UK smart research outfit, Library House, organised a pretty spiffy day conference today called Mediatech. It was held at the BFI Imax cinema and featured a great range of mainly UK presenters, their faces and slides being projected onto the massive screen at least 25 foot high. Sometimes more detail was on show than you really wanted.
Bob Young of Redhat fame kicked off with a great chat about Lulu – the superb self publishing solution that is feeding the long tail book publishing opportunity. Doug Richard, the Chairman of Library House rather uncharitably called it the biggest office printer in the world, but fortunately the audience was still impressed with the sheer perversity of Bob’s approach “I hate the advertising business model” he said, “Why? Because that’s what everyone else is going after!”.
Doug Richard who did a great job presenting, then went on to spend quite a lot of time baiting the Microsoft representative on a later panel about the complete failure of Microsoft Media Center and the lack of “meat” in his presentation. Microsoft were one of the event’s major sponsors – and so it seems they’re big enough to take it.
Future versions of TV online and offline came under the spotlight quite extensively throughout the day with an interesting Sky spinoff noone is supposed to talk about, called Miniweb Interactive Ltd and a variety of other offerings including my fave Vlog Mobuzz TV being promoted as a major platform and vehicle for expansion. Come on guys Mobuzz is great and of course we love Karina (see the results of my informal internet poll that stacked Mobuzz against Rocketboom) but a platform for content? Surely just a great format tv show at low low production prices?
Tape It Off The Internet – TIOTI is a really fun offering, providing essentially a marketplace for all available tv based content online wherever it might come from legal or not. This is a great first step towards ubiquity of TV on demand. It’s YouTube without the uploading. But the implications of a socially networked Electronic Programe Guide are more profound than the light tone that this nice little site adopts. Founded by a bluff UK graphic designer and a guy from Seattle called Paul Pod. BTW: If they produced a device to view these videos on, it would presumably be called the tioti-pod?
Prize for the cultural intellectual of the day goes to Michael Bayler (a fellow occasional WordPress blogger it seems!). His concept of the attention economy is gaining a lot of traction. Essentially it is an advertising analogy and I suspect needs more work to take it further down the road. But the concept of people “paying” attention and the need to create return not on investment but on attention is a very strong, compelling way of thinking about current forms of consumer media consumption.The point is that the question is no longer “how do I get my great content to market?”, but more “how do I reward consumers with a great experience?”. To me the notion of the experience economy, which numerous smart folk have been talking about for a while now, is very close to this and maybe a slightly more compelling metaphor. Of course the concept of “attention” relates to an obsession with “eyeballs” (and ad revenues), placing the emphasis on the concept of “experience” is more about the content and what form it takes, rather than how it is monetized. Both point in the same direction though. Whether it be experiencing a piece of content, or the UI/navigational experience of finding the content, or actually even the opportunity of being pointed from one experience to another – say a free piece of digital content ( eg: a piece of music?) to a higher quality live experience (the opportunity to hear/see/be with the band playing that music live). The currency of culture is the currency of experience. Making sure every aspect of that is right is what will convince consumers to pay or to view – not creating an environment of scarcity and control.
One of the smarter observers of the scene who was blogging at Mediatech is Nic Brisbourne of Esprit Capital Partners who blogs here. As he pointed out, London seems like it’s entering a new phase of excitement and buzziness around web entrepreneurialism which is really intriguing – given the UK mix of tech and media (particularly advertising and TV production) savvy – we’re going to see some interesting developments coming from here very soon.