Cable TV in an Open World

Steve Rubel writes about three possible scenarios:

1) The Cablecos Embrace Change and Re-address the Economics
Right now cable and satellite TV are very inefficient. If you hate sports, you’re out of luck. You still need to pay for it since it sits on your deck. The smart cable/satellite companies will begin to experiment with a-la-carte pricing. Further, they will make sure their set top boxes can connect to the Internet, allowing you to choose what goes on your set from a virtually limitless choices.

2) The Cablecos Simply Become Plumbing
Cable and satellite companies are not exactly known for their speed. The tech players mentioned above and others, such as Google and Yahoo, could rush in to provide subsidized boxes for your TV if you were to subscribe to their so far non-existent IPTV services. They will deal directly with the networks and reduce the value that your cable company offers to just pipes. This will turn their services into plumbing – commodity bandwidth.

3) A Hybrid Scenario
Under a third scenario, both IPTV and cable co-exist together in your living room. They are used for different purposes. Cable recognizes that they offer the greatest value in serving up live and local and leave the canned national content to go the way of IPTV carried by others.

Rethinking Education

Alan Moore writes:

Sir Ken, reminds us that education in its present form is becoming a devalued commodity, and that the current education system educates creativity out of us.

Education was created at a time when the need was to fuel the explosion of industrialisation, Sir Ken argues passionately that we need to educate the whole child holistically. Children he believes have extraordinary capacities for innovation and creativity. Picasso argued that we are all born artists, the struggle is to hang on to that creativity as you grow up.

The whole world is engulfed in a revolution, which requires us to think deeply how we prepare our children for the future.

You have to be prepared to be wrong to create new things, education and companies stigmatise failure, leading to hubris and stagnation.

Social Media Monetisation

David Beisel discusses four categories:

Behavioral-based advertising networks matching targeted ads to people based on who they are rather than page context. An advertisement is effective if it is relevant to a specific person, regardless if that ad isnt matched to the current page (which is difficult to discern contextually in many social sites given the nature of the content).
Syndication advertising widgets facilitating the tools to spread marketing messages in a distributed web. The current use-cases of branded badges, contests, and music video promotion are just the beginning of widget advertising.
Social shopping/commerce providing consumers with rich social context and relevancy to the purchases which they are making with inherently monetizeable content.
Integrated mobile platforms incorporating medium with embedded billing mechanism. While consumers are reluctant and to pay for services on the web, theyve repeatedly shown a willingness to pay for content on their mobile (ringtones, premium SMS, etc.). There is further opportunity to marry these two worlds working towards the goal of monetizing the tremendous traffic online.

Mobile Data Lessons

Michael Mace writes:

Think small. If you’re building a new service or product, make sure it’ll be cash flow positive even on a small user base. It doesn’t necessarily have to pay back all of the sunk cost all at once, but if you need to get 20% penetration of the user base in order to break even on your day-to-day operating costs, you might as well start preparing your resume now, because you are going to fail.

Set realistic expectations. Make sure your management chain understands that there are no killer apps in mobile data. The market’s made up of narrow segments, and getting five percent of the users to be passionate about something is actually quite a success. Cable TV programs thrive on that sort of viewer base all the time; that’s the type of world you’re operating in.

Mobile Search

Dr. Paddy Byers writes about the discussion at MobileMonday London:

The bottom line
Mobile search can grow massively but still remain much smaller than conventional web search. Dont expect it ever to get that big.
Mobile search still hasnt settled on usage and business models. There are at least as many advances needed in usage and business models as there are in technology before it fulfils its real potential.
Over the coming years, it will continue to be a fertile ground for innovation, yet still a huge frustration for users who, for the most part, only had modest expectations to begin with. Eventually, powered by advertising money, someone will make a tidy sum from it. Will we all be better off?

TECH TALK: A Tale of Two Covers: Jason and Jude

Jason did not give up. We talked on the phone. He was then working on a short story about Novatium. A little while later, he called me and said that the editors wanted him to do a cover story and he wanted to fly down to Mumbai and meet me for a few hours. I thought first he was joking about the cover and just wanted more face time. But he was serious. So, I gave in. And he came, and we spent about 3 hours talking. Jason had done his homework he had gone through the various Tech Talks I had written, and had a list of questions. It was a delight chatting with him.

The following Monday, Jude Edginton from London came down for a photo shoot. It then hit me that Newsweek was really serious about the cover Jude had come down just to shoot me! I took an afternoon off, taking him around a few spots where he could get photographs which conveyed both me and the personality of Mumbai. One of the spots was near home, and so my mother got my 21-month-old son, Abhishek, down to see his father being photographed. Jude suggested that we do a photo with him, and that’s who Abhishek made his international media appearance.

I got SMSes from Alok Singh, the CEO of Novatium, and Girish Nair, Netcore’s COO, about the Newsweek cover story. It was on their website. I was in Surat that Sunday. We had gone there for my sister-in-law’s house-warming ceremony. I checked the Newsweek site, and found the story. The $100 PC was the cover for their Asian and Latin American editions. Jason had done a fantastic job in reflecting our work and aspirations for what we were doing in Novatium.

I have received lots of emails and SMSes from people over the past week. More importantly, it has showcased the work we are doing in Novatium. The Novatium team in Chennai deserves the real congratulations. Led by Alok Singh, the CEO, they have weathered many storms to get to this point. And the bigger battles still lie ahead. Hopefully, as Jason put it after the article appeared, the Newsweek story will help us.

Tomorrow: Newsweek

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