Dead In 2010

I tweeted last week that “Acer Chairman says iPad impact not serious … then offers Easter Bunny job as Chief Strategy Director.” Apologies to the Easter Bunny in suggesting he’d take such a demotion but, … let’s face it, with the iPad, the Netbook is dead in 2010.

Today I sit in front of my new MacBook Air typing this in – and I realized something. She’s got no CD/DVD drive, no drives at all. The spinning disk is dead in 2010.

With announcements of “App Store” for Windows, Mac, Windows Phone 7 and more, I felt a bit sad as I put my iLife 11 DVD in my iMac (the Air came with it preloaded (w a USB Restore Key). I’ll never do that again. Shrinkwrap software distribution is dead in 2010.

This morning I sat on the exercise bike and chose from more shows than I could possibly want on my iPad through Hulu Plus and Netflix (delivered over ATT 3G none the less). I love the new show “The Good Guys” but couldn’t even tell you what night it is on (and I remain a TV junkie). Sure, I canceled Cable TV in 2007 but the family simply doesn’t miss it anymore. Yes, Comcast delivers the Webernet to my home but I got Clear and Verizon as options too. No, everybody doesn’t have as many choices, but we do have choices. The Cable Company as monopoly is dead in 2010.

Cali Lewis is at Revision3 and even Adam Curry has taken a “soft exit” from the company formally known as Podshow. Mevio, the company who first sold Podcasters of the dream of quitting the day job, is dead in 2010.

What else is dead in 2010?

What are you going to change in 2011 as a result?

8 Years Free – Here’s What’s Next

It’s a very special day for me: 8 years ago today was the last thing I’ll ever have that will resemble a day job. The Internet has been veryverygoodtome and it’s time for me to give back.

Note: This is a work and concept in process. I’ll be editing this a LOT based on what I hear back from you. As you’ll see, we’ve got a site dedicated to the conversation, but please read nothing definitive into what I write today (other than the fact that I LOVE this concept and will be pouring a lot of time and effort into it). Also, please don’t – I DON’T WANT YOUR MONEY on this project.

Problem: The very nature of the Internet is that anyone, anyplace, anytime, anywhere can produce and publish content. I embrace (and love) this reality but it results with this simple fact: The lack of standards and content spam is preventing the growth we were hoping for.

Solution: The Internet has allowed us to publish whatever we want. Let’s use that same Internet to publish open media standards that will take us to the next level.

Paul’s Answer: I’ve started something called The Open Media Standards Foundation. Before you read another word, 2 things: A) I DON’T WANT YOUR MONEY FOR THIS and B) I HAVE NO DESIRE TO “GO AGAINST” OR “UNDO” THE WORK ANYONE ELSE HAS DONE AT THIS POINT.

It starts with what I call the Content Principles Document. It’s a simple list (and simple is the key here, help me keep this simple) of principles that content creators embrace. This will, in theory, grow an audience that can consume our content with considerably more trust than the content they currently consume online.

To be truthful, there is alot more here (and, again, I don’t want your money), but this Content Principles Document is the first step.

So, here’s what I’m asking for … can you visit the current revision of the document, give it a good read, and make a comment on how we can make it better?

I think the industry can and will be in a much better place if we do it right. Here’s to doing it right.

If this site has helped you at all, could you help this industry by making a comment?

Please comment at the OMSF site – not here.

Podcast Advertising Appeals to “Unreachable” Consumers? Can We Sell Ourselves Any Shorter?

Last week, the ADM (my favorite association for our space) teamed with Edison Research (the smartest market research firm in the world) to produce a Webinar called “Consumer Attitudes On Podcast Advertising.” The recording of the whole event has been placed at their site – I highly recommend a viewing.

With a title like “Consumer Attitudes On Podcast Advertising” and a firm like Edison who actually does research, as opposed to prove points for money, you can imagine the content presented. It was dead on, and from what I remember from statistics class, very viable in the polling methodology.

So, I’ll say it again (despite what the comments below will state), this is the best research to date on Podcast Advertising. By Podcast Advertising we mean ads inside of free publically available Podcasts. The research was solid there, and the prospects were good for that option.

Again, fans of the ADM and Edison and what they’re doing.

But … (you knew this was coming).

I still think strong that we’re selling ourselves short – way short.

