All 64 entries tagged New Media Technologies
No other Warwick Blogs use the tag New Media Technologies on entries | View entries tagged New Media Technologies at Technorati | View all 39 images tagged New Media Technologies
January 09, 2008
Convergence moves on:Xbox will host BT's TV service
This BBC story about XBox from Microsoft linking up with BT's online services is a significant development and an important link up in a week which has seen a blow to Microsoft's X-Box and its support of the HD-DVD standard with Bluray seemingly taking a lead in this area however if you look at my comment about if they don't hurry up online services will make both DVD based systems a bit redundant seems to have been a well-placed one. Here we look at the process of technological convergence which often means that large companies are doing specific deals with other ones in order to try and get ahead in the market place. No single company has technological dominance across the board.
What Consumers are probably being offered:
On-demand films and sports content from the BT Vision service will be available via the Xbox games console from the middle of this year.
Desparately Seeking Audiences!
As usual media organisations are desparately seeking new audiences and reinvestment or repurposing of existing technologies is always a likely way forward:
Sales of BT Vision have been somewhat sluggish according to critics, with BT signing up around 100,000 subscribers since launching in November 2006.
How far is the X-Box developing into a domestic entertainment hub?
Whilst it is likely to make the broadband service gain a higher profile for BT customers must sign up for a 12 month BT Broadband contract. Unlike BT's own V-Box the X-Box is unable to deliver recording facilities because of hard-drive limitations. However as BT are patently aware of this is seems reasonable to presume that some sort of add-on external video recording hard drive will be made available at a reasonable price. For those household s sporting an X-Box or three then it will presumably be marketed as an attractive service for them. As a core marketing strategy of the X-Box Mind you watch this space if a recession starts to take hold, there are straws in the wind about the Chinese economy !)
Did Sony Pay Warner? If so How Much?
Whilst this week's Economist thought that it was 'game over' for HD-DVD I'm not so convinced. Certainly announcement's were pulled at the hugely important Consumer Electronics Show (CES) by Toshiba / Microsoft but that is hardly surprising given the brilliance of Sony's timing of the announcement. Yes I said Sony's becuase I don't believe for a moment that Warner weren't heavily bribed to make not only this default to Blueray but also to make the timing of the announcement to try and deliver a knockout blow against Toshiba / Microsoft. Toshiba had already pulled off the same trick but their timing wasn't perhaps so good:
Paramount, which had supported both formats, abandoned Blu-ray last year after Toshiba offered it tens of millions of dollars in marketing incentives. (See Economist link above)
At the root of this game is Microsoft. It's X-Box has a much larger base in the domestic environment than Playstation 3. Whilst the Economist points to twice as many Bluray discs being sold in 2007 this is not very many. They are still very expensive. flooding the market with cheap players and ensuring that HD-DVDs are readily available in rental outlets at a low price could still put Sony in the shade. Sany Vaios with Bluray are still very expensive and the technology was hugely expensive. Toshiba / Microfst still have some cards to play!
January 05, 2008
Blu-ray versus HD-DVD: An eye to the future!
This format war between two sets of industrial giants one gathered around Sony and the other around Toshiba has been chundering on for over two years. As a result any consumer who remembers as far back as the Betamx - VHS battle which Sony eventually lost,- was a case of better technology being sidestepped by better audience and market development strategies from the VHS people. This was financially very irritating for Betamax buyers myself included. Like lots of other people I've no intention of buying into either Blu-ray or HD-DVD as a single player burner until things are sorted out. The same situation has been rumbling on between SACD and DVD-Audio. As a result people have stuck with CDs.
Perhaps one of the exceptions to this rule of the audience staying away until a universal system is established is the iPod. On the whole the iPod is the 'killer' technology and machine which has gained a firm market dominance. But it can play MP3s which are slightly lower quality than AAC so that's an important issue. The iPod buyer has universal access the Blu-Ray / HD-DVD disc player buyer has not. Apart from the cost nobody wants yet more boxes cluttering up the place. If they leave it any longer faster download speeds will make them both redundant! So let's look at the latest story on this competition. The Financial Times of the 5th of January thinks that a company the size of Warner Bros which is coming down on the side of Blu-ray might make the difference.
