Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Scion Second Life Classes

Scion will hold in-world classes to help people modify their cars.

From Millions of Us:

"Starting this week and through February 8th, we are launching a series of open classes scheduled throughout the day and tailored at helping newcomers to Second Life learn valuable skills. Participants in these classes are then invited to apply their knowledge to customizing a Scion xB and driving it away into the beautiful sunset of Scion City.

If you already own a Scion and were intimidated by the texture work or prim manipulation, come on by and pick up some simple ways to pimp your ride!

All classes are listed in the Events section in-world and there is a schedule available here. We hope to see you there!"

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TV Will Change Forever in 2007

AN FCC ruling will likely kick in this year and has the potential to radically change TV as we know it.

From USA Today:

"This year, a provision in the 1996 Telecommunications Act is likely to finally get enforced by Martin. Cable companies will have to unbundle the cable system by sharing the descrambling code with other device makers. The cable industry has gotten deadline extensions ever since 1996, but the current extension runs out on July 1, and Martin says he doesn't want to allow another one.

One certain outcome: A TiVo or Microsoft will be able to sell a box that connects to the cable line and the Internet. It will pull in cable channels, Web-based video and downloadable movies, mix them all together and present them on screen in a single menu. (Cable companies despise that because they lose control of the viewing experience.)

"TV will change forever in 2007," says Danny Briere, CEO of market analyst firm TeleChoice. "The ones to watch here are gaming consoles," he adds. When Xbox, Wii and PlayStation 3 also become TV hubs, the mixture of gaming, TV, two-way communications and 3D graphics should get really interesting."

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mitch Kapor at Davos: Second Life

Mitch Kapor, speaking at Davos, discusses Second Life.

The $100 billion opportunity

If you look at the history of disruptive technology platforms, like the PC, like the Internet itself, it appears that Second Life, or more properly virtual worlds, are going through that same type of explosive growth that happens when you have a very open platform, in which the barriers to entry and participation are low, in which there’s a lot of entrepreneurial incentive, and also a lot of idealism. And when you make the system open the way it is, with the open source client and more opening to come, people will invent fabulous applications of things to do.

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AOL Pointe Island

More from the Sheep on AOL's Second Life build.

ESC: (Giff)

"This evening, AOL opened up the AOL Pointe island within Second Life for beta testing. If you are in the Counting Sheep group, you will be able to get to the island. This has been an intense project and we’re very proud to have worked with AOL/Time Warner."

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BMW in Second Life Part 2: Achim Muellers

A follow up to this interview. Update: I reordered and edited this to make it more readable.

Linda Zimmer:
Montgomery Silverstar: do you see this is primarily an exercise in social networking or non-traditional market research or perhaps you have a different label?

Munich Express: well at this point in time it is wide open and we wouldn't want to pinpoint before we've investigated the different potential. social networking is obviously one, including possibilities of building up bmw communities and yet to be defined feedback mechanisms

Lukas Chadbourne: Does Bmw have a budget specially assigned to its SL initiative?

Munich Express: yes i'm happy to say that i do - otherwise it would be quite difficult for me

Soluna asked: There seems to be a large interest in BMW Branded merchandise here, will you have a line of BMW apparel and such for people to get official BMW merchandise in world?

Munich Express: we're looking in this area as well, but i still believe that reproducing something 1:1 that's in the rl is not good enough. the good thing about our company is that innovation is an important part of our brand identity - that motivates people to join projects like this one

Digitina Dunheved: How many people have visited this sim?

Munich Express: i can't give you an exact figure right now i'm afraid

You: To get back to an earlier question, Munich does BMW have a measure of success yet in SL? Is it mostly abou traffic or some other measures?

Munich Express: so far we have not found relaible ways to measure like we can let's say in advertisng with cpm's and what have you, reliable that is. we have therefore decided to work with qualitative goals. i'm not sure that those are the right english words though

Pyrrha Dell: how often is a BMW representative here?

Munich Express: more and more often. we started with 2 times a week. but find that through word-of-mouth people have noticed that we are here - so we are in-world more often

Pyrrha Dell: any plans for regular set hours to have staff here?

Munich Express: yes - and especially in this area - welcome/m&g - we're investigating the possibility to hire in-world"

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Second Life Breaks 3 Million

From Tateru Nino:

"From 8AM SLT today to 11AM, Linden Lab's published population statistics were offline due to periodic database load issues, however. The last reported figure for total signups at 7AM was 2,978,748. When the data feed returned at 11AM, the new figure being reported was 3,018,934, well into 3 million. This beats my flat-growth prediction by about a week and a half."

Other stats from Second Life Insider:
  • "38,273 new signups bringing us to 3,070,664 signups total. Still very high, but nothing like yesterday.
  • A peak concurrency of 28,192 at 1:49PM, and a minimum concurrency of 13,653 at 1:52AM. Average concurrency for the day was 20,117. Concurrency is also continuing to climb. It wouldn't be a surprise to see 35,000 next Sunday, assuming the grid doesn't melt."


Sweden in Second Life


From the article:

"Sweden is to become the first country to establish diplomatic representation in the virtual reality world of Second Life, officials said.

"We are planning to establish a Swedish embassy in Second Life primarily as an information portal for Sweden," Swedish Institute (SI) director Olle Wastberg has told AFP.

The embassy would not provide passports or visas but would instruct visitors how to obtain such documents in the real world and act as a link to web-based information about the Scandinavian country.

"Second Life allows us to inform people about Sweden and broaden the opportunity for contact with Sweden easily and cheaply," Wastberg said."

From The Swedish Institue:

"Svenska institutet öppnar House of Sweden i Second Life

Svenska institutet har långt framskridna planer på att öppna House of Sweden, Sveriges ambassad i Washington D.C., i Second Life. Sverige blir därmed först med att öppna en ambassad i denna virtuella värld, befolkad av miljontals människor från hela världen.

