TECH TALK: Video on the Internet: User-Generated Content

One of the themes that Ramesh Jain discussed was the emergence of user-generated content. Jeff Jarvis takes this idea to its logical end, suggesting that each of us is a network.

In the future of media, which is now, everybody is a network. In the past, networks were defined by control of content or distribution. But now, you cant own all distribution and content is controlled where its created. So, I wonder, wheres the value and wheres the money in the fully networked world?
What is a network now? Your friend pointing you to something to read or watch is a network. The collection of people putting a YouTube video on their blogs makes a network. BlogAds bringing together 800 blogs for an ad buy is a network. When you subscribe to a collection of feeds, or when you publish up a blogroll, or when you put a tag on your blog post, or when you use a Flickr tag that others use, you are a network.

Networks are about sharing now; they used to be about control. Networks are two-way; they used to be one-way. Networks are about aggregation more than distribution; they are about finding and being found. Networks are now open while, by their very definition, they used to be closed. You join networks and leave them them at will; you can join any number of networks at once and content can be found via any number of networks, there is no practical limit. Networks used to be static. Now networks are fluid.

On the business side, the old networks have no end of new competition. The scarcity economy is over; networks cannot continue to raise their rates even as their audiences shrink, because they no longer control the clock; there is always somewhere else to reach audiences somewhere more efficienct and less expensive, by the wayOn the consumer side, the people formerly known as viewers have taken control of what, when, and how they watch and they do it without commercials.

Dan Farber wonders if the Web is the new Hollywood:

“The audience is taking over the programming,” according to Ted Cohen,senior vice president of Digital Development and Distribution at EMI Music. “A few years ago we looked at litigating it, now we are looking at how to monetize it.”
In the last several months, hundreds of video sites have shown up on the Web. However, the big entertainment companies, who fear loss of control, will need to let go to participate in the new media world, Cohen said. With or without permission, users are playing with the video and other content assetsfrom trailers to full length featuresof entertainment companies.

One major difference with the Internet is that reduction of scarcity is happening on a massive scale, [Brightcoves Jeremy] Allaire said, and it is becoming more efficient to serve micro-markets. The issue of distribution control came up. Allaire said the most networkssuch as MTV, Discovery, and Turnerwould rather distribute themselves than ceding it to another gatekeeper. “How to get syndication and aggregation is not figured out,” he said.

Tomorrow: YouTube

TECH TALK Video on the Internet+T

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.