Why The Europeans Watch Online And What We Can Learn From It

The Techcrunch piece about 45% of Europeans watching TV online should be of little surprise – but not for the reasons you might think. Despite TechMeme buzz on this topic, I have a few thoughts that I haven’t read yet.

Mark Evan’s points out the bias in the study, but I’d suggest an even simpler suggestion – the more complicated it is to watch the shows you want, the more likely you are to find an easier way.

If we look at England, we find competiting satellite options for some of the most popular shows. You can get 24 on one, but not the other. The same is true for Battlestar Galactica and a few more. Is it any wonder that I know more Brits who have just given up and grab it all from Bit Torrent than those who put up with the nonsense?

When I lived in Germany, our family’s cable package included several French channels. Certain shows hit French television months if not years before the Germans got them (and vice versa). Didn’t matter, we had them both. Now, all over Europe, if you buy a satellite, you can get special “cards” for your boxes at a flea market that do wonderful things. I don’t think I need to spell this out.

Europeans have a proud history of getting around the rules to get the television they want. The Internet simply, now, provides the easiest way to do so.

Nobody should be surprised that they’re going to the Internet for their TV.

Television, though, should be asking why they try to make things so darn hard – and how things might change if they start serving their audiences.

At least the audience they have left, who haven’t given up.

I’m sure there are some left.

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Podshow And Sirius Part – Satellite Radio Becomes Even Less Important

I’m surprised this hasn’t made Techmeme yet.

Podshow and Sirius have parted ways. Here are some thoughts on the divorce from P Dub and Chris. Let’s not forget American Cliche or Tartan Stories.

We’ll never know the numbers but I’d bet good cash that Podshow on Sirius sold more satellite radios to Podcasters than Sirius knows. People always support what they help create and now that “us Podcasters” are no longer part of the ever-less-important satellite radio scene, I see their numbers further flushing down the toilet.

Of what I read on this topic so far, nobody has suggested that this is because the value of the Podshow content wasn’t “worth it” for Sirius. I’m sure the token PodshowSucksAndAlwaysWill.com crowd will claim it was because Sirius staff wasn’t willing to sacrifice their first born to the altar of CurryBloom, but it sounds like the conversation is heading in the right direction.

There is value in the content. Podshow is showing us that.

There is also great value on the channel – and that channel is watching satellite radio, web radio, and all of her other “competitors” crumbling away.

The future of media, simply, is on demand and anyone who doesn’t provide that opportunity is as vital to our future as is black and white television.

Apple announced 10.5 million plus iPods sold last quarter and I just can’t believe that they were all purchased to listen to more Shakira.

I see blue skies ahead.

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Free IQ Is An Extremely Disruptive Online Content Model

Update: A few words about FreeIQ.com on this week’s Podcast Tools Weekly Update.

Wow, take a look at FreeIQ.com.

I very very very seldom get on the “it’s just like “x” but better” bandwagon but in this case, we’ve got a very very different situation on our hands.

First of all – the monetization side of things (and where would this blog be without that?): This whole “share the wealth” thing that all the other sites has been promising is tightly integrated into their affiliate program from the very beginning. You bet I joined it. You can join Free IQ here.

You bring people into free IQ and they start buying content, you see a piece of the action. Content providers now know that people are compensated for selling their content and, wow, the snowball effect begins.

Secondly – want to add your own content to Free IQ? Did you know you can set the exact timecode moment in video for a thumbnail (or set your own). Very nice. Starting selling it and you get a piece of the action. Offer it for free and grab some very optimized for the search engines real estate for your content.

Look at how clean the interface is? No flashing Hilton Romance Package (or worse) around your content. I’ve always said the money is in the content, not the 25 cent cpm model that everyone else seems to be pushing. Free IQ gets that.

Keep your eyes on this one. Very important, very disruptive, very cool. And put together by some very smart people who know what they’re doing.