- För att vi i Sverige ska nå ut i världen så krävs det att vi arbetar via såväl alternativa som mer traditionella kommunikationskanaler. Med världen som arbetsfält är det, för oss på Svenska institutet, viktigt att hitta vår målgrupp i de sammanhang där de är mest mottagliga för vårt budskap. Second Life är bara en av de många alternativa kanaler vi bör arbeta vidare med säger Olle Wästberg, generaldirektör på Svenska institutet.

The embassy, a copy of Sweden’s embassy House of Sweden, in Washington D.C., will act as a link between the real and the virtual world. Through the official portal of Sweden, the embassy will provide visitors with information about Sweden.

- Reaching out internationally, to an increasingly selective crowd, calls for an inventive and progressive way of working with communication. It is of great importance that we find our target groups where they are most likely to be open to our information, in their own context. Second Life is one of many alternative channels we ought to look further into, says Olle Wästberg, Director General of the Swedish Institute."

Snarky Metafilter commentary here.

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More Niche: FORA

The theme of the day I guess, this one from Will Hearst.


"Fora is being promoted as “the thinking person’s YouTube,” and will feature wonky political and cultural content from partners like C-Span and Cody’s Books. Current popular programs include discussions with author Neil Gaiman, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina and, my favorite, schlocky screenwriter Joe Eszterhaus. I’m not such a fan of the pop-up player window, but do like the web-specific features like discussion forums, relevant links, transcripts and (eventually) community tagging."

From FORA:

"FORA delivers discourse, discussions and debates on the world's most interesting political, social and cultural issues, and enables viewers to join the conversation. It provides deep, unfiltered content, tools for self-expression and a place for the interactive community to gather online."

From FT:

"Fora, which is backed by William R Hearst III, scion of the West Coast publishing family and a partner at Kleiner Perkins, has yet to receive its first round of VC funding. But it has struck content deals with a host of mostly non-profit institutions, including London's Chatham House, the Council on Foreign Relations, and yes, C-SPAN.

Mr Gruber acknolwedges that Fora's more serious programming isn't the usual internet fare, or, as he describes it, "19 year-old girls running up a hill in wet t-shirts being tackled by guys who then go skateboarding." It is still early days, but Fora could well prove compelling for journalist, policymakers, academics and other public affairs geeks that inhabit the 'long tail' of internet users."

Will Hearst:

"William R. Hearst III, Principal Investor

Will Hearst currently serves on the boards of Akimbo, Applied Minds, Juniper Networks, Oblix, OnFiber, and RGB Networks. In addition to his portfolio company boards, he is also a director of the Hearst Corporation and Hearst-Argyle Television. Hearst is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a trustee of: The Hearst Foundation, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, California Academy of Sciences, and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Will Hearst was Editor and Publisher of the San Francisco Examiner from 1984 until 1995. He is a 1972 graduate of Harvard University, holding an AB degree in Mathematics."

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Gary Carter FremantleMedia

Not sure where Ilya is getting this but its good stuff. Gary Carter's NAPTE speech. art one here.

Part Two:

"Given that I think that an examination of history has answered the question of whether we are living through the death of television, and given the impossibility of trying to understand where technology is going, let us try to understand some of the forces underneath current trends in media. In other words, now I am not going to answer the question, What's the next big thing?"


"FremantleMedia is one of the largest international creators and producers of entertainment brands in the world, with leading prime time drama, serial drama, entertainment and factual entertainment programming in over 40 territories, including the UK, the US, Germany, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Scandinavia, Latin America and Asia."

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NBC's Bob Wright: Last Chance Theater

NBC Universal Chairman Bob Wright tells B&C that this is the last chance for big media to move into an unguarded digital media world.

From Broadcasting & Cable:

"For a survey of the "state of the media" for the magazine’s Jan. 29 edition, Wright says that the media are generally strong, with some weakness in more narrowly-focused, ad-driven businesses.

But he says that "even the healthy are infected with a low-grade fever of confusion, which needs to be closely monitored and treated over the next few years."

The confusion stems from the decline in revenues from traditional business lines coupled with uncertainty about the best strategy for replacing them with revenues from new, digital-based businesses with lower margins, principally the result of start-up and overhead costs," he told B&C.

"This is the last business cycle in which a traditional media company can deliver good results without digital constituting 20-30% of its business," says Wright. "Three years from now, success will require your traditional areas to be performing at the top of their games while at the same time deriving significant income - not just revenues - from digital media."

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Youtubers Watch Less TV

via Lost Remote, a Harris Interactive study finds that Youtube watchers view less regular television.

From the press release:

"Over four in 10 (42%) online U.S. adults say they have watched a video at YouTube, and 14 percent say they visit the site frequently. Almost one in three (32%) of these frequent YouTube users say they are watching less TV as a result of the time they spend there.

Of all frequent YouTube users, two-thirds (66%) claim they are sacrificing other activities when on YouTube. Although their visits to the site are most likely to have been at the expense of visiting other websites
  • (36%), time spent watching TV is next most likely to have taken a hit
  • (32%). YouTube also cuts into email and other online social networking
  • (20%), work/homework (19%), playing video games (15%), watching DVD(s)
  • (12%) and even spending time with friends and family in person (12%)."


"Have you ever watched videos online from any of the following places?"

Base: U.S. adults



18 to 24


25 to 29


30 to 39


40 to 49


50 to 64


65 and over
























Television network (e.g.








News site (e.g.








































Somewhere else








No, I have never watched a video online








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Three Minds on Vista and Demitri Martin

Three Minds reviews the Vista launch campaign.

From Three Minds:

"The future of TV advertising could be 1950’s soap opera-style sponsorships, plus a website.

Windows Vista just kicked off a campaign on Comedy Central on 1/14 by sponsoring a Demitri Martin special. Each commercial break was “free of clutter” meaning that there were no :15 or :30 spots. Instead, there were informative 2 minute segments about the Institute for Advanced Personhood.

