Let's make TV local again

Barry Parr Posted by Barry Parr Technorati Profile

It's no surprise that local television stations are under pressure, with increased competition for local audiences from cable and the current economic...um...opportunity.

Without actually citing a source, WSJ reporter Martin Peers declares that the problem is overcapacity and the solution is to let top stations in the local market merge to "reduce overcapacity":

That means shuttering weaker stations and consolidating ownership of others in individual markets to allow for greater cost-cutting. One of the biggest costs is local news operations, which can account for between 25% and 33% of net revenues. Allowing one top station to buy another top station would spread such costs across a bigger revenue base. Regulators might consider relaxing ownership limits given the industry's parlous state.

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The Joost App for iPhone - product strategy ahead of its time

Joost has produced a free iPhone app that brings the glory that is Joost -- videos of an oily Britney Spears, classic Star Trek reruns, and interviews with barely-clad Victoria's Secret models -- to the iPhone.

I've posted about this on my blog, you can read the whole post here. My overall take is that this not really about mobile video. It's about the future of video product strategy. I wrote:

“Many devices, many services” is the future of video. It requires the use of an open platform and open protocols. Joost, which got its start as a P2P video delivery mechanism, has since opened itself to wider consumption by going straight IP. Once it speaks IP, Joost can easily be ported to any IP device, including the iPhone. Including the T-Mobile G1. And so on. It has been so successful on the iPhone so far that it’s regularly in the top 10 free applications on the iPhone App Store.

I go on to explain what happens next. This kind of open-development platform has to be put on the TV set-top box. This is in stark contrast to what happens now. But in the end, this will change the way devices are made, services are provided, and consumers experience media, all thanks to what is a real revolution in product strategy. Can't wait.

How Sling.com fits into long-term product strategy

I've been asked by a lot of reporters in the past few weeks whether Sling.com -- Sling Media's online video Website in the US featuring content from Hulu, CBS and many others -- is something they should cover. I don't envy reporters who aren't specialists in media technology, they really have a hard time knowing whether a specific site, application, or device, matters. In the case of Sling.com, it was particularly confusing to the lay reporter because it almost appears like a shift in business model. As in, "Oh, no, the Slingbox isn't selling well, let's get into the online video business!" I had to reassure reporters that in fact Sling.com makes good sense for Sling. In fact, it's part of a secret plan.

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NokiaWorld: Distracted by the N97 Flagship

by Ian Fogg

Everyone appears to have spent the last week discussing Nokia's new flagship N97 phone. But it's far from the most significant announcement.

Why? The N97 will be premium priced and won't be the only handset to feature a touch screen from Nokia, or the new 5th Edition Series 60 Symbian OS.  The N97 isn't due to ship until mid-2009 by which time it will face improved competition. The current models that commentators have compared it with in the last week are a red herring. Against mid-2009 rival handsets the N97 will look less strong.

The N97 is important as a part of a bolder overall strategy by Nokia and is not the entire story in itself.

The mid-range will be the new mobile Internet battleground in 2009:

Samsung (especially), LG, SonyEricsson and Motorola are already pressing into Nokia's traditional mid range strength. At some point, Apple will extend the iPhone range with lower priced models as it did in the past with the iPod Mini, Shuffle and Nano. This will open a new front onto Nokia's heartlands. RIM is already targeting consumers with cheap'ish Curve's and consumer-focused marketing.

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Why the Music Industry Needs Zavvi Back Online

UK high street retailer Zavvi has suspended trading on its online store, see my post on Music Industry Blog

Amazon Launches MP3 Store in the UK. First Take.

Amazon today launched, with no fanfare, their UK MP3 store. See my post on Music Industry Blog for my first take.

NOKIA: connecting people

Nokia's brand tagline is perfectly summarized in the announcements made this morning at Nokia World in Barcelona.

- launch of Nokia Messaging. The offering will launch in Q1 2009 mainly in developing countries and on S60 solutions. However, support for S40 is expected in second half of 2009. The challenge here will be to offer a really seamless integration/synchronization with existing brands and solutions (Yahoo! Mail and Messenger, Windows Live, Hotmail, Gmail, Google Talk, AOL Mail and thousands of ISPs).

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