The audio stream from the recent panel session discussion for PR firm Hill & Knowlton's Breakfast Bytes series is now online at Viocorp. If you want to here my thoughts on all things next-generation web/media, tune in here.
Had the pleasure of being invited on to the Podcast Network's Productivity Show last night, to chat to hosts Cameron Reilly and Des Paroz about my growing obsession with using Instant Messenger as a business tool. But hating the sound of no ones voice as much as my own, I haven't tuned in yet to hear how I went (and it really is so much easier to be the one asking questions).
The discussion hit some interesting points though, and got me thinking about the notion of presence and the way that disclosure of our location and activity changes the way that people interact with us. With the telephone, you never know whether the person you are calling is going to be able or willing to take the call until you place it. The same goes for text messages. With IM, if my presence indicator is lit and clear in someones buddy list, it's pretty clear that I'm free and willing to be contacted - or at least willing to accept the odd 'Are you free?' ping.
Wouldn't it be great if you could have a buddy list on your phone that told you the status of the person you were able to call? You could know ahead of time if their phone was off, and decide whether to leave a message. Likewise, the phone could be set to tell you that its owner was in a meeting, and unavailable for an hour. It would not be impossible even to have the phone tell you if the person was overseas, and that your call was likely to reach them at 3.00am local time. Or it could even tell you that its owner was in a foul mood and better left undisturbed for the next few hours ...
There have been some attempts to integrate IM with mobile telephony, but nothing compelling has yet emerged to make people rush out and equip themselves with this new functionality. But it is likely that as phones evolve and get smarter, this sort of functionality will come.
Last Wednesday I had the chance to interview the Chief Technology Officer for Motorola, Padmasree Warrior. Part of the discussion centred on how Motorola is working on ideas around presence and how the phone will be able to adapt to different scenarios. Warrior wouldn't be drawn into to many details, but maybe my ideal isn't that far away. Anyway, that story will be in the technology section of next Tuesday's Australian newspaper.
Article in Next section of The Age and SMH - caught up with expatriate Aussie entrepreneurs David and Kelli Fox, creators of the Astrology.com business, while I was in the US last year. The intrepid couple has embarked on their second tilt at the dot-com dream (which netted them a tidy sum of money last time around), again focusing on astrology. Of course, these things are never smooth sailing, and this time the lawyers have gotten involved ... you can read all about it here.
Interesting to read during the week that sales of Australian PC magazines are having trouble holding on to their readerships. Interesting also to hear that several editors believe that the decline is due to the general state of the economy. I'm not really sure how this can be - consumer confidence and spending is still high, the employment market is great, and the economy is growing. Things have certainly been a lot worse than they are now.
Perhaps there could be another factor at play. The ongoing rise of web-based information sources, particularly blogs and podcasts such as Engadget and This Week in Tech, are providing plenty of alternative sources of information for consumers. The emergence of new media forms is especially troubling for technology publications, as their readers tend to be those who are themselves the most tech-savvy, and also the early adopters of new media forms. If any group within publishing is going to be hit first by a transference of readers (and then advertisers) to new media forms, it will be the technology trade press publications.
This doesn't mean that the future is all doom and gloom. Ultimately, trade press publications are 'content', just the same as the new online media forms that they compete with. In recent months there has been significant activity among publications to move into new areas, particularly blogging. While these forms may not yet be as revenue-rich as print publishing, with online advertising set to overtake magazine advertising in two years, it seems that the revenue is going where the readers are going.
My latest Turbulence column from the marketing magazine B&T, this one looking at the impact that podcasting is having on traditional radio broadcasting, as well as the new opportunities that it is creating for branded content from non-traditional media companies. You can check out the unsubbed version of the article Download bt_column_podcast.rtf , or if you want to check out some of the content discussed, visit The Podcast Network, dance music community Inthemix, or to see what radio broadcaster Austereo is doing in response, go to 2DayFM's website and have a listen.
Have just returned from a weekend in sunny Adelaide. My main reason for heading down was to attend the 12th annual Awards of the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA). Hosted by the Academy Award winning animator Adam Elliot (aka Harvey Crumpet), the AIMIA Awards celebrate the diversity of Australia's interactive and multimedia industries (disclaimer - I am also a director of the AIMIA National Executive). Congratulations to all involved, the night was fantastic. And congratulations too to the winners across 21 categories, including industry stalwart Tom Kennedy, who walked away with the Outstanding Contribution award. For a full wrap-up of the event, click here.
Ever gone out and bought a new album on the basis of hearing on single on the radio? Most likely yes. Sucker.
For years, record companies have been pumping out albums that have essentially been a couple of good singles surrounded by the musical equivalent of polystyrene foam. True, there are a number of popular bands out there that can still produce 10 decent tracks (U2, Jamiroquai and even Madonna are recent examples). But for more mediocre acts, the CD has been a somewhat cynical means of sucking extra dollars out of fans who are too faithful (or dimwitted) to realise that it doesn't get any better than what you hear on the radio.
The world of musical downloads changes things though. No longer does a record company need to record 10 songs and package them on a CD. Songs can be released almost as soon as they are recorded. If they need to be released on CD, then bring in Some Faceless DJ to create four remixes, and hey presto - the CD single is ready to roll.
Anyway, this rant was sparked by some data I got from a friend over at online music retail service provider Soundbuzz. In terms of music downloads, on average, the company sells 56 singles per CD. The numbers are skewed at little by China, where 117 singles are sold per CD, but in Australia the ratio is still 40:1, and in the world's largest music market, the US, it stands at 34:1. OK - it is fair that music purchasing online is a different behaviour to that of buying from a shop, but I don't think anyone will argue about which direction the swing is heading in.
The public relations company Hill & Knowlton has asked me to join a panel discussion they are hosting next Wednesday morning (March 8), discussing 'Web 2.0' and the vagaries of what is often labelled 'new media'. Also on the panel will be AIMIA CEO John Butterworth, 3rd Space CEO Colin Caldwell, and Pandora Squared founder Kevin Leversee. If you've any interest in what we might say (or simply knowing whether I can string a sentence together at 7.15am) then hit the website to register your interest.