A couple of things are great about this campaign:

  • Very engaging - not only on the website but the throwback TV sponsorship as well
  • Very targeted
  • Seamlessly integrated branded entertainment
  • Web-led advertising – webisodes drove content of TV sponsorship
  • Communicated one key message - Windows Vista can help remove clutter from your life"

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More virtual worlds...

From PaidContent:

"Viacom-owned Nickelodeon previewed its latest interactive offering Monday, a “virtual city” called Nicktropolis, its most ambitious digital venture yet.

Nicktropolis, which launches Tuesday, offers a variety of interactive experiences, such as a social network, chat rooms and downloadable video. And while Nicktropolis will eventually make room for user-generated content, the site’s most prominent feature is its games section. Nickelodeon executives offering the press a tour of the site note that it was shaped, and validated by, the MTVN property’s latest research study, Living in a Digital World."

From Broadcast News Room:

"Nickelodeon's latest research study, Living in a Digital World (2006), found that 86% of kids 8-14 are gaming online; more than half (51%) are watching TV shows and videos online; 37% are instant messaging and 12% are participating in chat rooms.

From Yahoo Newswire:

"Virtual worlds like Nicktropolis are part of our strategy to bring immersive, relevant entertainment experiences to our audiences wherever they are, and to build communities around our content across every kind of platform," said Judy McGrath, Chairman and CEO, MTVN. "The virtual worlds we've been building across our networks give the fans of our brands the high level of interaction they want with one another, and with the content itself."

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1938 Media

Ah a post of its own. 1938 Media is what the companies below are scared of.

From the site:

"We are constantly developing new and original programming for the web. Real, quick, and with a point of view.

From strategy through production, we develop video programs for the web and mobile devices that are tailored to your unique needs.

We utilize web distribution and direct download for videos playable on every device including computer, ipod, PSP, mobile phone and PDA.

A web video lasts forever. Having your brand embeded in the content assures that your message gets across regardless of platform, distribution platform. or device.

1938 Media Channel
1938 China - Yue Xu’s take on America, China, tech and gossip.
Reviews - Loren’s take on websites and products.
Commercials - For 1938 Media.
Interviews - Interviews with cool people.
Ethan Talks Tech - A four year old’s take on web 2.0.
Jason’s Place - The story of a boy who tried to change the world.
Web Traffic Report - Web traffic from the 1938 Helicopter.
Site Security - Helping to keep the web safe.

New York Hotlist - What’s going on in New York City.
Tone Geek - All about gaming.
The Sport Report - All about sports.
Washington Hotlist - Lively political debate."


Generate, Berman-Braun Productions, Lime, and Team Baby Entertainment

Yesterday we looked at Diversion, today a slew of other new production company concepts caught my eye. First there is Generate.

From the LA Times:

"Ultimately these big media companies are all wrestling with the same thing - the power is being taken out of their hands," says Jordan Levin, the one time WB network chef who now helps run Generate, a production and management firm active in Internet projects. :This is an industry that for its entire history has imposed its model on consumers. They've always said, 'We'll tell you when you'll watch out TV show or see our movie.' But thats fundamentally changing. The whole structure of people who control content is being supplanted by the content users themselves."

Generate launch press release:

"A content development and talent management company targeting young adults and family households, Generate will develop and deploy content for the multiple distribution platforms embraced by the Millennial generation."

Next there is the uber hipply named, Berman-Braun Productions.

From PaidContent:

"Gail Berman has quickly turned around and launched a multiplatform production company along with Lloyd Braun, the formed Yahoo Media Group head, among other things."

From Variety:

"The former Par prexy and Yahoo! media/entertainment chief are forming BermanBraun, a TV-focused production company with strong film and Internet components. Discussions with a wide array of network and studio players have already begun.

But rather than strike a deal with one conglom, BermanBraun is believed to favor the indie model of 1990s powerhouse Carsey-Werner, albeit with outside financing. That could mean forging several strategic alliances, both with traditional companies and alternative players, such as a Internet portal."

Next up, Steve Case's Lime Network.

From the WSJ:

"Lime, a health-oriented media concern owned by Steve Case's Revolution Living LLC, launched a broadband channel and said it would phase out its traditional cable-TV network.

The advertising-supported Web site will feature original video focused on nutrition, the environment and related issues.

Lime Chief Executive C.J. Kettler says the company will continue to offer video-on-demand programming to cable operators, but that the Internet provides a better opportunity for a full-fledged channel. "As we built the business, we realized the audience is totally shifting," she says."

From the Washington Post:

"Lime has 6.5 million cable subscribers, a Web site and a 24-hour channel on Sirius Satellite Radio. It plans to roll out wireless alerts consisting of reminders and daily inspirations, said chief executive C.J. Kettler. As part of Revolution's deal with Gaiam, Gaiam will provide programming to Lime and produce videos of Lime shows."

From the New York Times:

"Most of Lime's Web site consists of a series of blogs, run by freelance writers who identify articles of interest around the Web, adding some commentary, but little original reporting.

Ms. Kettler said this was not only economical, but it tapped into the skepticism audiences had about so-called authoritative voices.

"We have lined up people who we use as filters for what is out on the Web so people can learn a bit and interact with other like-minded people," she said.

The blogs will also incorporate video and audio programming produced by Lime, and eventually content produced by its users. (For now, as on most blogs, users can comment on any item.)"

Let me introduce Worldwide Biggies.

From the WWBiggies site:

Worldwide Biggies is a content creation company whose mission is to develop and produce multi-platform characters, properties and brands for the digital family and young adults.

Worldwide Biggies is developing and producing: computer generated (CG) features; hi-definition (HD) movies and television series; direct-to-DVDs; and broadband and mobile content."
From the New York Post:

"After spending his entire career at Viacom's MTV Networks, first at Nickelodeon and then as the creator and president of Spike TV, Hecht is out on his own with a new digital media production company called Worldwide Biggies.