The power of “New Media” is not that we’re a faster, cheaper “Old Media” with swear words. If the only difference between “us” and “them” is that we don’t have to get a broadcast license, and our biggest battle is in proving to the world that “we matter too” when it comes to CPM ad inserts, … I want out.

Again, not trying to criticize the work done here, but trying to encourage focusing on the things that matter:

I truly believe that if our space spent half the energy it currently spends on proving legitimacy (and complaining about the lack of advertisers) on exploring and trying alternative (do I dare say “new”) profit models, we’d see ten times the growth (and a lot more smiles at our industry events).

My goal here is a simple one: I’d like to suggest that we spend additional time (and equal effort) examining the options that have a considerably higher success rate so far as legitimate standards and part of the “dialogue.” The day the ADM Sponsors a study on “Non-Traditional Revenue Trends In Downloadable Media” and the New Media Expo offers a “Death Of The CPM – Alternative RevGen Models In New Media” track is the day thousands of Podcasters quit their day job.

Another report or blog post on how listeners don’t like pre-rolls just ain’t gonna cut it.

Let me respond to the first couple of comments before they even get entered below:

Yes, folks like Leo Laporte will be able to use slides from this presentation to bump up their CPMs. God bless ’em as they do. Remember that not only does Leo collect way more in sponsorship money than most, he also collects way more in audience donations than most Podcasters will ever make (even after this report is released). He also partners with others for free bandwidth (it’s the fully disclosed affiliate model people), has invested a ton of cash in his studio (I don’t hear him having debates about the “best USB microphone under $100″), and has a full staff behind him. He’s playing all the angles and I respect him for it. Please remember, this is the model Leo loves and Leo has been able to make profitable. It doesn’t make it gospel.

For the bit about “opportunists” are the ones looking to revenue from the premium model (it’s in the recording), I’d suggest you do a search on what people thought about “paying for television” in the 70s – and then make a list of ten friends who don’t have cable tv today.

For the “I don’t want to sell out” crowd, I ask how an ad for something (and remember, the study told us ones read by the host are best) is any less of a sell out than an merchandise line, premium option or affiliate play. Disclose away and enjoy the benefits of an audience that actually like you.

For the people don’t pay for content world, I beg you to explain HBO to me.

I guess, in short, I’d like to suggest that we got options people … why won’t we take them (let alone talk about them)?

Flame away …

7 Facts New Media Creators Must Face If They Want To Survive This Year

It’s time to face facts. Here are 7:

Niche audience programs can’t survive on mass audience advertising models. This one has GOT TO STOP. The reason American Idol can do well on a few pennies per audience member is because they have a few zillion audience members to pull pennies from. Good for them, they can have them. But, the niche content creator who thinks there are a few zillion pennies in their niche to collect don’t understand the meaning of the word niche.

And the funny thing is, people want to pay more for niche than they want to pay for mainstream stuff. Why won’t we let them? The odds of making good money on pennies per audience member are so small … why do that to yourself when there are better options for everyone?

What are you afraid of?

The “Old Media” guard is doing what they can to block you out.
For me, the big theme at CES wasn’t 3D or eBook readers, or any of the other memes you’ll read about. For me at least, the big theme was that “Old Media” is spending insane amounts of money to get better at what they do.

The only reason any machine of that size “gets better” is because there is competition that might take market share away from them. The “Old Media” guard is aware of what might happen and are doing everything in their power to prevent it.

Real reason for 3DHDTV? Even Kodak won’t be able to produce a $200 camera that pulls that off.

Real reason for IPTV? Cable cutting has become so real, they’re getting ready for when it goes mainstream.

Real reason for embedded widgets in TV sets and Blu-ray players? It’s called futureproofing your tech.

But if you look at the demos, you’ll notice something very important, very important … NEW MEDIA AIN’T PART OF ANY OF IT. We haven’t been invited to that party and they so hope that we continue to bicker about page design changes at YouTube and the size of our checks so we won’t notice what’s going on.

And the thought process has even infected us. Why in the world will Boxee automatically add a new episode of “Two And A Half Men” to my queue but not an episode of Geekbrief or The Totally Rad Show?

If we don’t force ourselves into their playing field, we’re not going to be invited to the games.