The FT Story
Warner, one of Hollywood's largest studios and its leading player in home video, had been publishing its new high-definition DVDs in the Blu-ray format and in the rival HD DVD one pioneered by Toshiba.
Blu-Ray.Com (Obviously an entirely unbisaed company) is crowing:
Warner has announced that they will be switching to support Blu-ray exclusively. Warner has been supporting both formats since they were launched, but recent talk from top executives suggested that Warner couldn't continue down that road much longer, and that the all important holiday sales would help them make a decision. With Blu-ray winning every week in high definition sales this year, Warner has decided that The Future is Blu.
"The window of opportunity for high-definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to linger. We believe that exclusively distributing in Blu-ray will further the potential for mass market success and ultimately benefit retailers, producers, and most importantly, consumers," Warner Bros Chairman and Chief Executive Barry Meyer said in a statement.
A Blue-ray player. They do hold a lot more date than HD-DVD so there is a distinct technological advantage here.
The New York Times has also made a more objective account of the situation:
Behind the studio’s decision are industrywide fears about the sagging home entertainment market, which has bruised the movie industry in recent years as piracy, competition from video games and the Internet, and soaring costs have cut into profitability. Analysts predict that domestic DVD sales fell by nearly 3 percent in 2007, partly because of confusion in the market-place over various formats.
They go to point to the Betamax / VHS analogy I drew attention to (well I was a Betamax owner!). This is a core point for any media student studying audiences and institutions within the media at whatever level. Audiences are not stupid. Thay want equipment that is going to be universal. Previously both Sony and Toshiba had big names behind them and both have a good lap-top market. As the NYT points out Toshiba still have support but the pendulum is definitely swinging Sony's way! People want to be able to lend and borrow each others records CDs DVD etc. or buy a new machine without having mountains of the software becoming outdated. With Warner on board, Blu-ray now has about 70 percent of the market locked up; Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox, MGM, Lionsgate and, of course, Sony have all been backing Blu-ray. The Warner announcement comes after a marketing war in the USA in the run up to Xmas:
Consumers were inundated with marketing from both sides during the recent holiday season. Wal-Mart, as part of a temporary promotion, offered Toshiba players for under $100. Sony and its retailing partners, including Best Buy, responded by dropping prices on Blu-ray players, although not to the same level. Blu-ray players can now be purchased for under $300.
Well Toshiba could chuck them into its cheaper laptops to be used as HD-DVD burners that would tempt a lot of buyers and keep them in the game perhaps? Their official response was that they were 'quite surprised' by Warner's decision. Well very disapointed anyway!
With rumours flying about of large sums being offered to Hollywood studios this sounds as though it has been a pretty dirty game. I'm wondering who has got the Chinese and Indian markets tied up though. Increasingly the game is being played ona global basis, both have large cinema audiences and film fans. somehow I don't think the fat lady is going to sing yet.
Mind you I'm biased we've got 2 Toshiba laptops in the house then the Telly is Sony that's consumerism for you. I don't suppose any of the films I like will come out in either of these formats at an afordable price anyway. Perhaps the real story of the moment regarding technology which is really going to move the world on or not in this case is the fact that Intel seems to be messing up the One Laptop Per Child Campaign! Occasionally its good to keep things in perspective. With most people in the world not having a telephone let alone a computer what is Intel up to? Will there be a FairTrade computer chips campaign from AMD?
Let's defeat the digital divide: after all "we have the technology" !!
January 04, 2008
Kinoeye Reference Hub Page
As the Kinoeye film and media blog develops a range of reference pages are being made available. You may wish to bookmark this page to be able to quickly refer to what is currently available at any time.
