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.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

How Not To <3 Media 2.0

Let me tie up some lines of thinking about recent developments.

What are Media 1.0 players saying to 2.0, viz the recent moves to distribute TV programmes over the www? Basically: incremental revenue streams for old business models, meet new distribution channel.

Now, I share Michael's enthusiasm, to an extent. It's a nice first step. But...

I think it's also a killer example of strategy decay; a fatally flawed approach which digs 1.0 players deeper into their competence traps.

The point is that the shift to Media 2.0 - media in an EoIP world - fundamentally inverts mass media economics. It disrupts the structure of the media industry.

Why? Because attention becomes scarce at the margin. Attention used to be like water for the media industry - cheap, plentiful, and available pretty much ubiquitously. Now, it's like oil - expensive, scarce, and subject to more and more severe shocks.

Put another way, barriers to entry have fallen; the market power incumbents could once exert is eroding; and the universe of possible substitutes, which was once nicely walled off by iron curtains of distribution, just exploded. The Berlin Wall just fell, because you can (and do) consume all your media at once.

What that means is that the www is emphatically not just another distribution channel. It requires new ways of thinking, new strategies, and new business models. Ones which are focused on allocating scarce attention - not redistributing old episodes of Welcome Back Kotter (for God's sake).

All of which brings me back to TIOTI. Why is TIOTI cool? Well, because it threatens to be the first video reconstructor. It's a lot like, which is one of the few real audio reconstructors - it can allocate your attention eficiently by giving you individualized 'casts.

This is where 1.0 players should be focusing. This is where smart venture money should be flowing. It is a huge (huge) gap in the market, which is only narrowly met by guys like (the excellent) Memeorandum.

Think about Revver for a sec. Now, I think Revver is cool. But do you think the market size is bigger for a simple microplatform like Revver, or for a reconstructor like TIOTI? Which one can exert more market power over suppliers? Which one makes media plastic and liquid? Which one controls and can extract rents from increasingly scarce attention resources?

Pretty clearly, I think the answer is for reconstructors. Now, interestingly, the real money is in vertically integrated models - a Revver plus a TIOTI, if you like. But that requires thinking about media and technology - not just either/or.

Now if I could get reruns of Manimal or Automan, then I'd be telling you how this was teh disrutipon.

-- umair // 7:42 AM // 11 comments


great post
umair - do you ever think about "quality" - if so, "let us have it"
// Blogger Unknown // 9:13 AM

as in, what makes things high-quality/not?
// Blogger umair // 9:16 AM

yes - at the post level and at the media level -

at the post level - how does quality impact the way we allocate our attention - surely this impact the total market share for the reconstructor

at the media level - do you really think that video works in a tiny format online??? I have my doubts. It may be a new market entirely but won't impact the bigger formats. Like camera-phones had zero impact on the sale of digi-cams.
// Blogger Unknown // 9:29 AM

I like your grasp on things

And have become a user of revver for about a week.

Havent made much but I feel so in position to make revenue off my work.

Will look forward to your thoughts in the future...
// Anonymous Anonymous // 1:32 PM

Great point of clarification, Umair, between the knee-jerk reaction of old media to seek yet another distribution channel, and the fundamental difference this "channel" poses.

I was just glad we got the horse to the water with the AOL/TW announcement. Whether they'll drink or not is a whole other question.


Michael Parekh
// Blogger Michael Parekh // 4:39 PM

I'm going off topic here, but have you ever read this article from a guy at the BBC?

What impresses me is the date it was written, (plus how obscure it is, I had to find it in the wayback machine, it's not available on the Wired site.)
// Blogger Composing // 5:51 PM


I'm having trouble grokking TIOTI. What is it exactly? I know this much:

"A global TV guide, Torrent tracking, your favourites and recommendations plus an innovative social layer to hang it off. You want it, we want it, let's build it."

A new way to time-shift TV more efficiently? A social recommendation system for torrents? What makes it so remarkable?
// Anonymous Anonymous // 8:02 PM

Update: I took some time to read through the Tioti blog and I think I get the significance now - let me know if I'm right on this one:

// Anonymous Anonymous // 10:04 PM

Hi Guys,

Thanks for the comments.


You are right on - that is a good post.


That article is *phenomenal*, and doubly so if you factor in the date. Amazing stuff, will link to it latre tonight.

Do you work at the Beeb?


That is an interesting question. Perhaps the fact that you are asking it tells me I haven't been framin my arguments very well.

Let me compose a post about this later tonight.


I think that is a great way to put it, actually - we got the horse to the water!!!

Now, we have to make sure he doesn't fall in (Yahoo, FIM), and that he doesn't die of thirst (uhh..almost everyone else)

...uhhh, not to strain an analogy or anything :)
// Blogger umair // 4:03 AM


That article is *phenomenal*, and doubly so if you factor in the date. Amazing stuff, will link to it latre tonight.

Do you work at the Beeb?

A : No, I'm just British, and that article originally appeared only in the short-lived UK edition of Wired. I was always surprised it didn't get more widely known though.
// Blogger Composing // 9:26 AM

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
// Blogger Composing // 12:53 PM
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