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About The Authors

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson is a social software consultant and writer who specialises in the use of blogs and wikis behind the firewall. With a background in journalism, publishing and web design, Suw is now one of the UK’s best known bloggers, frequently speaking at conferences and seminars.

Her personal blog is Chocolate and Vodka, and yes, she’s married to Kevin.

Email Suw

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson is a freelance journalist and digital strategist with more than a decade of experience with the BBC and the Guardian. He has been a digital journalist since 1996 with experience in radio, television, print and the web. As a journalist, he uses blogs, social networks, Web 2.0 tools and mobile technology to break news, to engage with audiences and tell the story behind the headlines in multiple media and on multiple platforms.

From 2009-2010, he was the digital research editor at The Guardian where he focused on evaluating and adapting digital innovations to support The Guardian’s world-class journalism. He joined The Guardian in September 2006 as their first blogs editor after 8 years with the BBC working across the web, television and radio. He joined the BBC in 1998 to become their first online journalist outside of the UK, working as the Washington correspondent for BBCNews.com.

And, yes, he’s married to Suw.

E-mail Kevin.

Member of the Media 2.0 Workgroup
Dark Blogs Case Study

Case Study 01 - A European Pharmaceutical Group

Find out how a large pharma company uses dark blogs (behind the firewall) to gather and disseminate competitive intelligence material.


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All content © Kevin Anderson and/or Suw Charman

Interview series:
at the FASTforward blog. Amongst them: John Hagel, David Weinberger, JP Rangaswami, Don Tapscott, and many more!

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Friday, March 30th, 2007

If you want engagement, be ready to engage

Posted by Kevin Anderson

I just spent the last hour have a very enjoyable time writing a post on the Guardian’s News blog about the ‘hack’ of John McCain’s MySpace page. I put hack in quotes because I really don’t like how the media uses the term. It’s very unsophisticated, and they usually mean breaking into computers you don’t have permission to use.

But the defacement of John McCain’s MySpace page is sure to go down as Mike Davidson, the ‘hacker’ and CEO of NewsVine, has dubbed it: The ‘immaculate hack’.

Mike gives Team McCain some criticism that rings true for political candidates but also for many news organisations who believe their staff needn’t be involved in their communities:

But then I read the article in today’s Newsweek about how politicians are all setting up MySpace pages in order to “connect” with younger audiences. McCain’s MySpace page is listed, as are the pages from several other candidates. I think the idea of politicians setting up MySpace pages and pretending to actually use them is a bit disingenuous, so I figured it was time to play a little prank on Johnny Mac.

Todd Zeigler in this post at the Bivings Report put it more directly:

This is another example of the point I made in my last post: if campaigns are going to play in these social communities they need to understand the rules and respect the culture.

It’s pretty easy to see through these cheap ploys, and they feel disingenuous. Setting up a static page on a social networking site actually makes it look even more static, not at all interactive. Just by being in MySpace, or having a Twitter feed or putting the odd video up on YouTube doesn’t make a media organisation more interactive if you don’t actually interact.

Publishing on an interactive platform is still just publishing. What happens when people ask your ‘content’ questions, and there isn’t a human being there to answer? Well, at the very least, nothing happens. People get bored and go away. But, sometimes bad things happen, especially when you’re not particularly clueful with your approach and don’t understand the space. If you want community and participation, be ready to participate.

Friday, March 30th, 2007

links for 2007-03-30

Posted by Kevin Anderson

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

links for 2007-03-29

Posted by Kevin Anderson

Monday, March 26th, 2007

links for 2007-03-26

Posted by Kevin Anderson

Monday, March 26th, 2007

Mini rant: Stop calling everything a blog!

Posted by Kevin Anderson

Ok, I just looked up from desk and saw a segment on Sky News called Business Blog. What the hell is so bloggy about a business reporter sitting behind a desk on the telly? NOTHING! So stop calling it a blog.

Oh, but wait you say, Michael Wilson does have a blog on Typepad, buried somewhere in the sub-basement on the Sky News website right around the corner from janitor’s loo. Great! More news sushi! Just chop up what you would normally do and dump it on a blog.