Reference pages will include: bibliographies glossaries, chronologies, convenient list of directors, actors etc.
National Cinema Hub Pages
In depth individual explanations of terms
December 30, 2007
Power of Facebook affects law
Internet law professor Michael Geist looks at how Facebook has the power to affect legislation.
(Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law.)
In this story Geist tells of how a concern he posted on Facebook about proposals to changes in copyright law to a few friends rapidly galvanised tens of thousands into action. Here he argues that this is perhaps the most important issue to takeaway from 2007 which has definitely been Facebook's year in terms of profile on the internet.
December 29, 2007
Kaneva : A Different Approach to Virtual Worlds?
Kaneva, a virtual world that launched this year, is the brainchild of Chris Klaus, who developed it after he sold his internet security company to IBM.....
....Kaneva encourages the use of true identities and personal information to help people interact. He says virtual interaction is much more immediate than in real life. “It’s much easier to read your profile in the virtual world and see you have the same friends and interests and, all of a sudden, you have those connections. (Financial Times Nuttall October 26 2007)
Kaneva, which comes from the Latin word for a blank canvas, has been in development since 2004 and is the pet project of Chris Klaus, the former chief executive of internet security company ISS, sold to IBM last year for $1.3bn. As a dumbed down version of Second Life / Sims there is an emphasis on trying to attract an audience which is out for entertainment rather than creating their own world from scratch. It will be a place to chat with your mates in 3D but easy to access:
Many people were put off by the degree of difficulty in navigating Second Life and building their characters, he said. Kaneva’s avatars are as simple to construct as a Sims person and they will find it hard to get lost – they are restricted to going home to their apartments or teleporting to friends’, wandering around a mall or playing paintball in a jungle. (FT Tech Blog)
Business Week There are several stories here about the potential development of Virtual Worlds.
Redfaced Face Book in climbdown over Beacon Advertising Technology
Below I take a look at the ill fated initial attempt by Facebook to install an intrusive Advertising programme called Beacon onto its platform in a clear breach of privacy. From the examples below it seems clear that users of social networking sites will have to remain very vigilant if they are not to be exploited by the provider.
Beacon Advertising Technology
Mark Zuckerberg the 23-year-old founder of Facebook, said the company had “made a lot of mistakes” in building its new Beacon technology. The Beacon technology sends messages when a Facebook user makes purchases on outside websites.
Beacon has proved the most controversial of several new money-making technologies launched by the social network site last month. Facebook has come under pressure to perfect a revenue model after a recent Microsoft investment valued the company at $15bn. (FT Kevin Allison December 6 2007)
In its original version the Beacon software would broadcast a message to a user’s friends automatically unless the user elected, within a certain amount of time, not to broadcast it.
Friends of a Facebook user who buys a book on Amazon.com, for example, may see a message about the purchase when they log onto Facebook. (FT Kevin Allison November 30 2007)
In the face of 50,000 complaints and the beginnings of a Move on campaign (details here) Facebook backed down . Mr Zuckerberg said Facebook would further tighten Beacon’s privacy controls by allowing users to opt out of the service altogether. Last year, users protested about breaches of privacyafter it introduced “News Feed”. This was a piece of software which allowed users to keep track of their friends’ actions on the site. Google became the next company to fall foul of user wrath at breaches of privacy:
On December 14, Google’s RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed reader application, Google Reader, introduced a new feature that lets you share posts with anyone in your Gmail or Gtalk contact list. The problem is that you don’t want to share some of these posts with your boss or maybe with your mother, or anyone in your list that you hardly speak to. And as if this is not enough, Google Reader provides no way to opt out of the feature short or deleting every item you’ve ever shared. (E Flux Media)
Google responded in the following way on December 26:
We'd hoped that making it easier to share with the people you chat with often would be useful and interesting, but we underestimated the number of users who were using the Share button to send stories to a limited number of people," said the blog. (ibid).
