Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
umair haque  


Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Everyone Luvs the Beeb - Bandwagon Edition

Cory luvs the Beeb now too, pointing how it's been quick to embrace this round of media tech, in contrast with Hollywood's ultra-protective approach.

I think that's true, but I think the real insight is that the Beeb is probably one of the world's only true public broadcasters - independent of political influence. Consider how political PBS is in the States - Bush and his drones have given the WSJ's editorial board their own 'news' program.

The Beeb, on the other hand, can blow it's relatively ample cash any way it likes - and lately, it's been focusing on tech.

Now, there's an equally interesting point here related to content. The Beeb's content is, on average, pretty good - but I like Channel 4 better. The Beeb still plays to the mass market - Channel 4's programs are interesting to me because they play to less well served market segments.

The reason is that Channel 4 essentially has a mandate to innovate - it was chartered with the express purpose of embracing 'non-mainstream' programming.

The bigger point: I'm usually a laissez faire guy, but I think media industries call for content regulation - not in terms of obscenity, but in terms of creativity and diversity. The inevitable result, otherwise, is Fox News, Charmed, and Clear Channel - because the dominant strategy is always marketing economies of scale, and never investment in production.

Another point worth thinking (I've been thinking about it a lot lately): free culture is nice, but it's essentially a subsidy to players up or down the value chain. In this case, free culture is subisdizing a monopolist in an already enviable position - Google - because it has even cheaper access to resources it already monopolizes.

If the free culturites a la Cory and Lessig really wanted to make culture free, they'd stop subisidizing by making the entire value chain free - in this case, that means free search and distribution.

-- umair // 8:44 AM // 3 comments


Isn't search free now for the people that matter...users? For advertisers, it's not, but not being free ensures ad relevance.
// Anonymous Anonymous // 5:43 PM

Isn't search free now for the people that matter...users? For advertisers, it's not, but not being free ensures ad relevance.
// Anonymous Anonymous // 5:44 PM

Of course search isn't free for consumers. Let's think about a Google search. First, you pay the nuisance costs of viewing ads. Second, you pay an opportunity cost, of foregone opportunities to choose different search engines.

The point is that at the limit, if enough people choose Google, the evil-record-label phenomenon happens: the publisher/marketer/distributor/aggregator artificially limits product range; that is, investment in creativity and quality fall off a cliff.

Also, freeness has absolutely nothing to do with 'ad relevance'. Why should it?
// Blogger umair // 3:21 PM

Recent Tweets


    uhaque (dot) mba2003 (at) london (dot) edu


    atom feed

    technorati profile

    blog archives