The inspiration for shows coming out of Worldwide Biggies, which will begin a fundraising effort with Platform Equity aimed at generating $16 million by the end of March, came to Hecht one day while observing his son.

"He was watching TV while talking on the phone in one ear and listening to his iPod in the other," Hecht said in an interview with The Post from his Los Angeles base. "I thought to myself, 'How am I going to compete for his attention?'"

In a media multi-tasking world, the answer Hecht hit upon was to devise a set of components to guide show development including watching, learning, playing, collecting, connecting and user-generation.

"Any show that features more than three of those components holds promise for development; six out of six is a home run, we think," Hecht said."

Last, but certainly not least, Team Baby Entertainment.

From the Team Baby site:

"Team Baby Entertainment is the premier producer of an award winning series of officially licensed sports themed children's DVDs. The company is currently licensed by the NCAA, NBA, MLB and NASCAR. Each DVD is customized for a specific team and/or university and utilizes officially licensed footage of all team sports, mascot, marching band, traditions and landmarks and attractions. Also included is officially licensed music from the universities marching band and team theme songs to expose children to each team in an exciting and playful manner."

From Business Week:

"Operating from a tony Beverly Hills address, Michael Eisner has gone all new media, plunking down an undisclosed sum to buy Team Baby Entertainment, which makes sport-themed DVDs for children, and taking a stake in Veoh Networks Inc., an ad-supported YouTube-like consumer-generated video site that claims 4 million unique monthly users.

Eisner had originally planned to do deals with Disney. The Team Baby buy, for instance, would have been a perfect fit for his former company. After his resignation, Eisner agreed to sit on the Disney board and then realized that potential conflicts of interest would crimp his freedom. So he left the board and went out on his own. His people say more deals are coming, but Eisner is keeping mum."

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Diversion: Nicholas Butterworth

Diversion is a just out of stealth mode broadband content play.

From the press release:

"Travelistic is a property of Diversion Media, a New York-based publisher of video destination sites for niche consumer audiences, with an initial focus on the travel, leisure, and recreation categories. Diversion's first website, Travelistic, offers the most videos of any travel site on the internet, with both professional and user-generated content combined with social media features.

Diversion plans to launch several additional sites in 2007, leveraging its proprietary platform and shared infrastructure to rapidly deploy compelling, engaging user experiences in robustly profitable niches. Diversion was founded in 2004 by former MTVi CEO Nicholas Butterworth. Diversion's technology team is led by former iFilm executive Tatum Lade."


"After initially hinting that he was working on some sort of blog network, Butterworth and colleagues at his new firm, Diversion Media, launched Travelistic in late October. The site is billed as a YouTube for travel videos, with, one assumes, all the good and bad that concept brings immediately to mind."

"Beet.TV has learned that at least one online video company, Diversion Media, is using as its CDN, content distribution network. Amazon hosts the company's services and distributes video files globally."

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Second Life Ponzi Scheme v2

Wager James Au takes a look at some recent analysis of the Second Life economy.

From the post:

“Is Second Life’s internal economy a pyramid/Ponzi scheme?”— launched by analyst Randolph Harrison here, Slashdotted here, with my take here— and finally, Indiana University professor Edward Castronova has weighed in on Terra Nova, here.

So Castronova’s take on the SL economy is decidedly different:

Imagine Mayberry, in isolation, with the occasional Don Knotts figure setting up a bank… It’s not a con game. It’s a village-sized market. In fact it’s a tourist attraction-type village: the big numbers of the people you see are one-time visitors. Newcomers are arriving in droves. Land speculation is rampant. But it’s not thick; it’s tiny. Not a ponzi scheme: a little mini gold rush."

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Mark Pesce: Piracy is Good?

Yes that Mark Pesce.

From Mindjack:

"Download (using BitTorrent, of course) the live presentation of "Piracy Is Good?", delivered by Mark Pesce on May 6th, 2005 at the Australian Film Television and Radio School in Sydney. (200MB)

The advertiser is looking to lower costs in advertising; if those advertisers are paying between $250,000 and $500,000 for thirty seconds of advertising (in the United States), just a handful of advertisements would cover hyperdistribution costs.

It's a numbers game: if enough viewers watch a hyperdistributed television program, it is cheaper for advertisers to work with producers, and handle the distribution themselves. Furthermore, if the program is widely popular, it is far, far cheaper to do so. In other words, the higher your ratings, the cheaper the advertising. That's precisely the reverse of broadcast television, and one big reason that advertisers will find this model so appealing.

Although no formal surveys have been conducted, it's reasonable to assert that at least four percent of Australians, two percent of Britons, and one percent of Americans are already using broadband hyperdistribution to get some percentage of their TV programs.

Based on my own research, I have found television downloading to be widespread among men 18 to 25 years old, precisely the demographic most coveted by advertisers. In other words, the prime audience is already there, already waiting and already willing to receive. All that remains is to put the components of this new value chain into operation.

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MIT Technology Review: Joost another Youtube

Technology Review takes a look at Joost.

From the post:

"We're taking the next logical step in television," says Joost chief technology officer Dirk-Willem van Gulik. Joost, he says, combines the best parts of the television experience with the best parts of the Internet.

It's more than a fancy way to transfer files. The zippy, full-screen broadcasts and the browser allow users to change channels, search content, and receive recommendation lists. Eventually, the Joost browser will even allow software developers to create their own plug-ins. The service is free, and it's supported by one minute of targeted advertisements per hour.

Joost will compete with video services ranging from YouTube to Netflix's newly announced download service, and even with traditional cable companies like Time-Warner.

Joost also faces a number of practical and technical challenges. "The popularization of P2P content sharing via Gnutella/Kazaa has already been extremely expensive for ISPs, and the advent of Joost can take bandwidth utilization … to another level entirely," says Zhao.

