TV for Niche Audiences

The New York Times writes about slivercast:

In the last six months, major media companies have received much attention for starting to move their own programming online, whether downloads for video iPods or streaming programs that can be watched over high-speed Internet connections.

Perhaps more interesting and, arguably, more important are the thousands of producers whose programming would never make it into prime time but who have very dedicated small audiences. It’s a phenomenon that could be called slivercasting.

Indeed, the Internet’s ability to offer an almost infinite selection is part of what makes it so appealing: people can find things that don’t sell well enough to warrant shelf space in a neighborhood music store or video rental shop think of the obscure books on Amazon.com. The ease of digital video production and the ubiquity of high-speed Internet connections are sending the long tail of video into the living rooms of the world, live and in color.

Emerging Areas

Matt McAlister answers the question: “If you were able to spend a somewhat large sum of money in the Internet space now, what would you do with it?”

1) Publisher services. In the late ’90’s, I thought the music business had the most to gain by the dotcom explosion. Today, I think the publishers do. Understanding content and communities is the name of the game. Publishers have this in their DNA. They just need services that help them transition their businesses from tired media vehicles to the dotcom world.
2) Social search. There are lots of opportunities for companies to figure out how to help information find people. I don’t know whether that comes in the form of recommendations, sharing things, subscribing to things, a combination or something else. But this is a big space with lots of room for newcomers.
3) Web services. I don’t have clear insight into where exactly the best opportunity is in this space, but technologies that move data in and out of databases across the web is probably the single most important aspect of today’s online world. I’d bank on companies that are making RSS the core technology behind their products.
4) Video on the web. Big media is moving quickly to move their programming to the web. The user experience for consuming video is clunky, but the pieces are all there. A new hit product is going to appear here, or an old product is going to look new again, I’m sure.

AdMob

Russell Buckley writes:

AdMob is a pay-per-click marketplace for mobiles. Think Google AdWords for phones – yes, its that deliciously simple.

Publishers of any website optimised for mobile viewing can join the network free. And Admob run text-based ads on their site, whenever viewed by a mobile and share revenue. In other words, for a publisher, its all upside.

Bangladesh’s Iqbal Quadir

The Economist writes: “Iqbal Quadir pioneered wider access to mobile phones in Bangladesh. Can he do the same for electricity and clean water?”

The aim of his new venture, Emergence Energy, is to establish small, neighbourhood power plants in Bangladesh that can provide electricity to a handful of homes, shops and businesses. This time he has teamed up with Dean Kamen, an American inventor best known for creating the Segway electric scooter. During 2005 they conducted a six-month trial in two rural villages in Bangladesh of prototype generators, created by Mr Kamen, based on a design called a Stirling engine.

At the same time, Mr Quadir is pursuing two other bottom-up initiatives. The first, CleanWater, is dedicated to supplying safe drinking water to Bangladeshi villages, where arsenic contamination is a grave problem. Rather than relying on aid agencies or governments to install equipment, Mr Quadir hopes to license a chemical preparation that can remove arsenic from water and make it safe to drink.

Connecting Communities

Marc Canter writes about it in the context of the upcoming PeopleAggregator:

– establishing relationships across networks Facebook does this already) – but just WITHIN the Facebook universe. Imagine if you could do that BETWEEN Ryze, LinkedIn, Tribe and Y! 360!

– sending messages between networks. That should be too hard. Private email networks were born on social networks to maintain privacy and to get away from all the spam. But nowadays its the social networks that are generating half the spam.

– joining a group of creating a group – across networks and DEFINITELY from your cell phone. So youre at a party, you wanna schedule a trip to the beach with a bunch of friends, some of who are on MySpace, others are Tribesters or Yahoosters. This feature and the ability to aggregate groups will prove to be key to getting this all accepted in the marketplace.

– posting between networks – this is kind of what OutputThis enables. Whether it be microcontent, blogs, media, people showcases, recipes – one shoudl be able to publish whatever they want – wherever they want.

TECH TALK: Extreme Competition: The New Competitors

Peter Fingar writes in his book Extreme Competition:

The new breed of 21st century business competitor has fused its business operations and technology to the point of unity, where the technology and the business leaders of winning companies are no longer at loggerheads, they feed off each other.

This new breed of companies uses the Internet as a digital nervous system to make deep structural changes in their core business processes.

They innovate not just with clever new products, they innovate with the services wrapped around those products: OnStar, originally developed from the work of Blue Octane, an IBM ExtremeBlue internship team, allows General Motors to sell you, not just a car, but an ongoing service that provides peace of mind on the road.

They innovate by how they operate, how they deliver their services, how they do what they do, the ways they conduct their business operations at the delight of their customers. They go beyond just delivering products or services, and, as Starbucks taught us, on to delivering experiences that command a premium, and even change lifestyles.

They go to the ends of the earth to employ $.09 an hour factory workers and $20,000 per year PhDs in science and technology.

They disrupt their industries by weaving a tapestry of business processes with trading partners that allow them to offer unprecedented convenience and affordability to their customers, especially those who were nonconsumers before a game-changing innovation was introduced. For the pioneering Indian company, Novatium, with its slogan, computing for the next billion, the market for affordable computing for the masses ($100 PCs) in countries like Brazil, China, India, Russia, and the working poor in developed countries is the computing worlds next frontier and biggest pot of gold.

They seek University of Michigan business expert, C.K. Prahalads fortune at the bottom of the pyramid. Prahalad is author of The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits. While most companies continue to focus on the wealthy Western markets for selling their goods and services, Indias Tata Group is building the $2,200 car. From the $100 PC to the $2,200 car, innovations that allow companies to make a profit in underserved markets will no doubt find their way to even the wealthiest nations. Companies that miss this trend will not only miss out on the emerging markets in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, they will come to find fierce new competitors landing on their shores and wreaking havoc in established markets (call it blowback if you like), regardless of a countrys wealth. Necessity truly is the mother of innovation.

They spin a digital information web that can pick up on far away demand signals, sensing and responding to the slightest of vibrations from activity on the Web (technically called complex event processing). They use real-time information, generated both within the firm and across the value-delivery system, to trigger custom business processes to get work done over the Webfor their customers, employees, suppliers, and trading partners.

Their call center volumes decline as their customers and business partners solve their own issues by tapping a digital concierge who serves up process-powered self-service, gaining double leverage by slashing customer care costs, while delighting customers with a whole new experience of self-reliance.

They make-to-demand rather than make-to-forecast, and demand signals drive not only their flexible manufacturing, but also their flexible R&D portfolios.

Information is power. Also thanks to the marvel of our time, the Internet, the customer has the information, hence, the power, to demand what he or she wants, when, where and at what cost.

And the newly empowered customers demand that the goods and services they consume be bundled into ever more complete solutions to their needs, requiring that traditional companies step outside their once-tidy industries to meet the complete needs of their customersa vacation is not an airline ticket, and airlines such as Virgin package the total vacation experience, not just the ride, for competitive advantage.

This means that industry boundaries are becoming blurred: a telephone is no longer just a telephone, its a computer, a camera, a Web browser and a community of friends and family circles.

Tomorrow: Five Drivers

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