The Future of Television?

Tom Purves provides more iSummit perspective here. The sky isn’t falling just yet and there is time to adjust, thanks to the massive passives:
IBM: The end of TV as we know it

According to IBM’s thinking, the shift to open-participative media is happening but over a fairly long time-scale. I wonder. I think IBM’s forecasted 2012 future state on the above matrix underestimates the potential consumer behaviour impact of new user-friendly broadband home entertainment devices, like an Apple HDTV with integrated media-centre and next-gen FrontRow software. Usability is the technology that can suddenly change the size of these circles, for evidence, witness the iPod phenomenon.

The important strategic question for companies in the digital entertainment industry to consider is what side of this wave do you want to be on?

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iSummit Wrap-up

What Have We Learned?:

It is hard to sum up a conference like iSummit, and I certainly won’t try to summarize the various speakers – which is better done at the iSummit blog and at Gagglescape. I will try to synthesize the most remarkable of what I heard and try to put it into context with my own perspective. Other delegates will surely have very different takes on the conference, but hopefully this might kick off a post-iSummit conversation.

(Comments and trackbacks are open, and I will suggest posting or bookmarking using the tag iSummit on flickr, technorati or

A Review of Findings:

  1. the digital content world is changing rapidly (no surprise there)
  2. an emerging world of open network social media is colliding with mainstream media brands, copyright and closed network business models
  3. this moment in history may represent a transition period between two different socio-cultural periods
  4. the old forms of media will not disappear, but will be profoundly affected
  5. technology is changing the human experience of all media, the structures and dynamics of social and business relationships, the human experience of culture and the opportunities for innovation and human cultural and creative expression
  6. in this new open network social media world, the content is not king, the audience is king: it is their attention and their money, after all, that creators are seeking as rewards for their cultural expressions in a market where the playing field has been dramatically leveled
  7. the only difference now is that the audience has tools to disintermediate the value chain if any intermediary puts up too many barriers between the audience and content it finds compelling
  8. this is threatening and frightening to many in the traditional media content industries and those whose job it is to edit, filter, distribute, manage or otherwise mediate this value chain

The open network social media future has been envisioned for years, since the creation of the web in 1991 and certainly gained steam since the Cluetrain Manifesto in 1999, but lay somewhat dormant during the dot-com bust as social media (blogs) emerged in 2001. The open participatory society has been predicted for a long-time. But the rate of change has been accelerating and a critical mass of inter-related technologies is building. Some of the important technology-related shifts that are driving towards this critical mass include:

  • broadband penetration
  • mobile net ubiquity
  • commoditized processing power and storage
  • super-efficient development tools like Ruby on Rails, techniques like Ajax and standards like RSS (“Web 2.0”)
  • the social experience of the web through MySpace, flickr, blogs, YouTube, Second Life and World of Warcraft
  • the mobile experience of media and the web bringing an always-on entertainment and information culture

Some of the visible collision points of these two different waves of history can be witnessed in multiple domains:

  • open network vs. closed networks
  • passive vs. participative audiences
  • mainstream media vs. social media
  • web 1.0 vs. web 2.0 tools
  • interruption advertising vs. attention economy
  • advertiser and content-centric vs. audience and user-centric strategic orientations
  • Canadian content in domestic markets vs niche content in global long-tail markets
  • Boomers vs. Millennials: the boomers own the content, their children live in the social media world

These collisions are important early indicators of a big global shift, from an industrial/information economy to a network economy of ideas. Where are we? Is this another bubble? I think the image projected behind every panel discussion at iSummit tells the story: what we are looking at is the tip of an iceberg that none of us on our own can fully comprehend.


The elephant in the room, the questions on everyone’s lips were: What do we do? Where are the business models? What should we as a company or I as a creative professional, DO? Nobody had a complete answer for that, although many good examples were provided of money being made, business models being developed, startups being acquired and deals being struck. My thoughts after the jump…

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Continue reading “iSummit Wrap-up”

I’m going to iSummit, are You?

I’m looking forward to a very busy and interesting week. While mesh is spooling up, DemoCamp is tomorrow and iSummit starts Wednesday. I’m looking forward to hear Mullenweg of WordPress talk about social media; Michael Geist in a panel on the “Copyright Conundrum”; seeing Canadian innovators like marblemedia and QuickPlay; and in general learning more about Toronto’s vibrant and diverse digital media and video game scene. It should be fun and hopefully will provide me with more insight about this diverse and rapidly evolving space.

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