The service must also prove to content providers that Joost really is a "piracy-proof Internet platform," a claim made in one of the company's press releases.

For now, the future of Joost hinges on what kind of content it is able to license and support with its advertising-based model. "

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CNET's Project Spotlight

Oh yeah, its coming hard and fast. Another corporate social media site.
From the website:

Starting in January 2007, Project Spotlight will bring groundbreaking, original web shows produced in collaboration with the best and brightest independent creators to the 15 million¹–member Webshots audience. The program hopes to enable a new wave of entertainers, journalists and artists to reach their true potential by offering technology, audience and a first-of-its-kind artist-grant program.

Project Spotlight will bring you two weekly web shows featuring your photo and video submissions. Grab your camera (or your camera phone) and get your creative juices flowing by submitting a video for one of our new shows: The Webshots Roundup features the funniest, weirdest and wildest videos from our community, and Spotlight News gives aspiring citizen journalists and people with an opinion a soap box to tell the world about the important issues facing their communities."

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MTV's Second Life

Wired has a good, long article about MTV2.3 by Mark Wallace.


"These overhyped, underperforming portals may, however, soon be overshadowed by a tiny unit within the network called Leapfrog. Its mission: Don’t try to compete directly with today’s top destinations. Instead, find the next big thing so MTV can, yes, leapfrog the competition once social networking sites start to seem so five minutes ago.

With its headlong leap into virtual worlds, MTV hopes to forge MySpace 2.0—and find its way back to the cutting edge. “It’s like the moment you went from listening to music to watching it,” Matt Bostwick, a MTV senior vice president says. “Now we’re taking it from watching the show to actually becoming the show.”

This is what Bostwick calls a “brand-new kind of media,” a fully symbiotic relationship between the small screen and the computer screen, between the network, its audience, and its advertisers. It’s not just that MTV wants to get its viewers pushing virtual-world content back out to television. In the Leapfrog model, the virtual world becomes an equal partner. Your experience there isn’t secondary to a TV show or video rotation; it is the show, and it is the rotation.

This year, the Leapfrog team will roll out a “music world,” a new 3-D social space that replicates hip clubs in Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Lower East Side. “Your social status in this world might be based on how early you discover new bands and share them with others,” Yapp says. Do well enough and you can become a virtual promoter, programming music at in-world clubs. Up-and-coming bands will also be able to do virtual gigs in-world, and Yapp suggests that exposure in the CG realm could eventually land them a spot on MTV. That’s a lot better than hoping an A&R guy finds your song on MySpace."

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Bear Stearns Long Tail Presentation

I missed this when it came out but its worth a look.

Bear Stearns:

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Google vs. Second Life

Ilya Vedrasko takes a look at how the Google virtual world rumor might affect Second Life.


1. "If Second Life wants to survive, it needs to open its tech and let people host their own sims (islands), much like they host websites now. Maybe it can package and sell its own "operating system" and charge money for that, and for having the off-grid sims integrated into the world to allow teleports. There's also a need for an external editing tool for 3D objects."

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Apollo: Not just the Commander of the Pegasus

TechCrunch reports on the soon to be released Apollo platform from Adobe.


"For those who aren’t familiar with it, Apollo is a cross-platform runtime that is still in pre alpha and allows developers to build applications for the desktop using web technologies including Flash, HTML and PDF. While Web 2.0 has prominently declared the desktop dead, its demise has been greatly exaggerated which is why I implore you to take a look at Apollo.

Mike did an interview with Adobe senior vice president and chief software architect Kevin Lynch about Apollo over on TalkCrunch and I recently interviewed Mike Downey, the Sr. Product Manager for Apollo. I also interviewed Kevin Lynch himself about Apollo earlier this year.

So as entrepreneurs and developers, you need to be aware of the potential impact of Apollo. The desktop will see the same creative infusion that the web once did, but with more features and with the web’s most ubiquitous display formats (HTML, Flash and PDF). Early adopters to the platform have the potential to reap a bonanza and bring about the gold-rush like mentality that swept the web.

Is someone going to figure out how to serve AdWords on the desktop with Apollo’s online/offline capabilities? Is it a new way to deliver rich media? A killer solution for email that spans web and desktop and integrates IM or VoIP? A new way to tie customers back to online properties?"

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Bill Gates: Five Years, that's all we've got

In another big Davos speech, Bill Gates proclaimed that the internet would revolutionize television in five years.


"I'm stunned how people aren't seeing that with TV, in five years from now, people will laugh at what we've had," Gates told business leaders and politicians at the World Economic Forum.

In the years ahead, more and more viewers will hanker after the flexibility offered by online video and abandon conventional broadcast television, with its fixed program slots and advertisements that interrupt shows, Gates said.

"Certain things like elections or the Olympics really point out how TV is terrible. You have to wait for the guy to talk about the thing you care about or you miss the event and want to go back and see it," he said.

"Internet presentation of these things is vastly superior."

"Because TV is moving into being delivered over the Internet -- and some of the big phone companies are building up the infrastructure for that -- you're going to have that experience all together," Gates said."

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Youtube to Pay Submitters: Linkfest

Chad Hurley spills the beans at Davos.

Jeff Jarvis:

From the BBC:

"YouTube founder Chad Hurley confirmed to the BBC that his team was working on a revenue-sharing mechanism that would "reward creativity".

The system would be rolled out in a couple of months, he said, and use a mixture of adverts, including short clips shown ahead of the actual film.

But he confirmed that the various features would be rolled out one by one over the next few months.

"There won't be one big release," he said.

The audience of the YouTube website will not have to put up with overly long "pre-roll" adverts. Mr Hurley said a clip of three seconds length was one of the options, although the details had not been worked out yet."

Youtube interview:


"If you are Revver or Metacafe1, then it has to be the happiest day of your tiny life. YouTube2, the 800-pound gorilla just validated your business model by deciding to pay their3 creators, a cut of the advertising action.

