« Terry Heaton: The Remarkable Opportunities of Unbundled Media | Main | Gens Johnson's Thursday notes »


Gens Johnson

Here, Dennis, I'll help out! Here are what were the to me the highlights from Day 1:

Biggest idea:
In this new world: Browse/discover is being replaced by search/find. This means
that we are likely to loose the serendipity of useful, but unplanned, encounters
with news or content of value. (such as what happens as you thumb through a newspaper
or magazine, dictionary or encyclopedia, browse the shelves of a library or bookstore,
or channel surf). Therefore I conclude: 1. search options and a database and metadata
that enables such are even more important. And 2. there might be a special role
for public broadcasting in preserving a browse/discover space.

other Big ideas:
"Motion media" includes both video and games.

What is legitimate news? see newsmind

Ubiquitous media e.g. video in an elevator, one piece timed for a trip to the 4th
floor, another timed for a trip to the 8th, or video displayed above the urinal,
or video transmitted within the grocery store on the same wi-fi used for inventory
systems, or starbucks as an IP video "broadcaster" at every starbucks
coffee shop.

Reassuring idea:
New technology (particularly IP TV) is more empowerment than a threat to public
broadcasting. It is definitely a threat to commercial broadcasting, turning the
advertiser supported model out. But public broadcasting is in a great position,
already relying on subscription (aka pledge) for support, and already being trusted
as a curator of quality content.

Biggest unresolved headache: copyright

Most immediate idea: podcasting and downloadable files, audio and video.

Michael Crane

As one of those who couldn't attend the conference, I've really appreciated the blog. While I'm disappointed that it kinda stopped in the middle, I really understand how that could happen. Thoughts for discussion:

1. Are we all too "old media" to be able to multi-task the way some bloggers do?

2. Do we need to assign some "reporters" whose job is blogging alone, not participating in the event?

3. Maybe blogging isn't the right application (at least not yet) for covering a conference where most of those interested may already be AT the conference and experiencing sensory overload?

What do others think?


Michael-- Like you, I was listening at my desk, not at the conference. I think it's difficult to truly blog a conference officially. It's been really interesting to read the "outsiders'" blogs, mostly because they have a point of view that may not always be positive or reflect the party line. That's the problem with most blogs, being critical starts dialogs raises more questions, but who wants to be critical of their own work? Not most people.

Gens Johnson

Here are some other ideas presented during the final day and half of the conference, seasoned with humble insights and a few "conclusions for the moment." ~gens

TV viewers are lazy- there is still a role for editorial choice and programming, but maybe it is a blogger that does it for me, or a friend that curates and links to favorites.

Topical niche and geography give value to a transmitter and a library of footage, but this translates in the world of the Web only if the content is already digitized, perhaps as part of adding material to a niche collection with WWW reach.

An on-air channel is clearly for local content. The local channel is the “barker” for the station web-site. As a result, the web-site has been local. But it doesn’t need to be local in focus. It needs to uniquely serve local viewers/visitors, though. So let other local web-sites also be barkers for the local station web-site.

Who starts the conversation on news? It is still the networks that are the agenda-setters. (But maybe it is Leno and Stewart, not the network news?)

Short shelf life video is best for web subscription or web ad-sponsorship. Long shelf life video, sell it a la carte. There is an exploding demand for stock footage available for amateur, non-commercial use mash-ups. Is there a way to encourage local productions, amateur, of “what’s happening in the neighborhood?”

Footage in 3-minute segments?

What do you do when the deer have guns? Sell ammunition.

Videovoter, produces 2 minute pieces on issues and candidate statements, people (voters with a view) embed them on the web, in mash-ups. Homemade op eds.

New idea: Don’t worry about protecting public affairs copyright, implicitly open the material for others to use in the spirit of Fair Use in expressing their own views, participating in the civic (on-line) dialogue, perhaps contributing their op ed pieces to your web-site.

Good idea: RSS best moments of a program stream these, then download the program. Consider the way onion video works.

Better idea: RSS trailers or promos with easy option to download. Offer the RSS service as a premium membership (in station) service.

Findability, search. No brainer to create an RSS feed, Google searches within the RSS.

Question need for video to text translation, why not make the script subject to Google search? As input to RSS, as separate bridge page (commented?) to the podcast?

When there is a single media platform in the home, the channel doesn’t matter anymore. Search/find is paramount. Handhelds with direct downloads bypass PC, eventually.

Where channel or web-site portal doesn’t matter anymore, you need to imbed membership/subscription in the content. When you are distribution platform agnostic, your brand is in the content.

The PBS/NPR brand is all about credibility, with enormous current value as a filter or curator.

Eventually, sell membership with the same value prop as now (the mug, the feel-good, but do this online.

Public interest media sites to see:




Liroff: What do we mean by “public service media?” This is the third rail. What do listeners hire us to do?

I think, that look to public broadcasting to give them what they should know (news, views, culture). This includes Jacquie Jones observation that there is still a need for minority voice and perspective. I think this also means also that public broadcasting is still an enterprise best suited for browse and discover.

“We treat our audience as citizens, not consumers.”

Public broadcasting is now a sub-set of public interest media.

2 opposing ideas: "Web 2.0 user tags and mash-ups" vs. "monetizing content."

DRM is a waste. Instead watermark your content and if there is a problem that evolves, address it then.

A variety of devices, a variety of ways to create, publish, consume:

Mash-ups, citizen journalism, flash mobs, and questions about the UI (AJAX, Flash)

Robert Ouimet: Web 2.0 is about enabling, sharing, referring, transparency. “If you are going to be naked, you better be buff.”

Search across different organization. Use Google maps.

Sites to see:

Zillow.com (real estate values)

Pandora.com (make your own radio station, based on your preferences)

My conclusion:

This conference experience is a lot like shopping. Encounters with cool stuff, and then wondering what problem I have that this stuff could solve. But Liroff is right, what are we really trying to do? The current media revolution reminds me of Bell divestiture and deregulation in the ‘80’s. The new Baby Bells floundered by trying spread their bets with new business units that ranged from building facility management to billing services, most of which failed. In my opinion, having been in the front row during this time, they ignored their obvious core competencies and assets (ubiquitous and reliable connectivity).

“Public radio” and “public television” is nothing without the national programming and reputation. Stick to the knitting. While the web makes it possible for producers to by-pass the pubcaster distribution system, the viewer (web or TV) is still looking to the PBS brand to guide them to the kind of productions they want. The core competencies and assets that pubcasters need to focus on are also ubiquity – the television and broadband delivery network that reaches 90% of the population -- and reliability – the nature and caliber of programming offered under their moniker.

The drop in listening and viewing broadcasts is merely an expression of trends away from consuming audio and video content on someone else’s schedule. Pubcasters need to wrap their (self-produced and curated) content snuggly in the NPR and PBS label and then use broadband distribution systems e.g. OMN, as well as the incredible nationwide public broadcasting digital distribution network! (a.k.a DTV datacasting) to connect content consumers to the product. Curation is nothing more than “programming” in an asynchronous environment.

The comments to this entry are closed.