classical paintings to correct the light and color of your photographs.
Automator Actions: Photoshop Automator Actions v3.5 – If you’ve got a Mac and Photoshop, these scripts might make your photo-editing life a bit easier.
These programs will help you manage your entire photo library on your PC or Mac. Most will allow you to do minor editing, cropping, resizing, color correcting and printing. Easily upload your images to your favorite online photo storage service.
Picasa – PC/Linux photo management, also includes online photo sharing for anyone with a Gmail account.
iPhoto – Mac photo management. If you’ve got a recent Mac, then you have iPhoto installed already.
Apple Aperture – Professional photo management for Mac.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom – Professional photo management for Mac and PC.
2007/10/01: Make that 34 Fun Things to Do With Your Photos Online. Abhiram Sarat of flauntR sent me an email highlighting their quite promising online photo apps:
flauntR one-click effects – Online photo editing and effects. Includes uploading from your computer or flickr account and is nice enough to include sample images to play with. You can try out the apps (currently PhotostylR and PhotoeditR, soon PhotoprintR) without registering.
The moment Apple announced a $200 price cut on the 8GB iPhone, the blogosphere lit up. The early adopters, feeling betrayed by Apple for slashing the iPhone’s price just two months after it’s debut, raised enough of a racket to get Steve Jobs to issue them $100 Apple gift certificates. The financial analysts took Apple to task, reading the price cuts as a sign of weak iPhone sales, sending the stock down more than 5%.
Missed by all was the real reason Apple slashed the iPhone’s price.
Let’s face it.
Any moment now Already, users will be able to can unlock their iPhones with a simple software tool (click here to see a video of the iPhone unlock process from start to finish). Apple intends to capitalize on it… and a cheaper iPhone is precisely the way to do it.
Apple could engage in an arms race against the unlockers, but that would simply create ill will against the company. Relocking the iPhones through software updates would simply create hordes of angry users. Suing the unlockers is another possibility, but the law seems to be on the side of the phone owners (so far).
Apple has simply decided to join the party and lower the iPhone’s price so that, once the software hack is out, everyone can and will buy an iPhone.
How AT&T takes this is another story. They do, after all, have an exclusive arrangement with Apple for two years. They’re still the only ones able to offer Visual Voicemail and iTunes activation. Whether that’s enough for users to prefer AT&T remains to be seen.
What do you think?
CBS, one of the US leading television networks, has launched a YouTube channel. So far the content is limited to short clips from late night television, sports highlights, program promos and news items.
I’m not particularly impressed with the available content (no full length shows yet) but I really like the fact that CBS has taken this initiative. Late-night clips were already showing up on YouTube, so why not offer them straight from the source?
As of this writing, CBS’s YouTube channel has about one thousand subscribers and 33,000 views. As more -and better- content from traditional networks goes online, it’ll be interesting to see how they compare with user generated content. Will they reach the 37 million views attributed to smosh or surpass lonelygirl15‘s fifty thousand subscribers?
It’s great to see the traditional networks embrace their fears and venture online. CBS already has content distribution deals with iTunes (Lost is sold on iTunes for US$1.99 per episode), but I’m guessing they’ll release their shows for free on YouTube under a Google advertising supported model.
Interesting times, indeed.
There’s been a lot of speculation lately about a possible Google buyout of Internet video website YouTube for US$1.6B. A lot has been said about the potential value (or lack thereof) of YouTube and its future success (or demise).
But why, exactly, would Google drop one-and-a-half billion dollars on YouTube? After all, Google already operates a similar service, Google Video, complete with money-making functions such as advertising and pay-per-view/download.
The first obvious answer is market share. According to some estimates, YouTube serves up 60% of the online video market… more than 100 million videos per day. But you’d think with $1.6B Google can boost their own market share (estimated at 10%).
Content would be the other possible answer, but I don’t think YouTube’s collection of user generated content is worth that much, even if you manage to place advertising on them.
Some people have gone as far as suggesting Google simply needs to invest some of their war chest money and somehow came upon YouTube as an acquisition target. If that’s the case, then let me suggest Google should buy lottery tickets instead.
The rest of the theories revolve around Google buying a YouTube to eliminate competition. While a valid point, Google hasn’t normally resorted to gobbling up competitors, usually preferring to buy companies offering services that complement rather than compete with Google.
I like to think Google is a smart company with big plans, so I analyze them with this in mind. Think Big. Think Smart.
Google wants to dominate online video distribution and with it, online video ratings. Without ratings you can’t really sell highly-profitable advertising. And without a majority of distribution market share, you can’t really accurately measure ratings.
Google is allegedly interested in competing with Nielsen in the ratings market and in collaborating with Apple on their upcoming iTV product. I’ve written previously about Google’s potential as a Universal Personal Video Recorder (Tivo on steroids). And just recently Google held a think tank with the top US media executives (YouTube was also present). Something’s definitely cooking.
YouTube offers a quick ticket to this online media distribution empire, because YouTube has the market share but, more importantly, the data.
YouTube has over a year of extensive viewership data, detailing how / where / when and what people like to watch. Make no mistake, this is VERY valuable data. In a country with an estimated 110 million television households, YouTube’s 100 million videos served daily provide a treasure trove of data, ready to be mined, analyzed and monetized.
Buying YouTube would give Google a majority share of the Internet video market, along with the important rating’s data to monetize these videos via Google Ads.
More importantly, owning a majority share of the video market would allow Google to collect and commercialize CREDIBLE ratings data, which it could then share with the major networks and content owners, distribute their videos online, and get a cut of the ad revenue.
