How Joost lost its way

1 07 2009

Joost yesterday confirmed it was pulling out of consumer-facing services. Where did it fail where Hulu succeeds?

Lesson number one: when breaking a new product category, be modest, even if you were the founders of Skype and Kazaa.

Lesson number two: if you’re dealing with a media and entertainment industry sh*t scared about its future, be humble and straightforward. Suggesting that you’re about to replace television would be the wrong approach.

Lesson number three: speak a language that TV networks understand. Get them in the comfort zone and build.

Three simple reasons why Joost only had black and white episodes of Lassie and vids of girls in bikinis.

The arrogance of its founders was its principal failing.

Has BBC iPlayer traffic peaked?

18 05 2008

The Guardian reports on BT-owned U.K. ISP PlusNet’s claims that BBC iPlayer traffic may finally have levelled off. Launched last Christmas, the service has been the bête noire of U.K. ISPs, particularly those such as Tiscali which pay higher fees to access BT’s U.K. IP backbone at peak times.

The same report includes a rebuttal from the BBC, claiming iPlayer continues to enjoy steady month-on-month growth. PlusNet only accounts for 220,000 consumer and business customers, so it’ll be interesting to see what figures emerge from other ISPs during the coming weeks.

Sky Anytime rebrands as Sky Player

18 05 2008

Proving that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, U.K. satcaster BSkyB has rebranded its online video service Sky Player, in a nod to the success of the Beeb’s iPlayer. New features include live streaming of its six own-brand TV channels, as well as progressive downloads allowing immediate playback of downloaded content.

The re-vamped service, which launched in 2006 as Sky by Broadband and claims to be the first U.K. mass market TV download service, also gets tweaked navigation and some personalisation.

Sky’s mobile TV service will shortly get the Sky Player makeover too, while its Sky+ push VOD DVR service, available to 2.7 million Sky homes, will retain the Anytime brand.

BBC iPlayer bags a BAFTA

12 05 2008

The BBC’s iPlayer catch-up service picked up its first gong last night, beating co-nominees Bebo, Kate Modern and the production team behind U.K. Channel 4’s Big Art Mob to the British Academy of Film & Television Arts Craft Award for best Interactive Innovation – Service / Platform. Congratulations to all involved.

Alvin & Heidi Toffler on the future of media

5 05 2008

The seminal futurologists Alvin & Heidi Toffler on “de-massification” and other concepts mass media has been slow to embrace…


TV – the end is nigh (well, not quite)

8 04 2008

Some interesting stats on more advertiser money moving into online (no brainer), but exaggerations of linear TV’s demise are again exaggerated…

Britain is the most developed online advertising market in the world and spend looks set to overtake that for TV by the end of next year, according to yesterday’s report by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), PricewaterhouseCoopers and the World Advertising Research Centre

Last year’s 38 percent online ad growth was driven by the rising number of people online, the introduction of cheap laptops and the growing popularity of catch-up TV on the Internet through services such as Channel 4’s 4oD [have they never heard of BBC iPlayer??] – commented Reuters.

Guy Phillipson, IAB chief executive, believes a changing web audience helped, with women aged between 25-34 spending more time online than men, together with more over-50s logging on to the internet – added The Guardian.

Teenagers – those great respecters of copyright

7 04 2008

It wouldn’t be a Monday without another digital media scare story from the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper: aside from its sister newspaper’s report that video-rich services such as YouTube and the BBC’s iPlayer are melting the internet, today’s shock horror ‘revelation ‘ is that 95% of U.K. teenagers are illegally copying music. Well fancy that.

The article shares findings from a survey commissioned by industry group British Music Rights, quoting the group’s chief executive and one-time popster Feargal Sharkey as the findings painting an ominous picture for the next generation of musicians.

Yet a significant number of those naughty teens polled are sticking to tried-and-tested means of copying, such as borrowing eachothers’ CDs or recording from a radio broadcast. Brits have been doing this for decades at it isn’t the underlying cause of lacklustre performance from the music industry. Has Mr Sharkey never heard of peer-based recommendation? It might, after all, introduce his music to a whole new generation.

Mr Sharkey clearly doesn’t buy the wise words of Glenn Merrill, poached by EMI from Google last week to stop the rot at one of the world’s largest labels: “file sharing is a good thing for artists and not necessarily bad,” said Merrill. “We should do a bunch of experiments to find out what the business model is.”