It is clear from these examples that users of social networking sites do have the power to change the way in which the institution concerned delivers its services. This is clear difference to the days of the centralised models of mass media which delivered products to audiences who had little or no interconnectivity with each other. In this sense those companies seeking to ride the wave of Web 2.0 are required to be very responsive to their audiences stated needs otherwise they can easily evaporate into cyberspace.
In the EU we seem to have more protection from this sort of thing than in the US through a privacy directive:
The Directive is Directive 95/46/EC (as in the European Commission). The precedent is the “Safe Harbour” Agreement. This privacy Directive was meant to standardize the exchange of private information within the EU Member States. A significant aspect of the common market is the capacity of consumers to shop and purchase in other Member States. The need to permit private information to flow freely prompted the creation of the Directive, which set rather high (in the mind of a USA-based marketer) standards for the use of private information. (EU for US Blog)
Facebook Still in the News
Facebook’s transformation from a quirky internet start-up into one of the most talked-about companies in Silicon Valley is sure to be remembered as one of 2007’s biggest technology stories.(Kevin Allison: FT
December 28 2007)
In May 2007 Facebook announced that it would allow outside developers to develop applications for Facebook such as games and slide-shows for use in the site. This gained a very favourable response as Facebook has a large and growing market. As the Money Programme puts it below, however it asks searching questions which are related to to any media company either on or offline. How has it outstripped the opposition and will the audience remaion for as every media company knows audiences are fickle:
Facebook seemed to come from nowhere to everywhere in 2007.
One person in eight in the UK has become a registered member.Why has Facebook been so successful against stiff competition from other social network sites?And as the company tries to turn its popularity into profits, will its millions of members stay faithful? (Facehooked BBC Money Programme)
Comscore an organisation which tracks webtraffic estimed that Facebook received over 92 million unique visitors in November 2007. This compares with 104 million unique visitors for MySpace in the same period which is a far more established company. The rate of growth for Facebook since November 2006 has been an impressive 400% compared to MySpace's 26%. Whilst an impressive rate of growth from a relatively low base is easier to achieve in a short time clearly if these figures were to continue Rupert Murdoch's MySpace as the foremost social networking site is under threat.
Business interst in Facebook is underpinning this growth and gaining widespread interst amongst the business community. Given that Facebook's audience is amongst university students soon to be embarking upon successful careers the potential for longer term audience retention and the possible growth in advertising revenues can hardly be ignored. As reported in a previous posting Microsoft made an initial investment buying up 1.6% of the company. This was closely followed by Li Kashing a Hong Kong businessman of $60 million.
Above Comscore chart of Facebook usage pattern from Aug 05 - Aug 06. Unsurprisingly for a site devoted to university students usage goes down in the holidays. Roll on more wireless internet laptops under the sun umbrellas!
Overall these deals value Facebook at $15 billion. This can be compared to the price Google paid for YouTube of around $1.65 billion overall. In general terms then social networking sites with an established audience are becoming increasingly valuable. These figures also help to put the value of Linden Labs Second Life in perspective. currently the number of residents of about 11 million with aroud 38,000 online at any one time is still not attracting the bigger players. Microsoft is clearly intersted in audiences numbering tens of millions.