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The Seven Surprising Benefits Of Business Podcasting That Nobody Ever Talks About

With all this talk of new media, Web 2.0, consumer generated content, and [insert buzzword or buzzwords here] – all too often some of the best benefits of Business Podcasting get no press cause they aren’t sexy enough.

They are, however, some of the most important reasons that a business might consider Podcasting, so I’m going to hit them here today.

#1 – Podcasting is (o.k., can be) content without excuse. Need more time to tell the whole story? Take it. Only got 2 minutes worth of content? Stop tape at second #121. When companies stop hiding behind press releases and marketing content developed by either summer interns or companies that only care how much they can bill you, the truth will start to come out. If you got “good stuff” – it will come out – because the excuses are gone.

Obviously, or at least it should be, if you’ve been hiding behind press releases, legalese and SEMC (someone else’s marketing content) … you better beef up your resume.

#2 – Podcasting requires that you focus on communication over sales. People can tell when the whole purpose of your Podcast was to sell them something – and they can tell it from a mile away. Even the most manipulative corporations realize that they must put a human face (or voice) on their Podcasting efforts. Communicating why they should trust you with their money is a lot different that manipulating them into giving you their cold hard cash.

That focus on communication will do amazing things for your company.

#3 – Between the 8 billion different Podcast directories and the relentless splogging contingent (if you can’t beat em, put ’em to your use), Podcasts, implemented correctly, have some great SEO elements that are only going to send you additional Web traffic. Whether it is a legitimate customer hopping over to your site or if it is Google spidering you again because you were at the Pickle, you’re going to get the very inbound links that other companies pay a lot of money to get.

In SEO, the more things that point to you … the better. A Podcast that points to you is good. A few dozen Podcast directories that do the same – even better.

Want to “pay” for your Podcast? Take it out of your SEO budget.

#4 – Not all of your customers learn the same way. Presenting yourself or your company (in audio or video) will open you up to a brand new audience that will never read your marketing material (online or off). You just simply (and RSS has nothing to do with this), touch your audience (potential and existing) in a way you haven’t touched them yet.

As long as your touch is good, this is extremely valuable indeed. Again, this requires that you have a message worth sending through a Podcast chanel.

I know the audience of this Blog sure does.

#5 – A conversation (marketing has become conversation whether you like it or not) at the time, place, location, and platform of your customer’s choosing is a conversation incredibly in your favor. When you stop interrupting them with prepackaged moments of commercial brilliance and start waiting until they are ready to hear, they’re going to have that same feeling about you that you have about that one friend who is “always there for you.”

Be that friend – the one who is there when you need it.

Don’t be that friend who always interrupts at the worst possible time.

#6 – Podcasting is guilt by association. When your content is on The Perfect Thing, you look a lot cooler than the company whose content is on dead trees.

Want to amaze someone? Tell them, and I quote, “Go ahead, just look me up in iTunes.

#7 – Do this for a year and you just might find yourself with a valuable back catalog of fabulous content. Not all of it will be ripe for selling at the eMediaMarketplace, but you can put it on CDs or DVDs (for those customers who don’t own The Perfect Thing, on branded MP3 players, or just at your Web site – for those who don’t get the bug until 2008.

Keep your history open, with no attempt to change it, and those customers you haven’t reached yet can spend a year with you … at the time and location (as well as on the device) of their own choosing.

Wait for your customers. They just might show up.

Don’t just Podcast because it’s cool or because someone told you that you need to – to reach the kids. Stay far away from this if your just doing it so you can have something to talk to your 14 year old about.

But if you want to reach your customers in a way never before possible on an intimacy level the likes of which have never before even been imagineable …

Yeah, then you should Podcast.

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Casgle and the Podium Project

I’ve written in the past if iMorphosis.com. They are now Casgle.com. Their iLink product is now called Podium. You might have ran across them at last years Podcast Expo.

I also mentioned in previous postings that I was considering joining their advisory board (compensated). I have done so and the paperwork has been signed accordingly. Disclosure completed.