What is interactive about this? Nothing. How is this engaging your audience? It’s not. Transparency? Nope. Easy for the gob on a stick (what some TV producers call the ‘talent’)? Possibly. Bottom line, what is compelling about this for the audience? Nothing. It will fail.

What I’m about to say may sound ridiculous coming from a ‘Blogs Editor’, but there is nothing magical about blog software - it’s just a really easy content-management system with comments. Just dumping content into a blog isn’t going to entice the masses to come round and participate. You actually have to engage with the audience, not just produce more flat boring content.

If you want to start a conversation with people, stop talking at them and start talking with them. Follow them sometimes, not the news agenda all the time. Link out. Link to blogs not just other news sites. Kick off a conversation. Don’t just ask: “What do you think?”

You can have the best technology and still fail because your content is stuck in the age of publishing, not the age of participation. And for chrissakes, stop calling everything a blog because you think a bit of branding is all it takes.

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

Guardian Changing Media: The future of media?

Posted by Kevin Anderson

Session Chair: Nick Higham, correspondent, BBC News

Andy Duncan, chief executive, Channel 4

Tom Loosemore, project director, Web 2.0, BBC

Alan Rushbridger, editor, The Guardian

Ok, I’ll be have be on my best blogging game now with the Editor - as he’s simply known as at the Guardian - speaking. He started off with one of his famous abstract presentation images - think Kandinsky does PowerPoint - that showed the blue line of depressing, falling print profits, the red line of rising online profits and an amorphous green bubble where most media organisations are. A little star in the bubble showed the current location of the Guardian with respect to the profit decline, profit growth curves.

Next, Alan pulled out an electronic reader from Illiad. It is a screen that has wonderful resolution and looks like paper. They are wonderful things, but it’s impossible to predict what form journalism will be delivered in the future.

One year on, and the depressing abstract graph has moved on a little bit. And then he showed that the Guardian is competing not just against the Telegraph and the Times but against the New York Times, Yahoo, Google, Oh My News and just about everyone. And the move has been from one platform - print - to a multiplicity of platforms. We’re also mixing sources of content from our own journalists to a broader mix of content from users and our communities.

Ten years on, we hope the increase in online profits then surpasses the declining print profits. Although Alan showed this a lot better than I did - aging a few media moguls with a little Photoshop magic and the addition of white hair. He also wondered out loud what media organisations would fade as their owners aged, and their children took less interest in running media businesses.

Next up, Tom Loosemore. I have only met Tom a few times, but I really like his ideas. I remember Tom, Nico Flores and me sharing lunch with Jeff Jarvis last summer. It was one of the more interesting lunches I had at the Beeb.

Tom said that the BBC is cutting itself some slack, especially when it comes to be in the middle of Alan’s green bubble. Many of the assumptions that we built our business around are gone. The ability to copy digital media perfectly has fundamentally changed our models.

We are right at the top of the hype curve when it comes to Second Life, but it’s not crucial to focus on technology but on behaviours, especially people we used to find were our audience. When you look at young people, technology doesn’t really exist until they are 15.

When you look at the young early adopters, you see amazing changes. They see media as self expression, identity and empowerment. They use media on their terms. If it is not on their terms, they either nick it, ignore it or make it on their own.

What has changed in media is who is charge, who is control. I think we need to be honest on how much previous popularity of media was down to quality and how much was down to control. There used to be only so many channels. There is only so much room on newstands for so many newspapers and magazines. Was that content that good?

This is a generation that will not give control back. At the BBC, he says they have to balance the needs of his great aunt who thinks that BBC 2 is a little risque and his son. If he really wants to punish his son, he doesn’t take away the TV, he unplugs the router. The BBC has to succeed in making the licence fee payer believe that £130 a year is really good value.

We’re in a state of flux, but this is not the death throes of media. Those that win will take the long term view. Those who win will give up control gracefully.

