Monday, November 24, 2008

Interactive TV Reinvents Itself - Nov. 20 iBreakfast

Welcome to the world of the SuperDVR - getting the show you want when you want it. It is really the convergence of IPTV, what speaker Shelly Palmer elaborates in his book TV Disrupted (version 2 is coming out shortly) in what he calls the migration from Network TV to Networked TV.

Mark Risis, TiVo; Alan Body iBreakfast; Shelly Palmer, Advanced Media; Gary Lauder, Lauder Partners

In its simplest form it just means that any video anywhere – whether Network TV, Cable, Pay-per-View or any YouTube or Internet Video can be retrieved and called up on your TV. This is where the giant screen TVs and those increasingly elaborate set-top boxes will really earn their keep.

Moreover, as you see this evolve, the convergence with mobile both as a kind of smart clicker (that’s where Bluetooth really kicks in) and as a remote viewing device for what you have overcaptured. There is also an emerging video conversation that young people are already engaged in over the internet, is as we can see from TiVo, moving on to interactive TV.
This is where TiVo is getting interesting.

For all the early hype, there is really only one company that has brought us a successful form of iTV and that is TiVo – wich is really just a vision of making a TV work like a VCR thanks to some cool software and a big hard drive. So their next steps into the future are compelling – now they are offering a convergence with broadband so you can start doing what kids everywhere are doing, looking at YouTube videos, but on your giant TV instead of a laptop. To pay for it, and all the commercial zapping that takes place with commercial TV, they are getting advertisers to offer special TiVo friendly versions of their ads that send out a banner message as they are being skimmed.

This in turn is another new frontier of the TV experience, enabling viewers to get a video shorthand of all the material they are now amassing……and this, along iwht the mobile component will be the topics we revisit when we do iTV Reinvented Part II.

VC Outlook

Alan Meckler led this iBreakfast that examined the investor outlook in a new era of financial failures. In a strange way, the last bubble and the virtual closing of the tech IPO market has insulated many investors from the fallout. They just weren't part of the public markets. On the other hand, the general climate is bad and that will tend to lower valuations dramatically. Lean and mean is the watchword and major investors like Sequioa are sending out the word to cut back - or else.

iPhone vs. Android

The iPhone still has a lot more going for it than Google's Android, but the market is excited about a viable competitor that has the ability to improve dramatically and open up the smart phone to widespread development.

Click for more on the comparison and a report on the iPhone vs Android iBreakfast.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Web 2.0 Best Practices Conference Report

Implementation of Web 2.0 concepts at companies in all sectors of the business world, was the theme of this event. Mobile became an important part of the discussion with the features of Android being compared to iPhone.

For more details visit:

Dorian Benkoil's Report

General Report

Greg Verdino's Report

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Monetizing Social Networks - iBreakfast Video Report

Report from our April iBreakfast


David Birnbaum, Takkle
Michael Lazerow, BuddyMedia
Steve Ennen, Neighborhood America

Monetizing Social Networks was a revealing event where companies shared their secrets for extracting revenue from his key Web 2.0 phenomenon. The basic challenge is that the trusted social environment of these networks makes it hard to pay of referrals or otherwise tap the interactivity of the medium.

However, since the involvement factor is exactly what makes these networks so compelling that is where these there companies have developed solutions. (As an example of this involvement factor we showed how under 30's were willing to make complete fools of themselves taking on a Zulu dancer where a generation before them would have been content simply to watch.)

The favored solution is a high involvement contest or ratings game. The extent and variations are all over the place but they call come down to this key Web 2.0 idea we call "Collaboratition" driving people to work for you by creating a competitive environment. The main thing here is that people are encouraged to spread the work and grow the campaign virally.
Brands are typically using them to expand involvement with their products and the system, according to Lazerow is forming into the next ad unit.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


March 19 - iBreakfast

Katarina Skoberne,
Nic Perkin, The Receivables Exchange
Jessica Morris,

The March iBreakfast was notable for showing how to put the world to work for you by tapping into idea marketplaces. This is not about Wiki software per se but about extracting value from the universe simply by putting it to work for you. We call it Collaboratition – motivating people to work together or against each other for a common purpose.

