Jeff Pulver and Internet Video

WSJ writes about Jeff Pulver, who is “well known in the telecom world for his evangelism on behalf of Internet calling.”

Mr. Pulver is creating his own Internet TV show, which he is modeling on Rocketboom, a popular Internet video-blog that broadcasts a three-minute news show daily. He is considering launching a broader Internet TV subsidiary and is weighing whether to invest in several emerging Internet video companies, though he won’t name them. Someday he wants to start an Internet reality TV show.

These days, though, he is most interested in companies that are allowing consumers to get the TV and video they want without turning to broadcast or cable providers.

The revolution this time, he says, isn’t coming from small upstarts, as was the case with Internet calling, but primarily from established media and tech giants. He points to a variety of developments, ranging from Google Inc.’s video service, which provides easy online access to content from a range of providers, to Walt Disney Co.’s decision to offer Internet downloads of some of its most popular shows.

Google and eBay

John Battelle links to an MBA paper by Julien Decot and Steve Lee. From the paper:

(the) main takeaway from our analysis: assuming the profit margins from their current businesses remain similar to their current level, or worse, if they face increased margin pressure, it is pretty likely that eBay will consider seriously entering the online advertising market at this point….

…Based on our high level projections, we can foresee a mismatch between demand and supply
that could possibly induce some price pressure on Googles core ad market. Moreover, in order to
reach revenue levels built into Googles valuation, Google will have to enter markets outside of online ads.


The Economist writes about the “Babel Fish” dream:

Within the next few years there will be an explosion in translation technologies, says Alex Waibel, director of the International Centre for Advanced Communication Technology, which is based jointly at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany and at CMU. He predicts there will be real-time automatic dubbing, which will let people watch foreign films or television programmes in their native languages, and search engines that will enable users to trawl through multilingual archives of documents, videos and audio files. And, eventually, there may even be electronic devices that work like Babel fish, whispering translations in your ear as someone speaks to you in a foreign tongue.

Marc Canter’s Content Mesh

PaidContent writes:

Canters vision of the web is a content mesh – a logical extension of the tools we have now but with much more connection and portability of data between sites and services. He defined content more broadly including spam, user profiles, marketing blurb and even the people actually in a community and thinks that users will become wise to the fact that their data is valuable (and interestingly enough the teenagers in the last panel of the day said as much). MySpace think they own that data because they gave users the service for free. But people will wake up to the power of their own data – how come you can monetize my data but I cant? Who owns our content? he asked. Since social capital is content, user profile data is content, a users own media is content – if my content is locked up in social network and I cant get it out, thats theft. He envisages tens of millions of decentralized networks outside control of large companies and a two-way highway to let data move freely between platforms. He said Yahoo! and AOL are the two biggest players in interconnecting content in this way and that Apple, Microsoft, Google and MySpace are the enemy – they will keep as closed as they can for as long as possible.

Mobile Payments in Japan

BBC News writes:

Japan’s biggest mobile phone provider is preparing to extend a new service which allows customers to use their handset as a credit card.

First [Docomo] launched a ‘mini’ service in April which offered customers as young as 12 years old access to a monthly credit line of around $90 (50, 10,000 yen).

Paying for goods could not be simpler. Users of the service just wave their phone in front of a dedicated reader in the store. They are billed later for the purchase together with their monthly phone charges.

TECH TALK: Computing for the Next Billion: Microsoft’s FlexGo

Microsoft launched its own initiative targeted at emerging markets. Taking a leaf from the mobile industry, it is a pay-as-you-go solution. The Microsoft FlexGo site has more:

Until now, people in emerging markets have faced two formidable financial barriers to PC ownership. The first is the high entry cost in markets without widely available consumer credit. The second is the often high fixed-monthly loan payments required to finance a PC combined with uncertain paychecks from month to month.
These obstacles have limited the number of households that could purchase a PC.

Now, with business models enabled by FlexGo, Microsoft is removing these barriers to PC ownership. Microsoft FlexGo makes it possible to lower the entry cost of PCs and let people pay for computers as they use them. This technology supports two models today: a pay-as-you-go model enabled by prepaid cards or a subscription model with monthly payments.

Microsoft has been testing FlexGo in Brazil for more than a year. A feature on its website gave more details:

The experience of the mobile phone industry vividly illustrates the appeal of pay-as-you-go plans in developing markets. Over a billion cell phones round the world are used on a pay-as-you-go basis. Among cell phone users in emerging markets, 72 percent pay for their service this way, and that figure rises as high as 90 percent, according to research groups Strategy Analytics and Gartner. Pay-as-you-go methods are also commonly used in South Africa to pay for electricity, and prepaid Internet service is available in more than 80 countries.

With this in mind, Microsoft began testing the pay-as-you-go model for PC ownership in Brazil over a year ago. Consumers such as Garcia paid a portion of the upfront cost to bring home a computer running Windows XP Home. Consumers pay off the remaining balance by purchasing from local vendors prepaid cards that activate the machine for a defined amount of time. If time runs out on the PC, it enters a “reserve tank,” or limited access state, until additional time is added. Once the computer is paid off, the metering technology is deactivated and the consumer owns the machine outright.

The response from Brazilian consumers was extremely positive, with PC sales more than doubling Magazine Luizas previous sales record. When customers who participated in the trial were surveyed, more than 31 percent said they had not intended to buy a PC in the next 12 months, but were able to do so because of the pay-as-you-go model.

FlexGo will be launched in India soon.

Tomorrow: The Mobile Alternative

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