Andy Duncan of Channel 4 spoke next. I’m not going to waste space writing up his talk. He spent the first 5 minutes making a pointless rebuttal of an article in G2 that asked: “What’s the point of Channel 4?” What was the point of his talk, more like. Obviously he sees a future in government, because after that he launched into a content-free mumble notable only for its cliches about progress and the role of media in the future of the British economy. It reminded me of Kang’s speech in the Simpsons when he and Kodo take over the bodies of Bill Clinton and Bob Dole and run for president:

We must go forward, not backward. Upward, not forward. And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.

That’s about the level of vision and inspiration that we’re talking about here. He of course spiced up his ill-prepared, or at least, ill-delivered comments with a few buzzwords like UGC and mobile community, oh and, of course, a radio station in Second Life. But that really was it. “We’re in a multi-channel world.” Duh? “Competition is growing.” Duh? Ben Hammersley and I liberated a couple of bottles of beer early from the drinks reception just to deaden the boredom.

Maybe he was playing it close to the vest lest he give away his strategy to his competitors. That would be the generous interpretation. Maybe he is just a poor public speaker. Maybe he’s just clueless. But I was left thinking to myself: What exactly does it take to become the chief executive of a media company?

Ok, back to your regularly scheduled round up. Nick Higham asked Tom: Well, the BBC surely can’t cede control, can it?

Tom responded by saying that this generation was much more media literate than we were giving them credit for.

Trusting content because of the means of distribution is over.

Nick asked whether the reader comments on Comment is Free would blow the Guardian’s brand proposition “out of the water”.

Alan said that journalists are struggling with the fact that they are not the only ones who know things. There is a danger that it might capsize the brand, but “there is something about the way the community moderates themselves”. And the Guardian did some internal subjective review of the comments, rating them on a five star scale, and most comments were in fact, high quality, with ratings of four and five stars.

The first question came from Patrick Smith of the Press Gazette and asked if there was still a role for the journalist. Alan said that there was still a place for an ‘unpolluted supply of journalism that people can trust’. But he added that it was not right to think that people in newsrooms in Wapping, Kensington or Farringdon were the only people who knew things.

Tom said that journalists now had a fantastic range of new sources, but he added that great editors had become more important not less.

Suw and I are considering writing a little round up of our thoughts. We’ve noticed a few early interesting items in our trackbacks asking why the conversation seems to have stalled or is getting a bit repetitive. Hugh Martin asked why I blogged here and I didn’t blog on the Guardian blogs, seeing as I’m the Guardian blogs editor. I have responded on his blog, but he has approved my comment yet so I’ll respond here.

I blog on Guardian blogs when I go to conferences, but if there are other Guardian staff blogging, then I usually write here. Also, Suw and I tend to write notes ‘with the eye of a stenographer‘ or ‘amazing near transcript quality‘, which is a bit different than the Guardian blog style. And I hope our little public service makes up for what this blogger felt was too high of cost for a ticket, shutting out citizen journalists and others.

Now, Hugh’s point is taken when it comes to my relatively low profile on Guardian blogs, and as I said in my as yet to be published comment, I’ve spent much of my first six months behind the scenes working on the tech, making sure it’s ready to support our editorial goals. But, I know that I need to be involved in community, not just poking at servers and software in the background. That will change soon enough.

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Friday, March 23rd, 2007

links for 2007-03-23

Posted by Kevin Anderson

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Guardian Changing Media: Will IPTV change TV forever?

Posted by Kevin Anderson

Session Chair: Nick Higham, correspondent, BBC News

Merlin Lilley, head of airtime management, Channel 4

Anthony Lilley, CEO, Magic Lantern Productions

Griff Parry, director of broadband and mobile, Sky Networked Media

Dr Abe Peled, chairman and CEO, NDS Group

Marc Watson, commercial director, BT Vision

Marc Watson of BT said they have 5,000 customers. The product is a hybrid set top box, a free set top box that has Freeview channels and BT broadband line - content, interactive services, games. We are progressing to spring launch.

NH: Are you a rival to conventional broadcasters?

MW: We’re an alternative to those platforms. What we found. Big gap between analogue and free services and subscription services. There is a big gap in the middle. People want extra services but not keen to subscribe. They can then access on demand content. People will be able to buy content at a discreet prices like premiership football, children programming and niche programming.

NH: Advertising or payment supported?