Despite all this great tech, it’s still easier to watch TV than to watch you. Yes, “kids” watch stuff on their computers and love it. Yes, the average 17 year old sees no difference in watching on the laptop than on watching on the TV. These funfacts are merely transitionatory tidbits that will mark a few years of our history, not our future.

But, dear friends, the future is Internet on the television and the phone. The future is YOUR content on THEIR terms. Flash players at obscure websites is hardly the totally of terms YOUR AUDIENCE might come to you with or request from you.

First part of having a niche audience, giving them what they want …

With companies like Kunaki in play it is, simply, wrong, not to offer everything you do on disc of some sort.

How easy is it to get your stuff?

What do you have to lose?

You can add “Ask A Ninja” to your DVD queue at Netflix. Why can’t I get your show there?

“New Media” that acts like “Old Media” is missing the point.

What we bring to the game is so much more than cheap cameras and the quest for unlimited hosting for less than the cost of a latte.

More and more of what’s coming out these days looks like an attempt at “beating the studio system” than it is “changing media” as we originally started to do.

Just ask yourself this simple question … what do you really want to be doing? What is your dream here? If it’s a show on Fox or a movie on HBO, I’d say you got a better chance going the “traditional” route at this point.

If your goal is to take a small audience to places they’ve never been before and make a good profit doing it, are you on the right path for such?

We don’t act like we want our audience to act. That’s called hypocrisy.

How much “New Media” have you consumed this week? How much have you produced this week?

Ever notice that the more you eat this dogfood, the more successful you are? Rocketboom, TWiT, and Revision3 anyone?

Yes, our audience is following our lead – it’s just a bad one.

You can’t sell advertisers the same pack of lies they can. Admit it, you’ve been thinking this for years …

Yup, those advertisers pushing their 30 second spots designed for Oprah online aren’t even close to getting their money’s worth. Don’t worry, they might not be getting their money’s worth on Oprah either.

But, you don’t have the cache or the agency behind you to get those kinds of deals for your show – so stop thinking that’s your ticket.

New Media’s success won’t come from successfully lying to advertisers and audience members – it is the complete opposite.

Even if your basement, it’s still business. I’m still surprised how many have mastered Final Cut and purchased thousands of dollars in computer equipment but who haven’t done more than surf a few blogs (written by guys with day jobs) to figure out how they’re going to make money here.

It’s called “Show Business” or “Information Marketing Business” or “Training Business” or “[Insert Term Here] Business” for a reason.

What business are you in?

Are you in business at all?

Could that be why profit ain’t much?

Free Live Webinar On Audio CD Production

Thursday, February 19, at 6p Pacific / 9p Eastern, I’ll be hosting a live free Webinar with Mike Stewart on the topic of “How To Make An Audio CD.”

We’ll cover the basics and a few advanced topics as well. We’ll talk royalty-free music, working with Kunaki.com and Premiumcast.com for the printing and sales.

And we’ll answer questions – as many as you can send our way.

No charge, just register here.

Diggnation Holds Own With Conan’s “Replacement” – Why Isn’t The Bloggosphere Ablaze?

I’ve always been a bit of a late night tv kinda guy. From King Carson (Wikipedia him if you have no reference) and Letterman in his Teri Garr phase, I’ve love the more “raw” opportunities the tube provided when the censors went to bed. That might be why I like New Media so much come to think of it.

It’s public news that Leno is stepping down (never really “got” Leno / still prefer Letterman) and being replaced by Conan O’Brien. Conan O’Brien is being replaced by SNL alum Jimmy Fallon.

Keep reading, this does go somewhere (past the US Weekly angle) …

In what feels like a “let’s throw around some new media buzzwords and maybe we’ll get picked up on that Digg thing” move, Fallon has been (for lack of a better term) beta testing his show online with some new media angles. He’s been trying things – user submitted video, playing the Twitter game, etc. The link above will take you there.

And then, Friday, he showed up as the first “official” guest of Diggnation (video embedded below for those with readers that support. If not, click right through to www.diggnation.com).

I understand the digerati are all enjoying Obamamania right now but people, THIS IS HUGE and needs some reporting and press. A few talking points:

  • Jimmy said he’s a “huge fan” of Diggnation and “watches it all the time.” Sure he could be just sucking up but, friends, if the next late night guy feels like he needs to suck up to new media, consider them Apples.
  • Either way this is huge news.

