IPTV Meets User-Generated Channels

November 1, 2006

Om Malik writes about the coming of IPTV (digital television over your Internet connection).  Not surprisingly, Europe and Asia are way ahead of the US in early adoption. 

Bluewin TV, one of the new IPTV services out of Switzerland, is boasting 100 TV channels and 70 radio stations.   

Uh… so what? 

The promise of IPTV is not to create a better television experience, it is to completely redefine what television is.  TiVo took this part way, but not far enough.  IPTV will pick up where TiVo has negligently left off. 

That is, we demand that IPTV services include all of the social features we’ve become accustomed to in the MySpace / YouTube world.  That is: collaborative filtering, user commenting, ratings, flagging,  content sharing, bookmark sharing, etc. 

But most importantly, IPTV holds the promise of truly democratizing the “airwaves” by opening the network up to user-generated channels.

SplashCast will enable anyone to build their own media channel, broadcasting content they’ve either created or aggregated to any web site on the web.  In the not-so-distant future, these user-generated and user-programmed channels will be available in your living room.  You’ll be able to flip between NBC Nightly News, the Om Malik channel (to watch his latest vodcast), the Justin Timberlake channel (to get footage of him eating breakfast IHOP — paid for by IHOP), the Barack Obama channel (to get the latest scoop on his presidential ambitions), and your brother’s channel (where your 4-year-old nephew is the star).

Coming soon

Don’t Upload…or else.

October 30, 2006

Uploading the latest track from your favorite artist to your Myspace page looks like it will become problematic in the near future. And this news comes out just days after it was reported that their numbers were down.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – News Corp.’s MySpace.com on Monday said it had licensed a new technology to stop users from posting unauthorized copyrighted music on the social networking Web site and oust frequent violators of its policy.

Short of migrating to other social network sites that are a little less, shall we say, restrictive, what will the kids do? Do we really think they are going to stop sharing music?

Pete Cashmore at Mashable mentions in his post about MySpace tackling the copyright issue that they are sure to annoy their user base with these restrictions. And deleting their pages (and their friends) will will certainly not improve their recent decline in numbers. Seems like there is a compromise here. Some artists are working with the kids by providing some content for free… as well as making a statement.

Weird Al has a track on his latest album called Don’t Download This Song and he has made it available on his MySpace page as a download.

Jack Black has produced a satirical commentary on piracy and makes half of the Pick of Destiny movie available for free from iTunes.

Can’t we all just play nice and share… legally?

Widgets or A Whole New World of Publishing?

October 27, 2006

Haydn Shaughnessy writes that the future of blogging is in the sidebar. He corrects himself in the comments, stating specifically that the blog will change quite a bit in the next year. That seems far more true.

Om Malik provides a bigger picture of what widgets mean. Widgets are on the web. They’re on the desktop. Apple has built widgets into their OS. Widgets, Malik wrote for Business 2.0 “are part of a movement that’s exploding the Web into millions of tiny chunks and reassembling it for a new generation of Internet users.”

I’d argue that what we are really seeing is a whole new world of publishing that channels across the web. RSS is the transport for these media pieces. It is the syndication format that is under the hood, providing what it does best, horsepower and fast delivery to people wherever they may be. Most people may not know about RSS. But that’s not important. They’ll get the feeds that they want.

For instance, I check out Kris Krug’s flickr stream because his photos are so rock star. His photos are the main show. But what if I want to post his photos on my web site? I can use a widget from Flickr to get his photos posted on my blog sidebar as he updates his photo page.

Over the next year we’ll see photo feeds like the ones from Kris not just appearing in sidebar flickr badges. They’ll be seamlessly embedded into the blog entries themselves, no different than traditional static images. They’ll also be part of shows that mix the media from Kris and other talented people into micro channels, syndicated all over the web. In other words, they won’t just be sidebar fun. They’ll act as the next evolution of micro-publishing, where millions of tiny chunks of media get distributed to places where they are not just a sidebar gadget but serve as the main show themselves or as integral media elements within a larger HTML context.