If you are Revver or Metacafe, it is also the worst day of your life, because now a deep pocketed incumbent is going to play havoc with your business model, and hope to run you out of town."

John Battelle:

" If you want to use YouTube to establish your brand, the way, say, the Coke and Mentos or Ninja guys did, will Google require that you cut them in for using the YouTube platform to do that? Will it ban other kinds of ads, ads competitive to its new units, that creators have inserted into their uploaded videos?

What about videos which are, in essence, entirely ads, like the Dove Evolution phenomenon? The Dove folks LOVED that success story, but YouTube didn't make a dime on it( and the agency folks who made the ad aren't quite sure how they'll get paid as well - they usually make money on the media buys, after all). As for denying competitive ads, the precedent is certainly there - AdSense bans competing ad platforms.

Financial Times:

"Speaking on the fringes of the meeting, Mr Hurley told the Financial Times YouTube had not yet decided how large payments to users would be, but highlighted Google’s rapidly growing advertising revenues. “Google has a large pool,” he said. YouTube has received subpoenas from several media groups, concerned that its audience has loaded illegal copies of their content on the site."


"If YouTube can deliver a bigger audience, a better sense of community and a good revenue sharing platform, then many of these sites will be left for dead. First to go, in my estimation, would be Revver, which relies entirely on this revenue sharing. Revver could stay afloat if YouTube doesn’t immediately deploy ads in embedded players, but eventually this is bound to happen - perhaps Revver will sell before then."


"The caveats about this vaporshare “news” from Hurley: if and when it happens, the offer would apply only to people who own the full copyright of the videos that they are uploading to the YouTube website, Hurley added in an interview with the BBC, but of course that is an obvious thing to say. It will be an ad-share, with very short pre-rolls...a clip of three seconds length was one of the options, although the details had not been worked out yet."

Will Video for Food:
  1. "You’ll get a tiny fraction of a penny per view. Maybe a few bucks per thousand views you get. It will not matter how many videos you have. Just how many are viewed.
  2. It won’t be retroactive. When it starts, you’ll start earning based on views from that date forward."

Consumer Generated Media:

  1. Growth of a New eBay-Style Cottage Industry
  2. News Spread Faster, and Gets Edgier
  3. Garbage Collectors and Video Spammers Find A Meal-Ticket
  4. More Dedicated Surveillance of Brands
  5. Complications With "Co-Creation" or "Create Your Own Ad" Models: Think Super Bowl
  6. Higher Bar for Brands Rewarding Consumer Contributions, Ideas, or Feedback
  7. Indirect Product Placement & Brand Counter-Attack
  8. Greater Need for Disclosure
  9. Re-engineering the School "Back Sale" -- Charity and Fundraising
  10. Rich Rewards for Many, Soul Searching for Many Others

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Super Deluxe's John Buzzell and Jim DiStefano

Thanks to a Metafilter thread I found this interview of Super Deluxe's John Buzzell, VP of Product Development and Jim DiStefano, Community Director.

From The Apiary:

"Jim: Thanks for the kind words. We're excited about Super Deluxe too. We began brainstorming in late 2005. Product development started soon after and content development kicked off in Summer '06.

The core product team was led by John Buzzell, and consists of Todd Dominey, Robert Occhialini, and myself. This team was responsible for the design and development of Super Deluxe.

The elephant in the room with all broadband networks is: How do they make money? Quality doesn't come cheap, and it sure seems like a lot of time and money went into the site. Is there pressure to be immediately profitable?

John: Broadband programming is strategically very important at Turner, so management isn't pushing us too hard for short term financial results. It's important that we stay true to our artists and the brand we're trying to build. This is reflected in our 'soft launch' strategy. Instead of going for broke with a huge media buy, we're confident enough to let things spread virally--the way that anything good grows on-line.

Besides the videos, what are some of the other features with the site that are worth checking out?

Jim: Well, we're certainly not trying to out-do other social networking sites, but we recognize that people communicate that way, so we didn't want to hold them back. Super Deluxe's social network is built to allow like-minded comedy fans to find each other and share their favorite artists and videos. Our artists and advertisers are active members of the community . Cross-pollination is encouraged, and it's already happening in some spots. It's great to see."

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

CBBC World


"A virtual world which children can inhabit and interact with is being planned by the BBC.

CBBC, the channel for 7-12 year olds, said it would allow digitally literate children the access to characters and resources they had come to expect.

A spokesman said: "This kind of cross-platform broadcasting is becoming the norm for people who have been born into the digital world.

"It will give children a chance to move around a safe, secure world where they can not only interact with familiar characters but have an opportunity to make that world a more fascinating place with their own imaginations."

It is expected to go live in the summer with a full launch in the autumn to coincide with the CBBC relaunch.

BBC children's controller Richard Deverell said: "CBBC World is a good example of the way we need to go."

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The Local Web

In his ongoing analysis of Local TV, Terry Heaton's latest work is titled, "The Local Web."

From the post:

"But if local TV is about local advertising, to where will local advertisers turn in a world of diminishing relevance for broadcasting? This is a question of profound implications, but it's one that ought to give all local media companies hope for the future, for the real growth in internet advertising over the next decade will be at the local level. And the evolution of local media on the web will, once again, be about the evolution of local advertising.

Key to the development of a local online ad market is the identification of the local web, and this offers a remarkable opportunity for those willing to explore this territory today. In the not-too-distant future, everyone will have access to the local web, but this access is unavailable today, because the database hasn't been created. It exists in bits and pieces, but no technology can replace the human research necessary to build the initial database. This is a task that will pay huge dividends to the one who creates it, market-by-market, and there's no reason this can't be done by a local media company.