MW: Content that is free to access to the customer but has advertising wrapped around.

NH: Where will you get your money?

MW: We think that there is premium content that people will pay for. Sports, premium movies and adult content.

NH: Griff, is Sky worried about this?

GP: We tend to see this as suped up Freeview. We think the world is an interesting place right now. We’re moving from a world as far as television is concerned from a single platform to a multi-platform world. We tend to lean towards a world that follows customers. We expect linear channels to be a big part of the world, and we expect broadcast to be a big part of that world. I’ll start with Sky Plus. IPTV is often synonymous with on-demand. But we have SkyPlus and Sky on demand mobile.

Mobile is a different case, was launched as and conceived as pay-for service.

NH: Impact of DVR?

GP: I think the impact of DVR is over-stated. People still respond to ads.

People understand IPTV to mean on-demand.

NH: What is Channel 4 doing?

MI: We’re doing Freeview, BT, advertising paid for catch up and paid for catch. I think that Apple TV will be really big.

AP: Convergence is not can I watch TV on my PC but convergence of linear and on demand content. On demand is the ideal medium for niche content. Moving from a world where there were few terrestrial channels to gradually eroding. People can open window on a host of other content.

The main issues seemed to be whether subscription or advertising would support programming. What is the best model for on demand? Is scheduled programming dead? How are content producers going to be reimbursed? Will these new distribution channels support the production of content? I’ve heard these issues before.

Moving from channels to shops and to social networks, Anthony Lilley said. The business models have to converge, not necessarily the technology. One of the major challenges for industry and regulator (OFCOM) that you can’t simply slowly progress in this world. You have to have access to better material, more well tagged material. You can’t think the watershed will continue to work. The watershed is the time after which content deemed not fit for children can be broadcast in the UK. More than 25% of children know their parents’ PIN number to unlock age-restricted content, OFCOM has found.

Question from advertising agency about impact of Apple TV?

AP: They may be trying to do the same thing they did with iPods. Pay for razor, but give razor blades away for free. Most iPods only have paid content equivalent to one CD. Most of the rest of the content is ripped from CDs.

Jo Twist, recently returned to the BBC, asked about closed versus open systems. Closed systems have failed. Mobile systems haven’t shown as much innovation because of the closed nature of the platforms. She asked about how to tie in social networking such as possibly using Alcatel’s Amigo.

Jo, Jemima Kiss, Suw and I have talked about the divide here. Jo is getting upset as the Sky guy just called Sky an aggregator. Corporations are using the language, but that is only the first step in cultural change. They are still trying to dress up old business models, sometimes merely with new buzzwords (like micro-chunking) without adapting to new business realities.

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Guardian Changing Media: I’ll see you in court: the rights and wrongs of DRM

Posted by Suw Charman-Anderson

Nick Higham, moderator
Dr Ian Brown, board member, Open Rights Group
Elizabeth Gibson, corporate legal and IP, BBC
Andrew Gowers, Gowers Review of Intellectual Property
Paul Grindley, head of business affairs, Film4
Paul Keller, project lead, Creative Commons Netherlands

NH: Dr Ian Brown did a good demolition job of DRM in a session in this very room last year, so surprised to see it come up again. Should rights holders be suing infringers? Should we have more enforcement? Or should we scrap DRM completely and make as much as possible free to users? Ian, have things changed since last year?

IB: The technological problems with DRM haven’t changed, but many people in the music industry are beginning to realise that DRM isn’t going to do what they had hoped it would. Surveys have found that music execs are starting to think that DRM reduces sales, and evidence to show that artists who provide their music unencumbered are doing better financially.

NH: So this is moving towards an unencumbered format? And is this making more money?

IB: Many people in the music industry are starting to believe so, yes.

NH: Andrew, I mentioned the Gowers Review, can you summarise it in three lines?