The Podium product is a device that plugs into an Internet source via ethernet cable. It then registers with Casgle and delivers Podcasts through the device. It can connect to an iPod or other MP3 players that mount as a hard drive. It does not work on the Zune yet, they’re very interesting in talking to Microsoft about the opportunity.

Like the answering machine of old, the red light flashes when there is a Podcast waiting – and to put the content on your device, you simply dock your player. It charges and syncs. You don’t need to turn on a computer anywhere.

Heck, you don’t even have to have a computer. Yes, few people have a high speed Internet connection without a computer, but the founders of the company have had great success providing their Moms with Chinese media content they could not get any other way. Everything is set up through a Web interface.

A significant percentage of my audience will look at the product and laugh with a “I’d never use one” response. To them I’d dare suggest this product isn’t for you.

Let me suggest some possible, and very exciting, uses for this product:

  • A training program delivers content through the Podium device as a means to both protect their content and track usage of their audience. We will be using Podium to deliver Podcast Secrets (launching oh so soon).
  • An office with concerns of podslurping and/or security provides a row of Podium devices for their employees. Nobody has to install iTunes and the corporate computers but everyone can have fresh content as needed.
  • A family of Podcast consumers (and they’re coming) with only one computer can share a Podium dock for everyone.
  • A commuter who would rather die than turn his/her computer on when he/she gets home (sound familiar?) can both charge their media player and put new Podcast content on it without waiting for anything to boot up.
  • Anyone who thinks iTunes is too complicated, or “only works on Apple”, or [insert token complaint here] can have a Podcast delivery mechanism as easy as pie.
  • A firm testing the listening / consumption habits of any audience can provide their audience with players and Podium docks that report back on real consumption, not the stuff they claim they do to get into the right study groups.
  • Etc. etc. etc.

We launched the Podium Project Blog over at WordPress.com to track this. Comments are open and we’d love to hear what people think. We’re going to invite product users and Podcasters to post their experiences to the Blog as well. Should be a great experiment as well.

We also are working on a the Web-based Podcast directory for Podium and want to do a few things in this directory differently than others. We’re going to do our first revision of the directory with just ten Podcasts – to test out some of the fun things we’re attempting to do. Slot #1 is already taken, and he’s sold a lot more books than you or I have – but we still need #s 2-10. You can apply to be one of “the next nine” at the Podium Project Blog.

I’m excited about anything that moves the consumption and delivery away from the desktop computer paradigm. I still don’t understand why we need a thousand dollar computer to deliver a free recording to a $250 portable hard drive.

And I guess we don’t anymore.

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Why The Netflix Announcement Is Important

Yes, it gives me one more thing to try in my Year of Living Digitally project, but the Netflix announcement today is much more important than that.

And for those who think it is about saving mailing costs, realize that they’re shelling out $40 million a year to make this happen.

The “big companies” are quickly launching video on demand engines over the Internet. It’s going to be ugly for awhile as we run computers with 6 different downloading programs on them.

But the winners will rise to the top.

And the winner will sell the technology as a Web service.

And anyone will be able to sell video on demand online.

And the middleman dies.

Look at what Netflix did to Blockbuster/Hollywood and your corner rental store.

It won’t be them who does the same thing to Internet video (I expect that will be a small little upstart that we probably haven’t heard of yet) – but the same will be done to Internet video.

Get ready.

Read the thread on this topic at Techmeme.

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His Steveness Speaks at the Macworld Keynote

How did I do on my predictions? I’m gonna bet well.

As always, playing along live with the Engadget liveblog.

First announcement out of the box. iTV is now Apple TV. Thing has a hard drive inside of it to make caching possible. Smart move. Looks like it pulls everything from computers around the house – including Podcast content. Podcast content is right in the main interface for Apple TV. Looks gorgeous – not that we’d expect anything else.

Hmmm, Apple is taking over and they keep pushing Podcasting. Microsoft won’t mention Podcasting and their marketshare is, well, their marketshare.

Apple TV – shipping in February – taking orders today.

