Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Insomnia LIVE

Welcome to Insomnia live. The 24-hour show where Damon is always the star. I got to sleep at 11:30 but woke at 4:10am today.

It's a load of fucking blind crap. I need some of that chemical stuff I was talking about the other week, maybe that'll also cure my manic depression, seizures and illogical bank heists I keep getting involved in (even though I know I shouldn't)

Quick round-up

• Have I ever mentioned I've got a bit of a thing for Sky News's Anna Jones? Everyone says she's got a "small face" but I don't think that necessarily has to stand in the way of a fruitful relationship. Anyone? Sky under-use her, she does mornings now but was great doing the analytical stuff on Sunday nights on News 24 in another life.

• North Korea may be about to test a second nuclear device ... a penis envy thing if ever I saw one

• Today's news says we're all going to be drinking treated sewage to solve the water crisis. I thought Londoners had been drinking treated sewage for donkey's years? (that's not a stupid joke, I really thought that was the case?)

• Vaughan might be moving out of hospital he told me yesterday. Good news!

Oh Mr Confectioner please ...

Dear Toblerone,

I'm quite excited about this and think you will be too.

It was my birthday last Sunday so I was given a rather large Toblerone bar. Unlike other chocolate bars I recall from my youth, I swear yours has got bigger. Is this true?

Whilst eating a chunk of your marvellous product today, I had something of an earth shattering idea I felt I needed to share with you.

Clearly you have cornered (no pun intended) the market for triangular chocolate. Well then, how about creating a circular bar to complement your range?

Just round off the triangular tips on your bar (they can hurt the roof of the mouth a little if you're not too careful actually, I don't know if your user testing has ever discovered that?) and a new bar will be born.

I've been singing in the bathroom and, it's OK: 'circular' fits equally well into your jingle which is already non-sensical, i.e. circular people, circular stteepels, bees, honey, etc. So no great marketing budget needed. In fact, I'd happily sing 'circular' in the places where 'triangular' currently appears ... if that's at all useful. I'm quite available: you can email me via this blog or call me in the office like Katie Fraser does.

I know what you're thinking. Wouldn't a circularesque Toblerone look a little like failed 80s chocolate bar, Logger? And yes, you might be right. But remember, Logger was an inferior bar with no chew even if it has the semi-circular / flat look that I envisage the new Circular Toblerone bar would have.

I do hope I have helped you out a little with your ultimate gift confectionary. To be honest there has been little innovation over there in Switzerland (I assume that's where you're still based?) after white chocolate Toblerones and those snow-capped ones you started producing for the Christmas market in the mid 90s. I don't want to use the word 'disappointed' but Christmases and birthdays are getting a little samey now that I'm in my 30s.

Yours sincerely

Damon A Rose

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Swap Shop clip

I had an email at work the other day from someone asking if Swap Shop would ever be shown again on BBC3 or BBC4 maybe. I told him that I'd recently seen a few archive editions of the show and maybe the treasured memories are better left as just memories.

I was the biggest Swap Shop fan, but, even I didn't really enjoy watching them again some 25 years later. GULP 25 years later?????

Anyhoo, playing around on YouTube earlier, I found a clip of Swap Shop where Noel is interviewing Leela from Doctor Who (Louise Jameson who went on to play Rosa Dimarco in EastEnders. I'm guessing it's an episode of Swap Shop from the late 70s.

Here's the Swap Shop video clip.

It's funny that nowadays, when we're marketing or trying to make something sound cool and modern and hi tech, we say it's 'digital' or 'high definition' or 'interactive'. In the 80s Nicam Stereo was all the rage ... but in the late 70s it was just good enough to be Multi-Coloured.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The New TV: video sharing

I thought it'd be useful to put some links up to fully explain the growing 'user generated TV' phenomenon that is being talked about right now. There are some TV stations broadcasting already in the UK, or just about to start. There are also websites ... but who knows what's what or how we'll be watching content because, to put it crudely. websites will be the same as TV in the near future anyway.


Fame TV launches on Sky in November

MTV Flux launched in September | Read Wikipedia's entry about MTV Flux

Propeller TV propelling student film makers and emerging talent up the career ladder (195 on Sky) | Read Wikipedia's entry about Propeller TV

Current TV Al Gore's much talked about station coming to the UK in 2007 | Read Wikipedia's entry about Current TV


YouTube.com - Broadcast yourself (recently bought by Google) | Read Wikipedia's entry about YouTube

Google Video

GoFish | Read Wikipedia's entry about GoFish

Read more about video sharing on Wikipedia


Related stories from newspapers and the web in the last two weeks.

Five video-on-demand site goes live

The vision thing -- A year after it was launched, YouTube is being sold for almost £900m. But what is Google buying? The world's biggest collection of pop videos and silly
home movies - or something that could change the face of policing, politics and the web? John Harris reports.

Gore joins forces with Murdochs for user-generated web/TV network -- "the democratisation of the television medium" says Gore. Current TV service to launch in UK before going global. BSkyB says deal is first step to more initiatives.

Murdoch says future is user-generated -- Speaking about Sky's collaboration with Current TV, the head of BSkyB says that the new video sharing trend will push existing production companies out of their comfort zone. "Producers have to engage with wider communities [and recognise] that it is not a fad, a niche, a blip that is going to go away." says James Murdoch.