AG: We were asked to look at the changes in the world economy, and look at intellectual property rights, which is a global system so there’s a limit to what you can do in just one jurisdiction, but there were some clear issues, including the effects of digitisation, globalisation, and flexibility - there were a number of sticking points where copyright law was being brought into disrepute or misunderstanding on the part of the public and it wasn’t the public’s fault it was also the industry’s point. How did the gigantic growth in illegal downloading begin? I began because the music industry wasn’t producing stuff in the format that the public wanted, and so they’ve been forced to play catch up and some are now beginning to address the right issues. Blaming consumers for the growth of that thing was not looking in the right place. The second place misunderstanding took place, and which made the law look like an ass, was the act that most of us commit ever day i.e. transfer of music from a CD to a PC and then an MP3 player, the act of format shifting, which is an offence. The fact that it’s on the statute books taints the rest of copyright law. Then the concept of fair use, which is a broader concept in the US and covers more exceptions than in the UK, and we looked at some new fair use concepts such as transformative use, satire and parody. Need to modernise copyright law.

NH: The reaction to your report hasn’t been very good in the music industry.

AG: Broadly, the report was received well and accepted by the government in full, and the Gowers Implementation Team (GIT), are in charge of implementing. There was a distorted response from the music industry - they welcomed the enforcement section, as enforcement for online infringement is lagging behind what’s possible in the physical world.

NH: So they were happy with that, but not everything?

AG: They weren’t happy that we didn’t listen to the unrelenting lobbying from the music industry to extend the term of copyright protection on sound recordings. We looked at the evidence and we could see no case to make a change, so we are leaving it as it is. It was a question of what is the problem we are trying to fix? If there is a problem with the incentives to create then there might be an issue to look at, but there is no problem with the incentive to create in this country or any other developed country. Most recorded works sell the majority of its sales in the first 5 years. Very few acts last even 50 years, which is the current term, and even fewer that last 95 years. So we were being asked to extend the rent for a very small number of musicians for the benefit mainly of one big record company.

NH: Significant for TV too?

PG: Yes, we have been watching the music industry, and we have to grapple with this ourselves. The debate is uncomfortable for those in the business of distributing more collaboratively created content, films are consumed in different ways, there’s a more dense ecology, more entrepreneurial companies working together. This creates a lot of dynamism, so our challenge is to find a more creative solution. C4 sites in the middle of the ecology, so we innovate, develop talent, are producers, we have to look at our own position and industry holistically, and look at DRM holistically, you can’t isolate it from broader economic and cultural trends.

NH: Most film/TV content is high cost, lots of people involved whose time and effort needs reward, the comparison with music is that much music is lower cost and therefore lower value. So do you want more restrictions and more power over the end use of your product?

PG: Traditional models in film is that you can buy a copy, rent a copy, see it in a cinema, have it on TV, so challenge record industry has is that their value add which is marketing and finding talent is now in competition with social networks and other means by which film is discovered. In film, the value add is yes, distribution which will have to evolve, but as far as production is concerned that’s still an enormous cost. The transient copy that’s available on the website, if that became a permanent copy then there’s not much revenue left for the producer. DRM has an effect of alienating users, and that needs to be changed, and it doesn’t match what’s allowed legally under copyright but is it ever realistic that DRM would ever match what’s allowed under copyright. 4Docs, web based social network around documentary, uses Creative Commons licences.

NH: Does the BBC welcome the Gowers Review?

EG: BBC Always sits on the fence as both creator and user of intellectual property. So we accept things like the format shifting, just like it’s good to have time shifting. The exception for caricature, parody and pastiche, which is a natural creative thing to want to do, I’m delighted it’s been adopted although it’s causing a bit of disquiet, but I welcome that. As far as DRM is concerned, the BBC does use that out of consideration to the underlying rights holders and contributors, as they are anxious that their work isn’t used beyond the rights that they have given up. DRM could enable the idea of making one download of your CD on to something else, and our iPlayer trial needs DRM as programmes can be downloaded for a week.

NH: Tension for a public service organisation between making material which has been publicly funded as widely available as possible, and the need to protect and preserve copyright.

EG: We have the Creative Archive, which has just finished trialling, but we don’t have the rights usually. Old contracts didn’t include it. Plus we have BBC Commercial so we have to preserve the ability for them to make money out of things.

NH: The desire to make things widely available, in the final analysis, proves too difficult to do?

EG: It can do. And another problem is orphaned works where you can’t find the author.