This is truly a revolutionary concept even though it has been talked about for a long time. What is clear now is that all the tools and public sentiment is in place for those who can think outside of conventional parameters to harness. This point is so important because it also explains why your next competitor is not likely to be your current one – since they are probably as captive as you are to conventional wisdom.

We looked at 3 companies using some form of Collab – in music, advertising and monetizing receivables. is a really good example of all of the above because it is a great way for marketers and advertisers to reach out to the world creative community for ideas. They pay OpenAd a fee of several thousand dollars and then put out a brief to their community of 10.000+ creatives worldwide and offer a prize – typically between $500 and $2000 – for a fleshed-out campaign idea. The concepts pour in. The most famous being one set up by Bono to retire 3rd World Debt. But many Fortune 500 companies like Gillette participate too.

And where does this groundbreaking company, now with offices in the US hail from? Slovenia.
Next, we looked at The Receivables Exchange, which monetizes the short term loan you give to customers when you allow them terms of 30 – 90 days. From their perspective this is a free loan which, worldwide is worth around $2.3 trillion. Now that’s a nice number!
This is often called factoring and normally, companies call their bank or a factoring company and get the best deal they can which is typically around 15-25% in annualized interest. By creating an open exchange, suddenly you have made your business opportunity available to the world and your interest comes down dramatically. Investors tend to get a very good return for their risk too.

Finally, there is, a music judging and promotion site which covers just about every genre from rap to world music as well video. It is open to all comers and has a monthly contest for around $500 in prizes in each category. The dynamics are very interesting. Aside from raising $13 million, the site has grown quickly and attracts 1.2 million monthly uniques.
Visitors are asked to judge two songs whenever they log on and here’s the secret – it is a “thin slicing” approach - you only have to listen to the first 15 seconds to judge. Naturally, that favors songs with the hooks up front, but even so, by aggregating the scores on these microjudgements, they come up with a good index of what is hot. Any musician, amateur or pro can submit and there is no fee. The site makes money through ads, selling songs and sending out the cream of the crop to record co.’s and concert organizers.

The eye-opening part is how they grew – by the musicians themselves, of course. That’s because today, every busker worth their salt has an email list and their own little marketing machine called: “emails to fans.” It can be postcards toom but you can’t beat the price of emails

So the lessons learned are: figure out who can be motivated to help you (especially ones who can multiply your message), how to reach them and how to execute with a great site. This is a key point because so much of this intangible that the IP rights are a critical issue.

The metaphor we chose to set this show in motion are UFOs and the Web, partly because, like the value concepts of Wikinomics, they have a way of popping out of nowhere and people seem hellbent on uploading these videos by boatload onto YouTube. The motivator appears to be the ubiquity of camcorders and a desire to let the world know you’re not crazy. Or is it too much Photoshop? Either way, the world works for you – you just need to figure out how to tap into it.

Other Blogs about this iBreakfast:
Why the Big 4 Labels are Dead by Ray Beckerman

Monday, March 17, 2008

Attention Surplus & The Fastest Monetized Music Site - Ever

If the record business needs a lesson in how to make money, then the former Governer of New York has one for them.

Think about it - within 48 hours of the public discovering that Ashley Dupre, the high priced call girl who took him down, was a budding singer with two moderately good hip hop songs on the 'Net, she sold something like 200,000 downloads.

This is truly a first. Hookers didn't used to sing. And if they did, they almost certainly didn't have a record contract.

Now you don't need a label and a scandal is worth more than a record deal.

The moral of the story is this is: this truly an attention economy and you have to be ready at any given time with monetizable product. We, of course, prefer you stick to more distinguished efforts but the principle is there.

More importantly, it explains why someone like Edgar Bronfman was willing to put up $2 billion for Warner Music. The record business may be dying, he said in a Daily Deal conference, but not the music business. So when an Asian star has a hit, his company has 400 SKU’s from ringtones to keychains, to sell.

The question for everyone out there is:

1. What do you have to sell at your moment of attention?

2. How do you get that moment of attention (without quite that moral turpitude?)

To be discussed at our Wikinomics iBreakfast on Wednesday, and many more to come........