A favorite argument of late is that as soon as a big player buys YouTube, said player would be sued into oblivion by copyright holders. While that may hold a grain of truth, YouTube has actively policed the website for copyright violators when alerted by the rightful copyright owner. YouTube has also signed agreements with major players, such as the one recently signed by my good friend Alex Zubillaga of Warner Music, for content distribution and revenue sharing via YouTube.
I believe Google has even better relations with these major players and with credible and comprehensive ratings data to share could easily sign distribution and revenue sharing agreements with them.
All of this won’t certainly come together over night. Too many loose ends need to be tied, agreements need to be made and signed, and technology needs to be put in place. But I can certainly see a road map outlining the steps ahead for Google.
1. The first stage involves the acquisition of YouTube and its integration into Google Video. Agreements with the major networks and content producers will allow the distribution of videos via Google. Most of these players already distribute their videos online for free, so a bigger potential audience combined with ratings data would certainly be appetizing.
2. Stage two would involve integration with services such as Apple’s iTV, allowing viewers to play downloaded content (along with ads) on their televisions. Google could combine viewing history with search history to further finetune the ads displayed.
3. Stage three would allow viewers to record programs on Google’s servers and watch them at a later time. Additionally Google would have the capacity to allow revenue sharing agreements with local network affiliates, according to the viewer’s geographical location.
Of course all this depends on whether Google is indeed interested in taking a shortcut by buying YouTube. And if YouTube is not yet aware of these ramifications, if I were them, I’d certainly start raising the price.
Comments are always welcome. I’d love to discuss these ideas.
UPDATE: Shortly after writing this article, Google did indeed proceed with the purchase of YouTube for US$1.65 Billion in stock… which I actually think is a bargain. Stay tuned for a post-buyout article.
According to this recent LA Times article, the networks are spending increasingly higher amounts to produce their new series. High-definition video is more expensive to produce. Marketing campaigns are no longer restricted to their own networks. And successful shows demand much more than just a TV image.
Heroes is a tale of “ordinary people with extraordinary abilities.” Sort of like “X-Men” before they got together under one roof. There’s the cheerleader who can’t get hurt. The single-mom whose reflection in the mirror has a mind of its own. The cop who can hear your thoughts. The Japanese salesman who can bend the space-time continuum…
Heroes offers a great many opportunities for Digital Media Integration. Is NBC taking advantage of them?
Heroes has a magnificent story where, like in Lost, all the characters are somehow connected. The producers have also tried building an off-screen story to accompany the broadcast. It’s in this area of media integration that shows like Heroes can really make a difference. These are some of the things NBC got right:
* Hiro Nakamura (space-time dude) has a blog.
* Online Comics delve deeper into the storyline.
So NBC is actively expanding the show into the internet, which is great. But they still have a way to go…
Considering the effort NBC has put into this show, it’s sad to see them not taking full advantage of the available opportunities. These are some of the things they either got wrong or didn’t get at all:
* Hiro’s blog shows a note indicating it’s been translated by Yamagato Software. A Google search for this company comes up empty. A mock website for this company, perhaps with some hidden clues, would’ve been great. (Interestingly enough, there’s a Yamagata company that does translations).
* Incomplete website. Even though we’re past the second episode of Heroes (and the lengthy ad campaign), some areas of the official website are still not ready. Try clicking on the Games or Downloads links and you get a “Coming Soon!” message. And if you cheat and enter the urls yourself, you get half-finished placeholder pages.
NBC still has time to fix these problems. The show is young and the audience large. And there’s always the remote possibility that these materials are out there, but still haven’t been discovered or made it to the top of the search results… And user generated content (maps, theories, connections, etc.) will eventually surface.
After several days of server errors, it seems Revision3 is finally live, sporting a brand new and very cool look. Gone is the “Sign Up” page… which is interesting, but more on that later. According to their own About page,
“Revision3 is the first media company that gets it, born from the Internet, on-demand generation. Unlike aggregators, mash-ups, clients and web sites, Revision3 is an actual TV network for the web, creating, producing its own original entertainment and content.“
They also mention that their “content is designed for a new audience. This audience, like television, expects dependability and quality, but unlike television, wants a more gritty, edgy, highly-targeted and in-depth form of entertainment,” and offer to make their shows available on as many platforms and through as many distribution methods as possible.
So far, so good… even the content is entertaining (Ctrl-Alt-Chicken, Diggnation, NotMTV, thebroken, etc…). The quality of the videos is very good and they are available, as promised, in a variety of formats (quicktime, wmv, xvid, theora).
Founded in part by some of the Digg boys, Revision3 is sure to make a lot of noise in the internet television scene. The lack of a sign up page (which was available, though not working, in the previous iteration) really caught my attention. While Revision3 is certainly no YouTube (content is generated by Revision3, not uploaded by users), I was expecting a certain level of personalization, viral marketing and social networking – particularly because of Revision3’s ties to Digg. I’d certainly like to be able to bookmark my favorite shows, share my playlists, see what everyone else thinks about any particular show, see a show’s ratings, and share my favorite shows with my friends. But, hard as I looked, I could not even find any mention of signing up as a regular user. I’d love to know the reasons behind this.
For more on a user-centric, internet TV experience, read Google Media: How Google will change the way you experience music, television and media in general. On that article, I explained what I envisioned Google doing on the internet television front, complete with an interface mock-up of what the user experience could be like. The same concept could apply to Revision3 as well.