Ourmedia launches - free personal media hosting and publishing. Archive.org never ceases to impress me.
Personal media/micromedia is gonna be a very big deal - distributed economies of scale, peer production, value chain disintegration, you know the score by now.
What's interesting is that the whole notion is, I guess, so radically different from mass media that the incumbents just can't get it. This is a classic case of a competence trap: what works in a disrupted value chain is exactly what didn't
work in the old one.
Case in point: Five has just made TV downloads available - at a steep price. Their test case is Fifth Gear (a car review show), where they hope people will pay to see car reviews:
"...Managing director Ben Drury said: "Broadcasters have seen the revenues attainable from music downloads and are eager to do the same with their own content.
...Fifth Gear executive producer Richard Pearson added: "Ever since Fifth Gear launched in 2002, viewers have regularly asked whether it's possible to purchase content. It's great that we can expand the Fifth Gear brand in this way."
It's interesting that, like the dot commers in 1998, the media heads in 2005 see the Net as a 'channel' (distribution, marketing, whatever).
The point is that the Net is much more powerful than a channel: because of the new economies it offers, it can totally disintegrate old business models.
So here's a free micromedia b-model for Five, which I think would be much cooler than making bits of Fifth Gear available at 2 quid a pop. Car reviews are valuable - that much is correct. Why not let users upload their own car reviews, discuss, aggregate, rate, index, cross-reference, videolink, and publish it all, using advertising and sponsorship from the car industry to pay for it? I'm pretty sure the market size of a universe of sponsored car microreviews is much greater than the market size of Fifth Gear downloads. And as a bonus, you'll start building the kind of competences you'll need if you want to survive in the micromedia ecosystem.
I agree w/ your proposal for Fifth Gear to engage in a community-based biz model, but it doesn't mean both models are mutually exclusive. Why can't they have said microreview community while offering their own content as a catalyst for further discussion/contribution. For instance, MySpace (the new darling of the yet another social netowrking sites) has the fundamental community-based model but also provides exclusive content from independent artists. It's been working out great so far.
So I concur that Fifth Gear should create such a community but can also offer downloads as well, the critical factor is not to charge for those downloads; provide them as an initial incentive to spur community activity like MySpace has.