Friday, March 14, 2008

Wikis & UFOs: The "Rodney King" Moment in "Star Land?"

Here I stick my neck way out and instead of focusing on Digital Media, I talk about what it has enabled.

UFO's, right? Has the power of the 'net made a difference to this great controversy?

You’d think by now that the prevalence of camcorder phones and other cheap image-capturing devices would generate a lot of videos. And with Youtube, they could be seen from anywhere in the world. No possible government or media intervention to worry about.

So, has there been a Rodney King moment? The kind where something we've been talking about for years is captured right there for everyone to see.....

Is that happening with UFO's.?

Perhaps. Not only that, but it may be happening every day.....

Top of that list is with this little picture:

This picture of a UFO over London was shown last month on the front Page of the London Sun.

This picture of a UFO over London was shown last month on the front Page of the London Sun.

On Youtube, UFO's are so plentiful and convincing that you would not have enough time to see them all in a week. Not only that, but many are shot in broad daylight or with digital camcorders that somehow pick up infrared or other parts of the light spectrum not otherwise visible to humans.

Here are a few that simply bowl me over:

The Live Turkish Broadcast

The Chinese Shakeout

Usually, it is the user reaction that sells it even though its the easiest part to fake. In any case, the highlights include great still images, video on live TV and credible-looking images over world cities. In January 2008, there were widespread reports of a mass sighting of a UFO Fleet in Stephensville TX.

Then, there are compelling documentaries with the testimony of credible people like Fife Symington, former Governor of Arizona, describing the famous mass Phoenix sighting in the 90's in a CNN special. Even video from NASA - which includes the famous "Tether Incident" displaying dozens and dozens of UFOs, are appearing, making it clear that something is going on out there.

Air Force video clips from all over the world are appearing on the 'Net. China is full of UFO Clubs and high levels of sighting are reported in Latin America.

Increasingly, these craft are being seen in formations. There just aren’t enough Photoshop hours in the day to make all of them fakes.

So the question is what’s going on?

As it happens, an old school friend who lives in Hong Kong contacted me a few months ago to answer that. The big word is Exo – as in Exo Politics and Exo Worlds and Exos of all kinds.

The short story is - there certainly are other intelligent life forms out there from other planets. Why, for heaven’s sake, wouldn’t there be? Thinking of mankind as unique has to be the highest form of self-flattery - of the delusional kind, that is.

But aside from that, these forms have technology that enables them to move at amazing speeds and at very high levels of maneuverability. They may pop in and out of other dimensions or wormholes and they can be huge - the size of several city blocks. Some are as big as a whole neighborhood.

They are usually saucer-like and some have a recognizable cut-out making them look like Pacman. But they also come in chevrons and oblong shapes.

Naturally, there have been encounters and experts have patched together a storyline from the collected reports.

Since the first major sighting in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 seems to have occurred within a few years of the first nuclear weapon, people think they are connected. The gap in time gives us an idea of how far they traveled though we think their tech may have improved so more can get here quicker. It may also be that the escalating nuclear threat could be an issue.

If they are truly here, they come at a very good time because they know how to use free vacuum energy from the universe. So there could be economic interests at play. Also, their technology is more advanced, so the military is deeply interested. They are generally more highly evolved beings using, more of their brains, and they can access telepathy. They don't seem to suggest war although they do abduct us - but only if we are willing to go through with it.

They come in what has been identified as over 50 races. Some look like us - others really don't. And there may well be a federation. Since their craft do crash and leave bodies, we have reports that their anti-immune system doesn't work well here.

So what are we to do? There really may be Star People and aliens and a Star Land - if the evidence really stacks up.

So we need to get a heads up on the other side. The government does have knowledge of them. Why wouldn't they - since they are responsible for dealing with any invasion to the land. There are reports they not only classified the races but actually kept a little colony of "Tall Whites" as they are known, in Nevada caves. These beings are a paler version of us, are intelligent, have higher consciousness and so on. However, if the Nevada story is true, then they may have been left behind in the home furnishings department.

Then there is the question: so why are they here and what should we be doing?