Next …

Three new products announced today: Widescreen iPod, Phone, and a “Breakthrough Internet Communications Device.” I have a feeling we’ll hear about that last.

By the way, for the record, as predicted.

Here’s the cool part – it’s all the same device. And yes, they are calling it iPhone.

The interface is stylus-less. Something called “MultiTouch.” Jobs brags that they have patented it something fierce. Good for them.

Oh wow, iPhone runs OSX …

And it syncs with iTunes, and mail, and iCal and the list goes on. Gorgeous big screen with nothing but screen. 160ppi screen at that.

And it is thinner than the “Q.”

3 sensors that turn light up or down and switch to portrait or landscape as needed.

Steve demos and it looks amazing. Gorgeous in every way.

    Freeform thought here but … what happens to Podcasting when the most gorgeous of phones makes it really easy to listen to Podcasts? All those phone Podcast types who were into the over the phone network meme – is this better? I’m going to guess/bet so.

Full Internet connectivity – Safari on the phone (it does run OSX), Wifi, etc.

Can you surf the Internet for Podcasts and subscribe right from your phone? Can you download Podcast content over Edge/Wifi?

Yahoo – push iMap email to iPhone customers. Just like Blackberry. Very smart move Yahoo.

$499 4 gig / $599 8 gig. Cingular. Shipping in June. Hmmm, is it worth my $175 cancel from Verizon fee?

Exciting stuff guys.

Disclaimer: I own shares of Apple and Yahoo.

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Podcast Prediction #3 – Check – Sell Your Video At AOL

Caught the link today – not sure when it went up. You can sell your videos at AOL through their partnership with Brightcove. None of this ‘coming soon’ stuff either – the engine is up and running today.

Don’t forget Brightcove’s relationship with Tivo. Pay per view, right to the television of “normal” people is coming very quickly. There is a lot of money to be made here if done right.

I predicted we’d see multiple paid content mechanisms this year. It’s always nice when you can start the year off smug.

Now all we need is video content worth buying. Oh wait a minute, didn’t I just spend twenty bucks on a Ninja DVD?

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1 Tivo for Sale at Ebay – The Year of Living Digitally Begins

First step, unplug and sell the Tivo. Done. We’ll miss the dear friend. I hope she goes to a good home.

In case you missed it, she’s on the auction block because in 2007, the Colligan family gets their new media, only from the Internet – and via legal channels at that. You can track it all at YearOfLivingDigitally.com. RSS

Second step, explain to the family why cutting off the cable on 1/1 means you can’t watch the Rose Parade and try to rest peacefully knowing that the Star Wars fans will put all the best from the event online. Thank goodness for my HeyWatch.com account.

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I need more storage so that I can pull this dream off (o.k., Seagate, I’ll bite)

I’ve mentioned this before, but in 2007, the cable gets disconnected. No TV comes into this house by coax or antenna – if I can’t get it legally via 1’s and 0’s, we won’t be watching it. More details here.

I need a massive drive to store the following:

  • 200+ gigs of iTunes Store television show purchases (and an occasional Disney purchase for the kids). I’m gonna need my BSG, 24, Apprentice L.A. and more. Let’s not forget Dora for the kids. Until iTV, I’ll be sneakernetting these 60 gig at a time to my TV through the iPod video cable. Once I get my iTV, …
  • 200+ gigs of Amazon Unbox television shows and movie rentals. These will come to the TV via Xbox as Media Center Extender. I hope it works as advertised. I’ll be telling the world if it doesn’t (same it true for the Apple stuff, don’t worry).
  • 200+ gigs of Akimbo content that should fill in the tv show holes without breaking the bank.
  • 200+ gigs of video (and audio) Podcasts that will, hopefully, replace a lot of my regular viewing habbits as I give all the content equal billing on my Sharp.

When the year is over, I want to point to the drive that “held it all.”

Will it be a Seagate? Will it handle the abuse my family will put it through?

Follow this link for a better understanding of this post. No problem sharing some linkluv with Podtech.

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