  • Jimmy Said he “should have” Kevin and Alex on his show. My predictions for 2007 stated that “Not a single Blogger or Podcaster would get on Oprah for being a blogger or Podcaster” – but I honestly didn’t see this coming either.
  • This wasn’t a token gesture, this was a full-on engagement. Jimmy wanted to be part of this and while he looked a bit nervous being on set, I can tell you that Kevin and Alex handled it like the champs that they are.
  • CBS bought CNet for $1.8 billion and has yet to put one of their stars in a Cnet show (that I know of at least). Run the numbers and implications on that one.

And, p.s., deconstruct this thing a little more and you’ll realize too that Jimmy Fallon held his own with Alex and Kevin. After watching this episode you’ll realize that they are the same “level” stars/talent that NBC’s choice to replace Conan.

New media talent, … yeah, we got that.

Bloggers, Podcasters, etc. … can we give this some attention please – or are we just obsessed with Obama’s Blackberry?

Hulu on the Xbox – Here’s How

The video below is a Qik.com file from my 3g iPhone – not the best video in the world – until you consider it streamed live from a phone.

As you can see in the video, I’m streaming not just Hulu, but CBS and YouTube straight to me Xbox.

Some fancy new Vista thingee from Microsoft with a monthly fee attached to it? Nope, a product called “Playon” – currently in free beta.

I’ve got my install of Playon running on a Windows XP box – install was a breeze, interface is easy to use and set up.

I can stream Hulu, CBS and YouTube out of the box (including programs longer than 10 minutes – which aren’t on the AppleTV YouTube option). They promise Netflix soon.

Let’s hit a few highlights here:

  • Despite being more than a year old, there is still no compelling reason to upgrade to Vista. Products like this can quickly, in fact, prevent people from upgrading because they have options that make sense.
  • The “coming” service that streams Netflix to the Xbox in the Fall dashboard update will require a $50 yearly gold account. Rumor is, once they start charging for it, Playon will cost $30.
  • If you check out the Playon site, you’ll notice that they support a number of other set top devices as well. This isn’t just an Xbox play. They even promise Wii support soon.

There is the obvious cool geek factor in this post but this product also has some very important implications for our industry.

The jump of television from the computer screen to the television screen is going to get easier and easier. Whereas this doesn’t have the brain dead ease-of-use elements of the Apple TV, this has the potential audience of all game console players – a very big number indeed. The price of the software (if it is in fact $30) is a no brainer to anyone with a box it can run on and install was as simple as this kind of approach could possibly be. By not requiring Vista, they have everyone with a PC in their market.

And they might even help sell a few more game consoles in the process.

Getting your content to your audience is getting easier and easier.

You can focus on the getting the content there, or being the content.

I’d suggest the latter – there’s much more money in it.

You Can’t Handle The Truth About Podcasting

First, please watch this embedded clip from YouTube to put you in the proper mindset.

You can’t handle the truth!

Son, we work on an Internet that has limits. And these limits can’t be changed with men with vc funding – no matter how much you’ve got.

Who’s gonna stream to millions at once? You? You, Hulu?

I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You praise streaming and you curse the Podcast. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not admitting what I know: that streaming, while sexy, simply can’t scale.

And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, is the future of media online…

You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want portable time-shifted media. You need portable time-shifted media – without the restrictions that simply won’t scale.

We use words like streaming, drm, walls … we curse these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use ’em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under tens of millions of dollars in funding without ever facing the truth, and then questions the manner in which I provide it!

I’d rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you tell me how your plan on streaming to millions of users at the same time. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think our future is!

As much as I just enjoyed watching 30 Rock on Hulu a few minutes ago, …

Streaming won’t scale.

DRM won’t scale.

Devices that dial home with my watching habits won’t scale.

Oprah tried, and fell flat on her face, and then released everything she had via Podcast.

Did her impact change? Did she make any less money? Did they sell less copies of that “New Earth” book?

Do we have something to learn from Oprah?

Yes, we can track everything – but at some point it all falls apart. I point to the USSR and East Germany as recent examples.