My friend Neil Gould, has plenty to say about this in an English language news interview.
He claims to have seen them since he was a boy. I have known him since then and can only say that even if true, he never mentioned it to me!

In any case, this calls for a conference…….Exo-Con.....coming soon!

And here's the best part about this conference we are planning - skeptics and believers pay different prices.

My question to you, dear reader, is: who should pay more, the skeptic or the believer? Who should subsidize who?

We welcome your comments. Or just the vote: skeptic or believer? Who pays more?

(C) 2008 Alan Brody

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Web Video: Is There Money to Be Made?

Report form the Feb 2008 iBreakfast

Marcien Jenckes, Voxant
John Lumpkin, Heavy Media
Bryan Thatcher, Empressr

TV may be going the way of Web Video but according to Marcien Jenckes, a former AOL exec, “TV dollars are only giving us Web Video pennies.”

So how do you make a pile of pennies, these days?

It turns out that YouTube and IPTV in general has attracted thousands of competing sites but in order to stay alive, they have had to reinvent themselves. which was originally just a destination site for young men has become a kind of media aggregator and sales that sells and syndicates young male-oriented content to its major ad partners.

Voxant redistributes high value video streams for free to new viewers who mind wind up as subscribers to the premium sites.

Empressr is a hybrid video and slideshow site that enables viewers to communicate in new ways.

For the most part, however, whatever money is being made is through advertising and there, pre-roll, those annoying ads that run prior to the video, are king.

At the end of the day, the challenge video is arbitraging the half-penny or so a stream into a profitable cpm. For many, the solution, at least in part, may come form Google's recent introduction of Adsense for Video.

Long Live the Pre-Roll (for Now)
ClickZ News, NY - Feb 27, 2008
Heavy Media's John Lumpkin and Voxant CEO Marcien Jenckes both made that assessment today at an iBreakfast program, "Web Video, Where's the Money? ...

For VideoEgg and Its Platform, Ads Trump Content Delivery
ClickZ News, NY - Feb 28, 2008
The company's shift was pointed out by Alan Brody, organizer of an iBreakfast panel discussion in New York City about the Web video business. ...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

From Barack-Clinton to Google: Could You See The Tipping Point?

Can Hillary vs. Barack teach us something about the Internet marketplace?

Everyone seems to recognize the tipping point after the fact. But can you see one coming?

My view is fairly simple – look for the bases to be somehow loaded and then watch out for something outstanding or outrageous to happen.

In politics, the bases are always loaded, so the key is: what would set your own people against you?

Right now, the Obama campaign has a tremendous momentum behind it. Coming off 11 straight victories, Obama has the upswing in his favor. But where did this momentum start? What was the tipping point?

Conventional wisdom has it that the appearance of Bill on the attack worked against the Clinton campaign.

But my view is a little different.

"Attack Bill" is nowhere near as loaded as a veiled racial attack, and I think that is where Hillary's campaign began to fall apart.

When Hillary accused Obama of working for a slum landlord, she almost instantly lost the black vote. If Obama had been deeply involved with the slumlord it would have been one thing, but his involvement was slight. People of color were asked to choose: a gender-correctness or a race-correctness. Tough, until the gender candidate did a little racial attacking; point tipped.

What can the market learn from this? Be careful about your face-offs? Know what people really think you stand for?

Let's take Google vs. a possible Microsoft-Yahoo combo. Let's forget for a minute that Microsoft is like the Giuliani candidate; we respect them, someone might actually love them, but for the most part, they're so last year.

Can anyone really take on Google? Do they have a tipping point loaded against them?

Of course, they are not running for office, but we vote with our clicks.

So here's the question – and there's a free iBreakfast in it for anyone with a good answer – what would make the market tip against Google?

My guess is that it's something that lets more people keep the money Google generates from its clicks.

Personal outsourcing at a click. More wisdom of crowd solutions……

We're going to find out at our next iBreakfast when we look at solutions that ask the world to help companies find tipping points against big problems that face them. They could be science problems, they could be ad problems, or maybe even the next big hit. But in all cases they will be about using the net and the collective wisdom of crowds to figure it out….

Look out for our "Wikinomics - Idea Markeptlaces" iBreakfast in March