Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Media futurology

At the end of our day at work we had a meeting about the future of broadcasting and media. It was really fascinating and delivered by a really interesting bloke called Tom Loosemore. I was actually quite gripped by what he had to say and what interested him personally.

I'm quite tired now so, as per last night's post, I'm just going to jot a few things down and work them up into bigger blog entries some other time. I'm sure I will.

There was a fair bit that I knew about already, technologies I'd already heard about. But I learnt a few buzzphrases that I'd never come across before ... and he had developed a few concepts that I only had half a grasp on.

Let me try and put some brief notes down.

* Network Media -- this was the term he kept using for the new media age we are in. Not a standard broadcast system any longer, not 1-to-1 broadcasting from studio to one person's living room direct. Network media, richer media, media that is contributed to by many. From many to many as opposed to 1-to-1. Multicasting I think is a term that fitted into this model too.

* Collaborative Broadcasting -- also known as social broadcasting. This was interested. The way he explained it all was thru a logical progression that I'm not sure I have the energy to repeat right now (checks time: 10:25pm). He started off by talking about TiVo and Sky Plus. The fact that we timeshift programmes. Storage is much cheaper now and he told us that for 3.5k they had manufactured a TiVo type technology that would be able to record and store 9 days of output from all of the BBC's 8 channels.

Every 18 months, storage media halves in price, I think he said. Hard disks are able to hold more and are much smaller and cost less, essentially. It could well be that soon we will just be able to record absolutely everything ever broadcast and we'd be able to dip into it. But then, the EPG and the way we sort out what we want and what we choose to watch will become all the more complicated.

EPGs will have to change to accomodate this. But how are we going to find stuff we like?

The answer is Collaborative Broadcasting.

it works like this. Lets take an iPod / music model to base the example on: Using iTunes download playlist, or sharing of your Microsoft Media Playlist, the Collaborative Media system would find other peoples playlists that have the same tunes on it. It would then share the other tunes on the new person's playlist with you so that you would find new content via other people who like similar content to you. It would be like a virtual recommendations list, my words not Tom's. So you'd be drawing on like-minded people on the network for further media consumption ideas and content.

You can see how this might also be adapted to a TV model or other media.

Tom Loosemore also talked about: taking new tv shows off the net using things like Bit Torrent. He said that he used a website called UK Nova (something like that) to watch a TV show. Later he realised that he didn't even know what channel it had come from. It was BBC4 but, despite the Digital Onscreen Graphic branding, in his head he had taken it from UK Nova. He made a great observation when saying "Peple often say they found something on Google. Actually Google doesn't have any content on it." He was talking specifically about the BBC and how, in the future, the licence fee payer could be disconnected from the BBC and their individual financial input (licence fee money) which could cause interesting dilemmas.

He mentioned the Sony Star Wars Galaxy game and the fact that communities have sprung up within this online game. They meet at designated times in one of the Cantina bars and put on shows, dances etc. He showed us a chumbawumba video put together by dancing from this. I'd explain further but I'm loosing consciousness.

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