Allison analyses the three constituent groups who comprise the audience and instituional combination which defines the media equation of the site but who have competing desires:
- The users whose social connections power the site
- The developers whose applicationskeep people interested
- The advertisers upon whom Facebook is reliant for making money
“Facebook has these three constituent groups and it’s a really difficult balancing act, especially when you are trying to be innovative,” says Jeremiah Owyang, an analyst at Forrester Research (Cited Allison ibid)
Two groups have been frustrated over the past year. Users have become concerned over privacy issues - to be dealt with later- whilst software developers have found the frequent changes to the site's software through tweaking awkward to deal with requiring immediate tweaks of their own. Currently the situation is very fluid as the key perspective from the viewpoint of Media institutions is how to monetise the assetts of social networking:
“We are in an early stage in trying to monetise social media,” says Jeremy Liew of Lightspeed Venture Partners, a venture capital group that is an investor in RockYou, one of the leading makers of Facebook applications. Speaking of Facebook’s trouble with Beacon, Mr Liew says, “there are bound to be mistakes made” as social networks experiment with new advertising models.(Allison ibid)
Social Networking and Advertising Futures
Liew is confident that in the medium term a stable model of advertising driven social networking sites will emerge and that looking between 5 or 10 years this will have happened however over the coming few months there is still likely to be a lot of experimentation. Unlike audiences who may be preparedto put up with a few issues if they are changed rapidly in response to audience feedback marketers who are putting the money up front are unlikely to be so tolerant.
What does seem certain is that social networking is going to become a massive creator of adertising revenue. The content will be user generated but oiled by useful and entertaining applications. Rupert Murdoch renowned for being media-savvy and being able to develop and influence trends was certainly perceptive to invest in MySpace. The fact that Microsoft has made a move into this niche market after years of experience in networking with MSN shows that this is likely to be the fastest growing area of advertising revenue in the coming years. As Gabriel
Ready from the Open University has commented there is no such thing as a free web-trip or (lunch in cyberspace):
As Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg explained, quite simply, these sites are based on a business model of selling targeted advertisements. Targeted advertisements, unlike traditional broadcast adverts, rely on information about their targets. And we--the users--are the targets. It's inevitable that companies like Facebook will want to gather more and more information about us as users, because it is that rich mine of data about us that advertisers are willing to pay for. (My emphasis, Ready: OU Open2.Net)
December 23, 2007
Piracy Downloading and the Entertainments Business
For those of you doing music downloading within new media technologies this is a useful recent link:
The Size and Growth of the Internet
Netcraft ran its first survey about the size of the internet in 1995 the year that Amazon launched.
1995: 18,957 websites
2000: 19,800,000 websites
2005: 74,400,000 websites The year of its biggest growth
In its October 2005 survey, Netcraft found 74.4 million web addresses, a rise of more than 2.68 million from the September figure.
2007 (November) 149,784,002 websites
Netcraft estimate that in 2007 there has been an increase of 40 million sites since the start of the year:
Much of the growth in sites this year has come from the increasing number of blogging sites, in particular at Live Spaces, Blogger and MySpace.
If this estimate is right then it shows how important the development of Web 2.0 has become as a user generated publishing phenomena. In reality one can argue that this represents an increasing fragmentation of the publishing market.
The Growth of Blogging in 2007
What is Blogging?
Please go to BBC Webwise site if you are unsure.
In 2005 a survey found out that:
Research conducted among taxi drivers, hairdressers and pub landlords - backed up by conventional market research of more than 1,000 adults in the UK - has found that seven out of 10 people don't know what a blog is. Nine out of 10 don't know what podcasting or flashmobbing are. ( Blogging v dogging)
By 2006 the BBC World Affairs Correspondent Paul Reynolds had this to say:
I regard the blogosphere as a source of criticism that must be listened to and as a source of information that can be used.
The mainstream media (MSM in the jargon) has to sit up and take notice and develop some policies to meet this challenge. (Bloggers: an army of irregulars)
The November figures from the Netcraft organisation suggest: that in 2007 there has been an increase of 40 million sites since the start of the year:
Much of the growth in sites this year has come from the increasing number of blogging sites, in particular at Live Spaces, Blogger and MySpace.
Web 2.0 is clearly making a phenomenal difference to the lives of literally millions of publishers. This is a phenomenon which is really without precedent. The Gutenberg revolution was obviously a massive step in human development but how what we are witnessing now will be considered in a few decades time is liekly to be seen a huge leap forward in the development of humanity. In terms of culture as well as wealth and methods of education and doing politics interactivity is the way forward.