Local advertisers want to reach local consumers, and historically, this hasn't been easy online. The web offers so many options and so much flexibility that the numbers of users at the local market level just haven't been there to make an advertiser-driven business work. Technology is changing this, however, because the web — and especially in the Media 2.0 world — is much more about direct marketing than it is mass marketing. If advertisers know where local users have been, they can reach them anywhere they might go."


Many Eyes

From O'Reily Radar:

"IBM today announced Many Eyes, a site for sharing and commenting on visualizations. Martin Wattenberg, who developed the original version of the treemap we use for our book market visualizations as well as the awesome baby name voyager, and Fernanda Viegas, who worked with him on the equally awesome history flow visualizations of Wikipedia, are the geniuses behind this project.

I asked Martin and Fernanda how they compared themselves to swivel, and Fernanda replied:
You also asked if we see our site as "Swivel for visualization". That phrase isn't quite accurate (any more than Swivel is "Many Eyes for data" ;-). Both our site and Swivel are examples of a broader phenomenon, which we call "social data analysis," where playful, social exploration of data leads to serious analysis. At the same time the two sites fall on different ends of a spectrum. Swivel seems to have some neat data mining technology that finds correlations automatically. By contrast, we've placed our emphasis on the power of human visual intelligence to find patterns. My guess is that both approaches will be successful because social data analysis is a powerful idea.

Martin added:

In Many Eyes our goal is to "democratize" visualization by offering it as a simple service. We also think that there's something special about visualizations that gets people talking, so we placed a big emphasis in design and technology to let people have conversations around the visualizations."
From the site:

"Many Eyes is a bet on the power of human visual intelligence to find patterns. Our goal is to "democratize" visualization and to enable a new social kind of data analysis. Jump right to our visualizations now, take a tour, or read on for a leisurely explanation of the project.

All of us at the Visual Communication Lab are passionate about the potential of data visualization to spark insight. It is that magical moment we live for: an unwieldy, unyielding data set is transformed into an image on the screen, and suddenly the user can perceive an unexpected pattern. As visualization designers we have witnessed and experienced many of those wondrous sparks. But in recent years, we have become acutely aware that the visualizations and the sparks they generate, take on new value in a social setting. Visualization is a catalyst for discussion and collective insight about data."

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Second Life Cycle

Rupture Live

From Mashable:

"Rupture provides a download that pulls all your stats from the game and automatically updates your profile - the “Rupture Profiler” only works on Windows for now. I’ll need to actually hook it up to a WoW account to get the full effect (you’ll need an invite to do so), but the first impressions of Rupture are excellent. However, there is one thing that seems to be missing: real life photos of the users. Surely seeing the face behind the character is part of the appeal, or perhaps I’m out of touch with the needs of the average WoW user? "

From the site:

"Rupture connects you with the real people you play with online. Rupture allows you to automatically publish your character and guild profiles, share pictures, chat with friends and recruit new people to play with.


A Real Pop

Ouch: made me laugh out loud...


Second Life Pyramid Scheme

Vallywag seems to have it in for Second Life. Today's post quotes a financial markets analyst who tried to do some currency trading.

From the post:

"So given that:
  • One cannot profit at greater than the risk-free rate of return for investments into Second Life;
  • "Virtual labor" performed by the denizens of the game on their various Second Life business projects is always compensated far below the real-world USD equivalent;
  • SLL are effectively illiquid beyond small volume trades --
What you're left with is lots of people putting USD in, and a small group taking those USD out, leaving the rest with no financial claims on anything - just an imaginatively sexy avatar.

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TV for the Upwardly Mobile Crowd

From Reuters:

"The report by Nielsen Analytics, a unit of market research firm Nielsen Co., found that Internet broadband "expands the market for programming by offering the potential for watching shows at the office, and in non-traditional locations, such as coffee shops equipped with WiFi connections."

"Video on PCs and iPods actually is expanding the audience for broadcast and cable programs," the study said, citing data that total TV usage was at an all-time high in U.S. households at 8 hours, 14 minutes a day during the 2005-2006 TV season.

"The broadband consumer is really the sweet spot for TV -- younger, more affluent, better educated and tech savvy," Larry Gerbrandt, general manager and senior vice president of Nielsen Analytics, said in an interview.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

"The study concludes that programers have the opportunity to create new revenue models to benefit content owners and their affiliated stations," said study author Larry Gerbrandt, head of Nielsen Analytics. "With broadband streams, for example, fast forwarding through commercials can be disabled making it more likely the consumers will watch the spots and possibly interact with them."

"Ad models can be customized and managed in a broadband environment," Gerbrandt said. "Interactivity can be embedded into the program in such a way as to enhance engagement which does not take viewers away from the enjoyment of the program."

At the same time, the study affirms that viewing video on broadband platforms has not come at the expense of traditional TV watching for many viewers. Household television usage has climbed consistently by more than an hour per day during the past decade, peaking at an average of more than eight hours a day during the 2005-06 TV season."

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sundance New Media

CNET is covering Sundance and has a post up about the future of the internet as a distribution platform.


" Joining moderator Kara Swisher of The Wall Street Journal on the panel were Brightcove Internet TV CEO Jeremy Allaire, founder Mark Jeffrey, Battlestar Galactica Director Michael Rymer, CEO Steve Starr, marketing executive Shawn Gold and YouTube Chief Marketing Officer Suzie Reider.

"There's a world online that's akin to Sundance," as far as distribution and building audiences goes, said Revver's Starr. "I can't tell you in three or four years what will be popular online, but I can tell you their entire business will be online...We're all in an experimental process. We are all trying to find the sweet spot."

Allaire, for one, doesn't see filmmakers making a living off distributing their content online. "Fundamentally, (the Web) is a marketing platform," he said."

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Get A First Life: Liden's Response

So the got passed around fairly quickly. Its funny, timely and as good as the one Blair did two months ago but wouldn't publish.

The best thing about this story is Linden Labs' response.