Yes, we can stream video right now but it is simply nothing compared to a few million people watching American Idol on a Wednesday night. If you want the numbers television provides on our glorious Interweb then, dear friends, you’re going to have to find something that scales – something that “works.”

Podcasting can scale.

Without the need to call back home, without the need to worry about where every 1 and 0 is located, without the need to own it all, this can work. Podcasting can scale.

Streaming can’t.

DRM can’t.

You can’t handle the truth about Podcasting.

Thoughts?

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7 Things We Can (And Should) Learn From “The Totally Rad Show.”

The Totally Rad Show became my favorite Revision 3 property this weekend. I’ve always enjoyed it but a few things happened in show 52 that made me realize how great, do I dare say “how rad” this show actually is. We’ve all got some things to learn from Alex Albrecht, Jeff Cannata and Dan Trachtenberg. I’ll chat a few of them here.

The show/Podcast (nicknamed “TRS”) is a weekly play where 3 friends chat about “all things rad” that happened that week. They usually cover film and television and often hit comics and video games. Alex, Jeff and Dan are engaging and funny and can keep you attention for the time needed to give their topics the attention they want to give them. Each show starts with a spoof/tribute to a favorite film (it was their tribute to The Muppet Movie of all things that brought me over the top) but he majority of everything else is done in front of greenscreen.

Here are 7 things I learned from the TRS guys in the last 52 episodes.

If done right, you can be a show, not a series of 1-off videos. Episode 52 was in celebration of their first 52 episodes (they do these things weekly). The content was all about what they had done in the last 51 shows – there was very little “new” content other than a walk down memory lane with people who had gone on this trip with them. If TRS had been developed to just shove reviews down as many channels as possible (go ahead, name me one movie review property with their own clips show), you would never have something as fun as this. And, yes, it made me wonder what the next 52 episodes will bring. This should have advertisers salivating.

The right combo of technologies trumps an “old media” million dollar budget every time. I could deconstruct how this show is put together but I won’t. In short, they spent money where they needed to but this is certainly a “low budget” venture that still has a great look and feel to it. Despite the single camera, you never once find yourself hoping for a new shot. This technique has been mastered by properties such as Ninja and Geekbrief but are considerably more impressive when you consider the fact that TRS is usually 60 minutes or so in length each week.

If you want to keep an audience, respect your audience. The spoof/tribute this week was as much a spoof/tribute to the first year history of TRS as it was to The Muppet Movie with the immortal line “Life is a movie, make your own ending” as a reminder of both what the show is about and what the show hopes you might do with your life after the hour is over.

Serve your niche, not everybody’s niche. This flows right from the point above. There is a HUGE segment of the planet, sorry, who won’t get the references in the TRS opening for #52. That doesn’t matter to TRS. And that, dear friends, is why the show is so, wait for it, “totally rad.” I know this is a show for me, not a show they through some “element” in hoping to “catch” some percentage of my demographic.

Passion is as important as production. If these guys didn’t care as much about the topics as they did, they would have lost me with Episode #1. New media is a lot more than getting a pretty face to read your copy.

If you aren’t having fun, start something you can have fun with. This is part of the previous comment but I want to stress, strongly, that as important as passion is, it isn’t always enough. I think we too often forget that in this space with all the “Podcast your passion and the profits will follow” nonsense out there. If the process of Podcasting your passion ain’t fun, you’ll never get past episode #6. These guys have way too much fun.

You audience can be a tremendous part of your content. The TRS team has tightly integrated their audience into their production and content. From user-generated backdrops (will UGB become an industry term?) for their greenscreen work to dedicated a whole segment to answering viewer email, the audience feels like they are part of what is being created – considerably more than PBS ever gets from asking you to send in checks. Your niche will help support anything they help create. They not only helped create TRS, they help continue to make it better.

And a bonus … “Old media” and “new media” can work side by side. I don’t know if TRS will ever end up on a “major” network (and I don’t know if it should – but that’s another posting all together) but I do know that you’ll never see the guys reviewing “new media” content with the same fervor they gave “No Country For Old Men.” This is o.k. and possibly even a great strategy – but that, too is another blog posting.

In all seriousness, give TRS a try. Their style and content might not be to your liking but their mastery of what their trying to accomplish (and their passion for it) is something, as I mentioned in the title for this, that we could all learn a lot from.

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