Ashwin Navin muses

It’s a selectively-edited interview, but Ashwin Navin, co-founder of BitTorrent publicly puts forth “common sense”.

I actually don’t think that if content owner and content rights holders take an inventory of the way that people want to consume content and embrace, rather than fight it, DRM almost becomes irrelevant. If people can use content in the way they want offline and online they won’t care about DRM, because the content is consumed in a flexible use case.

Yes, absolutely: this statement means two things though.

  1. With good use-case-management, via “DRM” platforms, people won’t really see the mechanism that lets them watch what they want, how they want
  2. If the original rights-holder publishes legitimate unencumbered media, they could combat the existence of illicit unencumbered media.

And as the interviewer emits surprise at the possibility of point 2, Navin explains that

[…] There’s huge amounts of value for publishers to license a TV show over and over again. Today they can’t stomach the risk of allowing content to be published free and clear of DRM. But eventually they’ll realize that’s the way people are going to consume it anyway, so they might as well profit from it.

Media houses coming to grips with the freedom ethic of digital content will prosper.

Colourful pie statistics

The BBC listed their sources, gave us the sampling methodology, and drew us some pietastic metrics.

But pie charts and surveys are not very good at illustrating qualitative responses.

Take this one:

BBC Media Pie 1

But where is the “I downloaded all the stuff I wanted to see, so I watched less real actual TV” or “Four hours on YouTube left me with one hour of BBC3 before gran told me to go to bed”? Under the label “normal TV”.

The venerable Beeb trudged on with their second tasty pie graphic:

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Revenues from participation

[Part 2 of a brainstorm. Part 1 also available]

Dion Hinchcliffe uses the word “monetize” [sic], but the principle is the same. Compare folio the diagram in Part 1.

Hinchcliffe's Monetising Diagram

But the biggest question that comes up is that if you let your users generate most of your content and then expose it all up via an API, how can a profitable business be made from this?

His thesis is to examine methods to go far beyond advertising, subscriptions, and commissions. The bullet points below have been abbreviated for readability.

Some of the indirect ways which lead to revenue growth, user growth, and increased resistance to competition […] are:

  • Strategic Acquisition
  • Maintaining control of hard to recreate data sources.
  • Building Attention Trust
  • Turning Applications into Platforms
  • Fully Automated Online Customer Self-Service

The article is a comprehensive read, and acknowledges pro and con viewpoints for each opportunity,

While a great many startups are not generating revenue in huge quantities yet, the companies that have been diligently exploiting open APIs such as Amazon and Salesforce are in fact generating significant revenue and second order effects from opening up their platforms and being careful not to lose control. This is actually a large discussion, and as large Web 2.0 sites continue to emerge, we’ll continue to keep track of what the successful patterns and practices are.

Thus we are left with questions. Always more questions.

The one that concludes this brainstorm is:

What other implications are there by putting users in control of content generation and open everything up?

Drive participation towards revenues

How would you advise a client on the best way to drive participation in one shaded ball towards revenues from another?

Web two-dot-ohhhh engagement

I can’t see a clear path forward, as you can’t make a consumer do something; one can suggest and imply a desired action, or one can induce behaviours. You can also create desire for something seemingly unattainable.

But forcibly obliging a customerbase to perform an action? That’s performing-animal territory.

Or is that capitalist monopolism?

Web 2.0 Summitary

Web 2.0

Originally uploaded by R.J. Friedlander.

(Summit + Commentary = Summitary)

Om Malik encapsulated the Summit right at the end of his overview.

Here, we’re so far ahead of the curve, it’s a race to see who can be cynical first.

Twice at the Web 2.0 Summit, we had funny conversations with people on the topic “what will be the online pet food of bubble 2.0”? Nominees on the floor are social bookmarking sites and mommy-oriented social networks.