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    This is the personal blog of Simon Kendrick and covers my interests in media, technology and popular culture. All opinions expressed are my own and may not be representative of past or present employers
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Ofcom Communications Market Report 2008

To my pleasant surprise, I was browsing Slideshare and found the full 407 slide deck of Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2008. While I can’t be completely certain, it at least appears that it was Ofcom themselves that uploaded it. Bravo!

Covering the Internet, telecommunications, TV and radio, the deck is the ultimate source of information for the current state of the UK technology and media industry.

I’ve already earmarked at least a dozen slides that will be going into presentations of my own (attributed, obviously), and I’m sure I won’t be the only one.



Mygazines and online magazine sharing

Everything is Miscellaneous points to Mygazines, a new website where people can upload and share their magazines.

My previous post was on piracy; would this venture come under the banner? Perhaps, though I’m not sure whether content owners would be as keen to pursue the owners in court (not yet, anyway)

  • Unlike music or films, magazines have a built in obsolescence – whether weekly, monthly or longer
  • It is not just the content being lifted, but the advertising as well
  • The popularity and mass appeal is unproven

A nice feature of Mygazines is the ability to tag individual articles as well as magazines. This means people can search for specific content – whether it is jokes, recipes or technology essays – without having to guess which magazines to trawl through.

But the site is almost a no-win situation as if it proves popular, magazine owners may go after it. I’m not convinced it will get to this stage as

  • I see the site as informing users of new magazines and driving them to those destinations – on or offline. In the first instance, I would find a useful article through Mygazines. In the second instance I would go straight to the website of the magazine I had previously read. This would make Mygazines transitory.
  • Assuming the content is online, why would users want to scan through pdfs when there are fully functional web articles out there
  • And as David points out; the site is slick but the process of uploading magazines certainly isn’t

I’ll be keeping an eye on the types of magazines uploaded and the frequency of uploads as an indication of whether the venture is taking off.


The Pirate’s Dilemma available to download at “tip jar” price

In the vein of Radiohead, Saul Williams et al, Matt Mason has made his book – The Pirate’s Dilemma – available to download. The price is whatever you want to pay – zero upwards.

His reasoning?

There are millions of books on amazon.com, and on average each will sell around 500 copies a year. The average American is reading just one book a year, and that number is falling. The problem (to quote Tim O’Reilly) isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity. Authors are lucky to be in a business where electronic copies aren’t considered substitutes for physical copies by most people who like reading books (for now at least).

Considering that the book is related to how open source culture is changing the distribution and control of content, it makes a lot of sense to offer the book via this medium.

It comes with recommendationsfrom the Guardian, Wired and Seth Godin among others. So I’ll be downloading it as soon as I get home this evening.


What’s next?

Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/cdm/

A couple of great presentations here – both in terms of content and design

The first is “What’s next in Marketing & Advertising” by Paul Isakson (I included it in a link post last month but it is definitely worth re-iterating its quality)

“Build the marketing into the product” (Slide 30) is a fantastic mantra.

The second is “What’s next in Media” by Neil Perkin

For me, slides 37 and 51 are key and these themes run across both sets. Content marketing is increasingly crucial. If a brand or a platform isn’t useful, why stay with it when more utility can be derived elsewhere? Monopolies may still exist in the areas where critical mass creates synergies, but this is the age of consumer choice and this has to be both accepted and respected.

Of course, to do this, the “old media” corporations need to fundamentally alter their images and the public perceptions of them. I don’t think we will ever see the BBC on an even footing with a youtube channel (and nor should we), but that doesn’t prevent the big media companies from incorporating some of the benefits of the grassroots into their business models.

Could there be a “What’s next in Research” deck? Certainly, but I suspect it wouldn’t be as insightful as the two presentations above. Content marketing is of course attainable, but the business to business market has a fundamentally different dynamic. Instead, a different theme may be required. For instance, there are specific examples of research moving from “what people say” to “what people do”. But saying that, extending interesting ad-hoc studies to some form of universal currency still seems too prohibitive.

SIDENOTE: Slideshare is a completely awesome tool, but what on earth is the business model?? The only (presumably) advertising I can see is “Featured groups and events”…


Giving it away for free to earn your keep

Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/vanessao/

Brian at Copyblogger rhetorically asked if one could make a living from publishing white papers for free, mass consumption online. His answer was (of course) yes, and he made reference to a former colleague who makes $300,000 a year from doing so. As one would expect, his tips for success are freely available from here.

This business model is described as content marketing. Earlier this week, Joe of Junta 42 once again practiced as he preached by releasing an updated version of his 42 top Content Marketing blogs. A fantastic resource linking to some great blogs; the original release was how I heard about his blog. And since then I have become an avid subscriber (if not paying customer).

One blog currently not on there is Jonny Bentwood’s Technobabble2.0. He has just followed up his white paper on social media with an analysis of the quality of other analysts’ Twitter/microblogging usage. Go check it out.

So, is this the future of content creation? The free distribution online sets the brand up and creates buzz, and a (possibly supplementary) living can be earned from speaking engagements and corporate training sessions.

The basic content is therefore free, with the revenue coming from incremental business based around that – books (special editions) and face-to-face sessions (live events). Now where have I heard this before?

Since some critics argue that what works for Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails (the link takes you to their brand new free album – The Slip) doesn’t work for Joe Average, is this a model that all bloggers can aspire to?

My answer is yes; if the quality, the luck and the will to succeed are there. Like I hadn’t heard of Joe before someone linked to his blog, I hadn’t heard of Black Kids before I saw a Pitchfork article and a link to their free EP. And now they’re on Universal. Ticket sales and merchandising, rather than CD sales, is how they will be getting paid.

And as a final point, it is interesting to note that the material I linked to from Joe and Jonny takes publicly available knowledge, adds some special sauce, et voilá. An original, insightful piece of work. Remixing, in other words.


The future of reputation

Following on from my previous post regarding personal information stored on the Internet, a new book by Daniel Solove has come to my attention. The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumour and Privacy on the Internet is fully available online to read, and explores how gossip and rumour collide with fact.

The synopsis is:

Daniel Solove, an authority on information privacy law, offers a fascinating account of how the Internet is transforming gossip, the way we shame others, and our ability to protect our own reputations. Focusing on blogs, Internet communities, cyber mobs, and other current trends, he shows that, ironically, the unconstrained flow of information on the Internet may impede opportunities for self-development and freedom. Longstanding notions of privacy need review, the author contends: unless we establish a balance among privacy, free speech, and anonymity, we may discover that the freedom of the Internet makes us less free.

The book is also available for purchase

Via apophenia