BBC Web API (beta)

What’s the future of television? Yes, delivering tv via the Internet makes a difference. Like, uhm, the difference between cable, satellite and terrestrial tv – if you just think about the web as just another distribution channel. But te fun part starts, if you take networking more literally. The BBC, mother of all tv networks, is now at the forefront again. And theyre not just opening their archives. The Beeb is sharing some data and releasing a Web API.

Want to build your own Yahoo!BBCwidget? An AJAX-EPG? The BBC Application Programming Interface delivers all the data you need. Program information, schedules, genre listings, you name it. Have just another look at the AJAX-EPG. Built using the BBC Web API and the BBC Multicast Trial, explains the header. Yes the Beeb is heavily into R&D. Because, as Terry Heaton explains, the killer app isn’t “monkey see, monkey do”.

So what, you may say? It’s just marketing material they’re offering here. But that’s what you think. Some broadcasters, like RTL Group, even stopped transmitting DVB-SI infos (which means: the EPG in most set top box won’t get any information (except the most basic like title, start and end time). Their idea: selling the data. OK. But with all due respect: That’s not the future of anything. If you want to monetize your meta data, you either aggregate everything what’s out there – or give them away. Because most likely, you lose more by not binding your audience than via peddling your meta data in 200 EUR chunks.

Via Micro Persuasion

getting YouTubed

Mark Glaser of PBS’ MediaShift did a short interview with Chad Hurley, CEO and co-founder of YouTube. The timing couldn’t have been better. The next day, YouTube received another 8 Million USD in VC capital.

For the still uninitiated: what’s YouTube anyway? Well, have some looks:
The pro’s voice. A user speaks. A user’s prank. And in their own words (huh?).

But seriously. YouTube, built as some sorts of Flickr for Videos, is most likely the best thing what could happen to video on the web. Think about it: streaming video is around since 19hundred umpteen. And nobody did ever really care. Why? Let’s start with the user experience. Proprietary players which had to be started before they started buffering the video. One of the worst offenders: Microsoft’s Windows Media Player, an unwieldy chunk of counter-intuitive interface design. With Real coming in as a close second in the jack of all media-trades category. And Apple killed of any love for QuickTime with their constant Windows nagging screens.

Secondly, serving video always came with a hefty price tag attached. Even if you didn’t need any expensive server software to get the video files out. The fastest thing to kill your business hass been: success. Serving one video is fine. Serving a million is still a major head ache. If you don’t put your stuff on sites like YouTube, Google Video, vSocial, Veoh.
What those guys achieved, Glaser puts it in the right words: There is a simple truth about video-sharing site YouTube, and an enigma. The simple truth is that this web startup has bottled up the viral video idea and made it eminently drinkable by anyone.

But what’s the enigma? It’s how YouTube will profit on its own spectacular popularity. Yup. Good question. Being VC funded or not, sooner or later you’ll have to make money. The numers are spectacular (35 million videos per day, and users upload 35,000 videos per day, with 100 million page views per day).
So what’s YouTube’s idea to monetize this kind of success?

Hurley’s answer isn’t that clear. It will be an advertising-based model. We are exploring ways to serve up relevant advertising that will benefit the viewing experience since we know a lot about each of the videos based on how they are tagged.

Sounds good. But it’s going to be hard to deliver ion this.

Let’s start with the content. 35,000 uploads a day and a staff of 23 means: It’s impossible to double check all the posted material. Actually, YouTube is doing a good job in not putting up any porn on the start page. But if you look at the numbers, most viewed means mostly copyrighted material coming out of nowhere.

Probably 90 percent of the images hosted at Flickr are genuine user generated content. Looking at YouTube, you’ll have to define “user generated” a bit laxer. Does recording a tv show snippet and posting it on YouTube already qualify you as a user generating content?

With this premise, selling advertising looks tough to me. Tagging a stolen clip with a paid for ad would definitely be a bad business move. Copyright holder don’t tend to be too amused. And advertisers most likey will shun to become an accessory after the fact.
We have been moving cautiously to ensure we don’t disrupt the goodness of the community, says Hurley. But at the end of the day it’s the viewers that decide what is entertaining whether it be user-generated content or professionally produced videos — our community is still in control and will decide what rises to the top.

Yes, at the end of the day the users might still decide what’s entertaining. But currently, YouTube et al. aren’t in the business of Flickrization of the web video space. The name of the game is napsterization. Remember: Gazillions of hapyy users. But not even a serveral million Dollar backing of a major media company could save Napster from being sued to death.
Yes, YouTube’s a great service. But, in most likelihood, not a great business model.

Via MediaShift

The Future of Applications?

Bye bye, Windows (and good riddance). Browser based apps are the hype of the day, not just since Google buying Upstartle for its word processor Writely. Every minute a new app since to get its launch. And with goowy, we finally might be able to replace the ubiquos Outlook. Or. Maybe not.
Goowy definitely looks good. And it’s a complete desktop solution, offering browser based email, calendaring, contact management and some miniature apps called minis.goowy
The interface is nice and smooth – and more or less completely Flash-based. So is it the über-Outlook, accesible from every computer all over the world? Unfortunately, the answer is: no.

First thing: Online apps are a nice thing to have. But even nicer would be a seamless combination of offline app on my machine and a 100% synchronized online version. I’m a pure notebook user. Meaning, even in the age of UMTS, WLAN and (maybe) WiMAX, unfortunatley I’m not always on. And sometimes, the data might just trickle in GPRS speed. One thing’s for sure: you don’t want to run a flash app like this.
An secondly: emails, contacts, calendaring means highly sensitive data. Who are those goowies anyway? Four friends in San Diego makes a nice story. But do I really want to hand over my live to four guys in Southern California I’ve never met? No offence, Alex, Gary, Jeremy and Sashi. Same question would apply to Larry and Sergey or anybody else who offers me to take care of everything but the kitchen sink and all for free.

Web apps are great. But please: give me a local copy of the app and the data.
Via Read/WriteWeb: Review of Goowy, a Flash and Ajax desktop suite

Golden Nonsense

The Golden Copy of the GDrive is as much of a pipedream as the the celestial jukebox of late 90ies fame. People want to have, to own, to keep. That’s why even arcane tools like Download videos from Youtube, Google Video, Metacafe and iFilm are quite popular. That’s why record sales will never completely disappear (download vouchers for DRM-crippled audio files are a decidedly unsexy present). And that’s why – nevermind any privacy issues – the Golden Copy residing on a central server is a tinny concept (a backup is something different, and not what we’re talking here).
Not to forget: ideas like that seem feasible, because storage is becoming bigger and bigger and cheap and cheaper. In about 5 years, a top of the line HD should store about half a PetaByte of Data. Great. And now show me the public network, seemlessly handling just several GB – ubiquosly.