Second Life Insider:

"Linden Lab, however, proves once again that it is not your average company. In their response

to the parody site, the company reminds us that they are "a company with enlightened and well-informed views regarding intellectual property rights, including the fair use doctrine, open source licensing, and other principles that support creativity and self-expression." concluding with, "your invitation to submit a cease-and-desist letter is hereby rejected."

On top of this, Second Life granted the right to use the modified logo in t-shirt sales on the site. It is exciting to see a company embracing its community as fully as Linden Lab has done by not only enabling their customers to express themselves in SL, but in RL as well."

Here is Blair's:

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Monday, January 22, 2007

The Second Life Goldmine: Sam Palmisano

CNNMoney gets some money quotes from Sam Palmisano, CEO of IBM.


"By early January more than 3,000 IBM employees had acquired their own avatars, and about 300 were routinely conducting company business inside Second Life. "The 3-D Internet may at first appear to be eye candy," Palmisano writes in an e-mail interview, "but don't get hung up on how frivolous some of its initial uses may seem." He calls 3-D realms such as Second Life the "next phase of the Internet's evolution" and says they may have "the same level of impact" as the first Web explosion.

But what's beginning to catch the attention of IBM and other huge corporations is something potentially far more profound than a new online pastime. It's the ability to use Second Life as a platform for a whole new Net - this one in 3-D and even more social than the original - with huge opportunities to sell products and services.

In essence, (Linden Lab's) customers are renting space on the 1,750 servers that store the digital representation of the land. One of the biggest landowners is IBM, which rules over 24 islands. Since Linden revamped its business model to focus on real estate, users and revenues have grown at least 10 percent every month.

Easier said than done, of course. Metaverses will become a very competitive field, says Irving Wladawsky- Berger, vice president for technical strategy at IBM. These are just the earliest days of exploration, and needless to say, the outcome is anything but certain. "Today," says Wladawsky- Berger, "virtual worlds are where video and VCRs were in the early 1980s, or where the Web was in 1993."

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Digital Kids: Generation We

"You" and "We" are getting play. CNET has an article about how children view technology and media.


"When Amy Jo Kim's 8 year old son Gabriel says he wants to "watch videos," she knows he doesn't mean DVDs or television. He wants YouTube.

"He finds TV boring. So during Reading Rainbow we look up stuff on Wikipedia like side commentary. But I'm driving that," said Kim, a 40-something game designer and resident of Half Moon Bay, Calif. "His interest in TV has really declined, because it's just there, you can't customize it."

"What we're talking about is a generation that has the ability to be in touch with each other immediately at earlier and earlier ages," said Nancy Robinson, vice president and consumer strategist at Iconoculture, a Minneapolis company that tracks consumer trends for consumer giants like Nestle and Sony. "If you asked someone 10 years ago about the necessity of a cell phone for a 5-year-old, they would have laughed and walked away; now you can buy that at Target."

"Driving home we'll see a bird," Kim said, "and then go to Wikipedia (at home) and look it up. Then once we're online, he'll say, 'How about we go to YouTube?'"

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Red Bull's Dropzone in Second Life

I knew this was going to happen soon and Red Bull was probably the most obvious brand to do it.


"Virtual world services company Rivers Run Red forwards a press release from Talpa Digital about the DropZone project the two are producing in the virtual world of Second Life. Covering four SL regions, DropZone will host a festival stage, virtual skydiving, an area for viewing television programs piped into the virtual world, and a nightclub called Mundo, which will be the virtual arm of the Dutch dating site of the same name."


"DropZone consists of several components. Key will be the festival terrain which hosts a large stage and video wall to screen concerts. The stage offers artists a ‘physical’ presence in the shape of an avatar, which enables interaction with users and visitors.

Besides performances, the festival terrain hosts a number of other attractions including virtual skydiving. Red Bull will use DropZone for the opportunity to introduce their athletes in a live chat with their fans and to stream extreme sport events.

Another area being developed is the Tune in Area, the largest living room in Second Life. TV lovers can watch numerous shows relaxing in huge chairs and sofa’s while discussing the show that is being watched."

I tried to find something about it on the Red Bull site. What is going on there? Wow.

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AOL in Second Life: Jaymelina Esmele

AOL joins the rush into Second Life.


"The company's Second Life section will be called AOL Pointe. AOL is accepting applications now for the Pointe test program at the company's beta site.

With this, AOL will dip its toes in the virtual world space, which is generating a lot of buzz lately thanks to popular services like Linden Research's Second Life and Cyworld's Cyworld.

AOL Pointe will feature different sections, such as an amphitheater and an extreme sports park, in which the company plans to highlight AOL content and services like AOL Music, Moviefone, TMZ, and, an AOL spokeswoman said. AOL will use Pointe to also try out new features and research how they are received by users. The beta test will take place within Second Life and is slated to start in the next week or so, she said."


"AOL is dipping its toes in the nascent virtual-worlds environment for research reasons, but we clearly don't consider this a significant project for the company," AOL corporate communications representative Jaymelina Esmele said.

The company expects AOL Pointe to have three main areas: an amphitheater, an extreme-sports park and something called Hollywood Pop-Land. Some of AOL's more popular brands, such as TMZ Productions and, will be highlighted in the virtual space."

Jaymelina, meet Susan.

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Online Video Ads: How to

Lost Remote summarizes a study by Dynamic Logic on how to make effective online ads.

From Lost Remote:

1. "Still delivered a compelling message with the sound off
2. Made the brand central to the creative (straightfoward)
3. Offered links to additional information online
4. Made use of the companion display ad while playing
5. Fit with existing offline ad campaigns"

From Advertising Age:

"It seems intuitive, but there's a huge difference in effectiveness depending on the ad, the web-research firm reports. The top-performing ads can lead to a 37.8% lift in ad awareness while the bottom-performing ads barely registered any increase. And creating that online-ad awareness is the first step to moving the needle on other kinds of metrics, including message association, brand favorability and purchase intent."

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