Media Changing

Bambi Francisco writes:

The media are undergoing a significant overhaul of business models, and this is driven by the customer, now involved in producing and marketing content. The consumer or audience has a lot of power today.

It is with such power that magazines, such as Time, are trying to relate to the new consumer while not abandoning the old by testing out new models.

One new business model is in the economics of sourcing content and talent. At least for now, new sources of content can be bought cheaply — meaning free.

Ad Supported Mobile Games

MocoNews has a commentary by Matthew Bellows, the GM at Floodgate Entertainment, a leading mobile games developer:

Mobile game ad networks combine the problems of the Internet ad networks with the current issues facing mobile games today. Developers still shoulder the porting, localization and support costs of their games, and they still have to fight for deck placement in each download channel. But now, instead of getting paid during development (from a publisher), or getting paid as a percentage of the consumer price (from the carrier or D2C sales portal), they now have to depend on the success of a 3rd party ad team, and the response rate of mobile consumers.

In every media, cross-publication ad networks exist, and in some they do fairly well. But my suspicion is that main impetus behind the mobile games ad networks comes from more from Microsofts acquisition of Massive and Googles acquisition of Adscape Media, than from the opportunity to build real and sustainable businesses. The mobile games industry has been through a lot of investor-funded value chain experiments in its short history. We dont need another one right now, especially one so likely to fail.

Online Video Landscape

Will Price writes:

Today, Youtube, NBC, CBS, etc use Flash Video and Flash Media Servers to deliver their content. Many pundits are also pushing the merits of P2P….

As of yesterday, however, moved away from Flash and is now streaming full episode content via the Move Networks player. Full episodes of Lost, Desperate Housewives, etc are available via Move.

Move is the only video delivery system that allows customers to deliver both live and on-demand content, supports continuous play, utilizes least-cost CDN pricing and routing, leverages commodity web infrastructure, provides full support for PVR features, and provides per stream, per user reporting and tracking.

SMS vs IM discusses the two:

Logically, of course, IM is a more convenient and flexible service than SMS, as well as real time. SMS, however, is the only mobile data service that is almost completely interoperable and, more to the point, even if they slash prices per SMS, operators are still making a fantastic margin from something that costs next to nothing for the carrier to send. As Jeff Wilson, chairman of Telsis, a company with a strong background in messaging systems, says: “Despite predictions in the past of the death of SMS, it has continue7d to grow. People know it works and are familiar with it.”

But IM and email are very user-friendly aren’t they? Well, yes – if the user happens to be sitting in front of a PC or a Mac. Sending long messages on a phone is an arduous task. What about presence? Presence is something SMS cannot offer. But it is far from proven that, outside the fixed environment, many texters are that bothered about presence, or indeed whether users, many of whom still need guidance to lock their keypads, will really go into their phone’s menu and get online to set a mood or IM profile.

Game Consoles

The Economist writes:

IT IS a vicious fightand one that all three participants claim to be winning. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are battling for supremacy in the $30 billion video-games industry, a struggle that takes place in rounds lasting five or six years each…With the start of sales of the PS3 in Europe on March 23rd, all three machines are at last available in all of the world’s biggest markets. The fight is just getting started, and already everyone claims to be on top.

Analysts are divided about the outcome. The PS2 achieved a level of market dominance never seen before, and I’m not sure we’ll see again, says Ed Barton, an analyst at Screen Digest. This time around, he suggests, different winners might emerge in different markets: it seems likely that Sony will do best in Japan and Microsoft in America. The wildcard is the Wii, which could trump the competition by attracting entirely new customers. IDC, a market-research firm, predicts that the Wii will be the bestselling console by 2008, and Merrill Lynch predicts that 30% of American homes will have a Wii by 2011.

TECH TALK: India’s Challenges: Indian Express

Saturday’s Indian Express had an editorial page article by its editor, Shekhar Gupta, which captured the mix of politics and economics that we are seeing in India today. A disappointing, tax-everything budget is the backdrop for Shekhar Gupta as he writes:

The 1997 budget, he says, was about another dream, of unleashing Indian enterprise and that has more or less been achieved. This one was about distributing the spoils of that success. What [Finance Minster P. Chidambaram] wouldnt say is, every time industry complains of new and complicated taxes, the white collar worker protests about the tax on stock options, or some get their cheap thrills that the really rich will now have to pay a sizeable tax on planes they import (they may do no such thing, and register their planes in Dubai instead), he is vindicated in terms of his partys current twisted politics. While on the one hand it celebrates the fact of 9 per cent growth, on the other its not sure if it makes a large enough section of its voters happy. So it has chosen a novel way of conducting its politics: celebrate the growth, but punish its beneficiaries or at least be seen to be doing so.

In Indias politics, to be anti-rich is usually considered safely synonymous for being pro-poor. It is tough to do something that will make a real difference to the lives so many poor persons that can swing an election your way. But compensating them with cheap thrills by seemingly hurting the rich is an easier alternative.

Confused politics produces confused economics as well. So while on the one hand it goes after inflation with a sledge-hammer, it is actually, mostly, hurting the very aam aadmi it swears by. In this mad dash to moderate inflation, it has allowed interest rates to go up nearly 400 basis points for ordinary aam aadmi home loan borrowers. Because of the way banks structure these things, they will only now realise the implications of this when their annual loan statements come…When people realise whats been done to them, they will react more sharply than they react to increases in arhar dal and onion prices. For the common man, rising interest rates, taxes, all mean inflation. This government may have done a fine job of keeping its deficit under control. But if its tax collections have risen so massively, if there is service tax on all kinds of things including tuition, tents and commercial rents, if all of Indias usually bankrupt states are cash-surplus now because of VAT, it is all going out of somebodys pocket. And these additional taxes are being passed on to somebody.

By all accounts, today nearly three crore Indian families carry the burden of EMIs that is, nearly 10 crore voters. Most of them are ordinary folk, aam aadmi. Billionaires do not have to borrow to buy their toys. The same aam aadmi is today reeling under the weight of new taxes levied in the name of the poor who, in turn, have no idea where that money is going. The Congress, therefore, is setting itself up for slaughter, earning the wrath of the rapidly growing urban and semi-urban populations while at the same time earning no gratitude from the really poor.

Living in India, I can definitely see some of the shine wearing off. There are hard challenges for us if we have to maintain the momentum and grow incomes. It seems to me that, not for the first time, we are not going to be let down by the people we have put in power. India needs a bold vision coupled with precision execution. Right now, we are getting neither.

Tomorrow: Business Week