NH: Creative Commons takes a different approach.

NK: CC offers copyright licences that allows others to use your work in certain ways. You can invite others to share, remix or reuse your materials. There’s six standard licences, and the main differentiation is between commercial and non-commercial licences. It acknowledges that copyright, which is this monolithic thing created when there were few players in the market, is now something which affects everyone. Everyone can create nowadays, and copyright is a one-size-fits-all thing, which doesn’t work now. We have serious issues with both copyright and DRM. We are interested in giving people the opportunity to express their rights in a way that invites creativity and reuse.

NH: Doesn’t it invite abuse?

NK: As an organisation we are young, so we don’t have statistics about this. But we think there are about 250m works licensed on the internet, but we have had only 3 cases that went to court that involved CC .So this way of expression rights in a term of ‘friendly guidelines’, and there is a bit of friction where people don’t understand the licence, but they are usually easily solved.

NH: What type of content is it?

NK: A lot of writing, lots of blogs, also lots of photography. Quite a lot of music, distribution platforms that take artists who reserve their commercial rights but give away the potential to share and remix.

NH: Are there lessons for the world of commercial copyright?

NK: If I listen to what was said here, CC has a three layered model, we have this licence which is 6 - 8 pages long and then we have a human readable version, and we need to explain what the rights and restrictions are. Need to be very clear about what the rights are, and that might remove some friction, even in commercial areas.

Questions from the floor
Does the BBC and C4 like YouTube?

EG: The BBC did a deal with YouTube, so yes, we like them. We can post trails and clips and specially made content where users can find it, and we get some advertising revenue out of it as well. You can’t download but you can post stuff up for your friends, but that doesn’t stop us enforcing our rights if our materials is posted up by other people.

NH: The BBC material that has adverts is the channel hosted by BBC Worldwide?

EG: Yes.

PG: It can be good if it supports your business, it can be bad if it compete. Maybe you have to tolerate a certain amount of competition in order to promote your stuff. The BBC stuff - what’s not to like, BBC doesn’t have to earn money from it’s material the way C4 does. But you can do other things, such as streaming short films on Second LIfe, no payment out of that, that’s about brand and developing authorial reputations of the creators of those films. Something else we’re doing is taking this community, and doing a movie that’s open source, inviting contributions form people, have input into idea, marketing, etc. Trying to find ways to innovate and try to find ways to use this technology.

AG: I think it’s heartening development - this can be seen as an ongoing negotiation. Sites like YouTube doesn’t mean that traditional means have got to role over and die, they’ve just got to find a new balance. And it’s always been a balance. Those copyright owners who compare their copyright to physical property are wrong, it’s not like physical properly. You can’t make endless copies of your house. What this is is finding a new balance, and there are areas that are grey in law.

NH: But isn’t YouTube encouraging a widespread disregard to copyright.

AG: It’s finding a balance. I’m sure that the courts will find that Viacom has somewhat of a pint and there’ll be a licence to be paid. But this is not

IB: This is about systems evolving, but in Viacom’s case, this was specifically considered in the DCMA. So they said that intermediaries don’t have to hunt through the content they host, but that they do have to take items down when someone complains. But Viacom want another bit of that cherry and want to try and change that.

NK: The problem with orphan works, if no one knows how owns the rights you can’t get permission, there’s a need to revert from the ‘if we can’t find the owner of the work then it can’t be used’ - that’s a waste.

You’ve mentioned different systems and US copyright law vs UK. Can copyright law really be negotiated on a national basis when consumption is international?

AG: It already is international. Much of our review is about EU law and we hope to have input to the review process in Brussels. Whether it needs to be standard is debatable. In the US you can’t get royalties for playing music in bars and hairdressers, but you can in the EU. You will see convergence, not universally, but it’s always in an upwards direction. Since WWII the tendency has been to ratchet upwards, because producers are more articulate than those who consume it.

NH: Is it realistic to expect intermediaries like ISPs to supply revenue to rights holders

IB: It shouldn’t happen in a compulsory way, but there are already ISPs who are negotiating licences, and it’s worth experimenting.