Google nets YouTube in $1.65bn takeover -- The founders of the video website YouTube last night accepted a $1.65bn (£880m) takeover offer from Google for their 20-month-old venture, which has a big
online following but has yet to make money.

Am hoping to update this weblog entry at some stage, so if you see it reappear it's an update not a repeat ;)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Mainstream: it'll never happen.

I've had an epiphany. Well it's been building for a while.

To cut a long story short ... there is no point trying to get a disability TV show on TV any more. Not on the big mainstream channels. Whatever you might want to see as a disabled viewer isn't going to happen.

Informed realism in the way I would want it isn't going to make it before TV starts to fragment hugely and 'mainstream' as a concept dies.

Mainstream, as we know it now, isn't going to be around for too much longer. To put it another way, everybody wil be a broadcaster soon.

If you want your ideas to 'get out there' and succeed then Youtube.com and other similar sites are going to be the answer. And if you remember that the web and TV are going to be less and less distinguishable within the next 5 to 10 years, it's not going to be a geeky backroom 'sit forward' office thing, it'll be a living room 'sit back' experience.

Lets stick with YouTube for a sec. Google have just bought it for just under a billion pounds. Already they're discussing that the business model for YouTube in the future will include advertising. The suggestion is that, if you upload a video, you will receive a share of that advetising money. And so if you can get enough people to watch it, via whatever means - viral marketing, press publicity, word of mouth, blog talk, whatever - you could be sitting on a small fortune that could sustain your lifestyle as an artist. An artist with a following could make lots of money if 90,000 or 8 million people click onto their latest video.

Who will be the stars of the future? Minority markets could well drive huge numbers of hits, especially if they are starved of the kind of content they'er after on mainstream channels. That's if channels still exist. By May next year we will be saturated with dozens of new ways to download, vodcast, podcast and share television and radio. Sky, BBC, Channel 4, Ch Five and even the usually slow ITV are all developing their various Video on Demand / iPlayer models.

They may be on the net to begin with but how are we going to be consuming video in the next few years anyway? The iPod TV is going to launch next year. The new Windows Vista operating system (replacement for XP) is launched with more multimedia capability and emphasis on transmitting to your TV set. BT Vision launches this November: it's a broadband TV set-top broadband box; some are calling it Freeview plus because that's what it is - Freeview ariel TV integrated with a seemless broadband offering that will let you get Video on Demand from its servers.

Sky are buying up broadband companies like nuts. Why? Because rupert Murdoch realises now that he has a hell of a white elephant on his hands. Sky has 9 million households with ugly great dishes on their rooftops. Lots of people would like to get rid of those dishes, dishes he gave away for free! He badly needs to get into what's been dubbed 'multicasting' - TV delivered over the web (IPTV protocol for the geeks out there). You can't do Video on Demand with a limited satellite system, nor via the airwaves with current Freeview boxes.

ADSL via your phone will be the main driver of multicast / Video on Demand TV. Broadcasts from many to many unlike broadcast which is from one transmitter to many. Advertising will be a dream too on this multicast platform, direct ads for the kind of person it already knows you are based on your TV viewing habits that it monitors.

Back to the disability point though:

production companies could well soon have the upper hand over what we now see as the main broadcasters. Content is king. If you've made some content, wy do you need a channel to show it on when Video on Demand exists? Why does Endemol need to sell Big Brother to Channel 4 if it could just stream it for itself?

You could just put your home made TV show up on your own website/servers in the future. All you need to do then is get the message out there that your show exists or get it listed somehow on the electronic programme guide connected with the set-top box system you've got with BT or NTL or Sky or whoever.

The first stage of Video on Demand will be a closed circuit, BT Vision for instance will not immediately be hooking up to the entire internet from this November we think but that will have to change.

They're already talking about including YouTube players in settop boxes. Or BBC / ITV players. Who will get there first? Whose software will be king? Don't know. Will it even work like that? It'll definitely be hooked up to your main broadband connection though.

What will mainstream be? The things at the top of the electronic menu this evening?

Disability groups round the world, creative people etc, should be thinking hard NOW about possible productions. I predict lots of applications to the Arts council to make TV shows in the near future. I predict a supportive network for minority TV. I predict also that some minority TV shows will get picked up by what we now call the mainstream. The 'mainstream' broadcasters will find that current easy-to-watch bubble gum TV might be discarded in favour of very niche shows that individual viewers have heard about. The mainstream will be wanting to go niche too.

This isn't a fully worked up article, it's a stream of consciousness that I'm hoping to turn into an article soon. Am interested in any feedback from anyone on this.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ouch Podcast - stop abusing me!

This is just a really quick message to everyone who keeps emailing me both at Ouch and via this blog.

The fact that the podcast has come to an end is not down to me. There are policy reasons, good policy reasons, ones probably a bit too dull to get into, as to why we were only granted a 'trial' in the first instance. I can't really say any more than that, sorry. I'm not meant to use my personal blog for work purposes and I don't intend to start now.

All I can do is hand it over to you. I'm aware that an online petition has started - nothing to do with me - so if you want to show your support please stop emailing me at home and go and speak to the petition people.

Despite taking the flack, can I just say that it's actually really nice to know that for the last six months we've been doing something right, something really popular.