Web TV Take over


Chinwag Live produced another thought provoking debate on Web TV the other week.

The panel included speakers from Channel 4’s 4OD, Brightcove, TapeitoftheInternet, Broadsight and Digital TX

Some little nuggets I pulled out from the debate are below

Everyone is trying to work out how they are going to make money out of IP(Internet protocol) TV . The Telcos think its going to be in subscriptions, distributors focus on advertisers and there are many different models emerging.

Distributors like Channel 4’s 4OD believe that experiementation is key, it’s not clear which models are going to prevail but Cosmo Lush has a few pointers. 4OD launched in Nov 2006 with a pay per view model moved to free ad supported content it offered a 7 day catch up service and now offers a month’s worth. Paid for models are hard to launch as newspaper sites have seen. Paid TV is a successful business but that has been harder to translate onto online as people are used to getting that content for free. So traditional broadcasters are having to experiement with how they “retail” their digital content. With successful shows like Skins, Channel 4 do think there is an appetite for people to collect content in a range of digital formats which seems like the best way to ensure success, MAKE great content and you can sell it.

Paul Pod from TapeitofftheInternet ( my favourite name of a company at the moment) talked about how content makers are by passing the traditional distributors. People can now get the content they want on the device they want changing the relationship that people have with content. For any business like TIOTI its clear that advertising and revenue shares are going to be important.

Raghav Gupta from Brightcove sees that the way to compete is to offer free services with a premium step up, as the value shifts from owning to distributing content Raj believes that the blended content distribution is the way forward. Maybe you release content on your website first ahead of other streams and then distrubute it across IPTV, YouTube and other channels as you go. This makes sense to me to find different ways to distribute your content to ensure you can reach an ever fragmenting audience in ways that suit them.

The big question is how much will the model migrate to he Internet away from traditional broadcast and how will the models change. An interesting example is the contrast between JJ Abrahams, Lost series which pulled in 20 million viewers – lots of eyeballs for the advertisers vs his new show which reportedly will make just as much profit based on a smaller number of subscribers.

Alex Cameron of Digital TX offered some lively points of view throughout the night. He talked about traffic shaping- which is when users might get kicked off the Internet if they are detected downloading for P2P sites. P2P ( peer to peer file sharing) is a big problem for the ISPs ( Internet Service Providers) Alex Cameron’s point is what happens if the 4 main ISPs who control 93% of the internet access decide to pull the plug on P2P sites that are effectively getting a free ride distributing their content and ISPs picking up the bill for the bandwidth to deliver it. I love the idea that they may all be in a secret bunker somewhere talking about turning bits of the Internet off and going into partnerships with the “bonafide” content providers BBC, 4OD etc and sacking the rest.

Also worth checking out Project Kangaroo – if you wanted any proof that traditional broadcasters are having to take this web TV thing seriously then this might be it. Its effectively suggesting that broadcasters and other players pool their resources to have one point of entry for the viewer where they can get everything.

Alan Patrick from Broadsight, who is very good on the subject of different models offered mentioned Metcalfe’s law which states that a the more people that connect to a service the more useful it is.

I like the idea that in the end consumers will decide and although we think we have more control now , it’s clear that the control still lies with the companies that are in the business of making money. It seems however that how they do that is an ongoing question.

Sofia’s Diary


I was very lucky to go to a briefing today about the future launch of “Sofia’s Diary”. Hosted by Bebo who are said to have launched the UK’s first Internet hit with Kate Modern.

Sofia’s Diary their second venture is being produced by Sony and is currently in casting phase. Speakers included Nuno Bernado – Creator of the international online show, Sofia’s Diary, Mike Shaw – comScore Europe and Joanna Shields – President of Bebo International

“The key to owning this space is that nobody knows everything… It’s about a conversation with people and to date we do not have all the answers”

Learnings from Kate Modern:

Based on the runaway success of Lonely Girl 15 Kate Modern has attracted 150,000 participants who have signed up as friends of Kate who has a profile on Bebo. This generates 7 million views and a considerable amount of time that these “fans” spend interacting and enviable figure in the hard to reach youth market.

Kate Modern has allowed the audience to participate in a real time event that includes interaction via web, mobile and even live interaction with the plot. Content of which was posted up participants shot on their own phones before the programme makers could get theirs up there

Brands like Orange, Microsoft, Disney and P&G successfully were able to integrate their brands into Kate Modern although my favourite ” brand engagement” was getting Jamie Bell to appear in the plot as a way of promoting the new film he appears in, Hallam Foe.