AG: ISPs loomed in our discussions, and the music industry saying that ISPs sold their services on the back of downloading, so the ISPs should look at that.

NG: What will happen is that the ISPs will become part of the content industry, and having a strong legal framework promotes that negotiation.

EG: Contributors should have nothing to fear from this new platform, it’s another way to get more revenue.

NK: we need to take account of open systems, that’s not distributed by major players that deserve remuneration.

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Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Guardian Changing Media: Business model for free content?

Posted by Kevin Anderson

Session Chair: Nick Higham, correspondent, BBC News

Christian Ahlert, director, OpenBusiness.cc

Suw Charman, independent social software consultant

Adam Freeman, deputy commercial director, Guardian News and Media

Question to Christian, what did Google do right?

Christian: At first, they were kind of a bit crazy. They didn’t have a clue. Google created a really good technology, but they didn’t have a business model. Everyone could use good and they can still use Google. The only way that they could create a business model was on top of the attention they created. Giving something away on top of the attention they created. This is key way that the internet and business on the internet works.

When it comes to Web 2.0, social activity has become a product unto itself. I created OpenBusiness two years ago because of Bill Gates. I’m involved with Creative Commons. That is an alternative rights mechanism. Some rights reserved instead of all rights reserved. Bill Gates said two years ago, “What those Creative Commons guys are doing sounds like Communism to me.”

One business model is Last.fm. They give stuff away for free. It allows people to share their tastes.

Last year, he consulted with a major media company. They wanted to become a Web 2.0 company, but the first thing the company said is that they had sent a cease-and-desist letter to someone who had put something on YouTube. He thought the meeting was pointless. Six weeks later, they had another meeting, but a smart executive put the same message up on YouTube. But he got a cease and desist letter because they said he was using YouTube for commercial purposes.

There are hundreds of ways in how you can create revenue. Many of his business ideas are taken from the world of open source software development. People build very successful business models around open-source software. Or you can upsell, by adding premium or paid for services, or even free-ium content.

Suw Charman: There is an idea if you give something away for free that you can’t make money for it. We see this in the publishing world with Cory Doctorow, Lawrence Lessig and Tom Reynolds. Certainly, Cory Doctorow has been very open with his figures. His first novel has been downloaded 700,000 times, but Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is also on its fifth or sixth printing.

The people who are most aggressive downloaders are also the largest buyers of music. We’re still seeing a shake out in business models. If you have a product that is desirable, then people will buy it. Downloads aren’t exactly equivalent to the physical product.

Nick: DVDs, the physical product comes with extras.

Suw: When you look at the music industry, you see a nice blip when people were replacing their tapes and vinyl with CDs. This created an artificial hump in sales. The music industry is shifting fewer units so are selling less. To blame this entirely on downloaders is spurious. You have a small number of bands shifting a large number of units.

Suw called it a power law issue. Mark Cuban calls it the ‘rat’s ass of the long tail’. And it takes a lot of money to climb further up the tail, although I’ll leave that image there.

Adam Freeman: We are a multi-platform player. Today it is printed words on paper. In the future, it will probably be video. We are not on the web but part of the web, and fortunately, that has coincided with a boom in advertising. It has to be compelling, and it has to be unique. You can’t do that in news, but you can do that in crosswords or news compilations for expats. They also have a dating service.

CA: Lots of business give away things for free but use that to generate business. We didn’t mention quality and convenience. To bash the music industry again, who developed iTunes? A computer company. (Nick Higham: How many have iPods? Almost 100%.)

The guys who started Skype have launched Joost. The quality is great. I mean, YouTube, Google Video? The quality is crap.

Question from audience: The music industry didn’t invent iTunes because it wasn’t their core competencies. He went on to insinuate that Suw and people like her thought music was ’shit’ because her tastes were changing as she was aging.

Winning argument boss, or not. Suw’s a square because she’s getting older?!? Blame the user. Blame the listener. This seems to be the music industry strategy. Don’t innovate. Don’t invest in new business models. Defend your old business models with a stable of lawyers.

CA: Decoupling using a product and not paying for it is nothing new. Radio has been doing that for years. The internet has changed transaction costs forever.

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