Nuno Bernado – Creator Sofia’s Diary:

“The traditional youth audience is very promiscuous when it comes to brands, the minute you get a new boyfriend or girl friend they’ll stop watching your show and when they break up you might find them watching you again. Sometimes there is little loyalty, so how do you build longer lasting relationships with them. We wanted to provide a way for people to interact with a show across all platforms in real time that they would feel more loyalty to, with someone, like Sophia”

Some rules

Start small and genuine to your audience- “we started with a blog and interest grew, we wanted to something that was more real and fitted in with our audience.

Be participative : If Sophia has a problem she asks people what she should do and we poll what people want and then shoot it that way.

Give control to the participant: It’s in real time so the first piece of content is released at 4.30pm and you can choose how you access and interact with the content where you are and whenever you want.

Be a franchise: Sophia’s World has spawned clothes lines, magazines, CD’s and even pop stars

How do we measure brand engagement?

Mike Shaw gave us a walkthrough the new landscape that social media is contributing to.

Interestingly web pages viewed have increased by 4% but time spent online has increased by 17% so time spent really is the new measure of engagement. Social media is driving this with the average amount of time spent on social media sites being 31 hours a month – with the top 20% spending 100 hours plus a month!

Bebo is due to overtake Google in terms of page impressions this month and user generated sites like YouTube have grown more than 200% year on year with our favourite broadcaster going from 63 to 194 million users between 2006 and 2007. So social media seems to be where the engagement is at and the potential for brands to get invloved is huge.

Final thoughts

My view is that the implications for brands, content providers, including traditional broadcasters and agencies is huge. Getting involved is the key. Cross media, immersive experiences like this hold the key to developing lasting relationships with brands.

Like the opening comments state we do not have all the answers, we have started on the journey and the first success has hit the our shores. Collaborative productions with real people funded by forward thinking brands made by canny production companies are an exciting prospect. Question is, are you any of the above?

Starting conversations


I’ve been very lucky to be involved in running a social influencer programme for O2 around the recent launch of their music phone, Cocoon. Contributions to the conversation can be found on the O2 Cocoon Blog. This is a first for the brand and recent activity has raised the issue of how companies should engage with social influencers and potentially a code of conduct for doing so. Some interesting feedback on the O2 Cocoon programme have been raised by, Neville Hobson , Phllip Young and Laurence Borel .

More to follow

Liberte, Equalite, Fraternite, the end of brand domination

I was so inspired by the recent PSFK conference in London that I took some of my favourite bits and put them in a presentation. It’s entitled Liberte, equalite, fraternite – the end of brand domination. It talks about how control has moved from brands to people and what this may mean for brands. Inspiration and thanks to Piers Fawkes, Hugh McCloed, Timo Veikkola, Niku Banaie, Diana Verde Nieto, Simon Sinek, Steven Overman, Faris Yakob and the guys behind the Cluetrain Manifesto.

Baluji Shrivastav

Baluji Shrivastav (Baluji) is one of India’s most gifted artists, combining the Sitar, Shurbahar and Dilruba. He is known as a classical artist but has also collaborated with the likes of Talvin Singh, Future Sound of London, Andy Sheppard and Massive Attack. He’s doing a classical music tour this year, click on the link for details. Do watch this space and if anyone is interested in helping break Baluji to a wider audience please get in touch.

Being happy in the 21st century

I’m very lucky to be part a Tibetan Buddhist Group that is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this year. I’ve been asked to come up with a way of communicating what we do and just wanted to know your thoughts on what does Buddhism mean to you. All thoughts are very welcome

Either that wallpaper goes or I do

These were the famous last words of Oscar Wilde. With the average person seeing 3,000 brand images a day I’m not surprised that so much advertising in the world is beginning to look like wallpaper. This is never more so than on the Internet where people now decry how brands are turning their favourite sites the colour of corporate brands. Don’t get me wrong the right ads to the right people at the right time are fine and they do work, it’s the wallpapering of ads that people don’t respond well to. Instead of plastering wallpaper why not put up a lovely picture, a photo or a poem that people can respond to. I would say about one in ten ads really do this. Better still have a cup of tea with someone in the room and start a conversation.

What’s great about the Olympic 2012 logo

I must admit I derided the new Olympics 2012 logo along with 50,000 other people when it came out. On reflection I began to understand what “they” were trying to do, the mission being to inspire young people to get involved to create a spirit of inclusiveness. The opportunity was for “them” to include “us”. The response to the logo shows the opportunity that “we” now have to make these games amazing. I think it’s great that “they” chose not to wrap the games in the red white and blue or just put all the focus on London, so hats off to the Olympic Committee and Wolf Ollins for that. The great thing about the whole debunkle is that it’s got us fired up and we want to be part of it. So isn’t it time we turned our passion into action?

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