Toobla in private beta

March 18, 2009

News: Toobla announced a private beta at SXSW. It’s a new platform for widgets, including embeddable videos and other content. You can sign up for the beta here.

I’ve been helping the company out and think it’s amazing.

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CBS exec Les Moonves is transforming TV, and YouTube

January 13, 2007

News: The most significant development at this past week’s Consumer Electronics Show — and perhaps the most significant development in broadcast TV for the past 25 years — was the keynote address by CBS CEO Les Moonves. Why?

Moonves this week announced deals: (1) allowing users of SlingBox to “mashup”– meaning cut and splice–CBS shows at their own pleasure, and (2) airing the best 15-second YouTube videos on CBS, the first to air before this year’s Super Bowl. Moonves has clearly embraced the Web 2.0 technologies, and intends to allow users to use CBS content in their own creations. Said Moonves, “There’s no such thing as old or new media anymore. We’re just media.” (YouTube is now even thinking of having its own TV shows and channel.)  This is on top of CBS’s current deal to run parts of shows, like Letterman and NCIS, on a channel on YouTube.

And perhaps his most important admisssion: “We learned a lot watching what happened to the music industry with Napster, and we’d like to avoid those mistakes.” (More)

Analysis: I don’t like making predictions, but a decade from now we may look back at this decision by CBS as the defining moment for a huge transformation in broadcast TV, which propelled it into a completely different model of providing content to users–from a couch potato model to the mashup model. Web 3.0, here we come.  If you want to create a video for the CBS promotion on Super Bowl Sunday, go here.

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Apple iPhone video up on YouTube

January 11, 2007

Nevermind that Apple may be infringing Cisco’s federally registered trademark in “iPhone”, the iPhone is pretty sleek.  But at $499 a pop, that’s a pretty hefty price tag, almost the cost of some laptops.


Snakes on a plane? YouTube on cellphones?

November 28, 2006

News:  Verizon and YouTube announced a new deal to stream YouTube videos on Verizon cellphones for $15/month.  The service, called “VCast,” will offer only a limited, pre-selected number of videos approved by Verizon for content.  A YouTube spokeswoman said, “We’ll select content that has the broadest appeal and the highest entertainment value.” (more from NYT)

Analysis:  $15 sounds like a really high price tag to me (in addition to high cost of phone service).  I haven’t bought a new cellphone recently, but if the quality of streaming images is not that great, I wonder how many consumers will sign up.  On the other hand, as cellphones incorporate greater visual capability, the streaming of videos on cellphones seems to be a natural complement to the growing phenomenon of people recording videos on cellphones (as in the UCLA taser incident).  


Will YouTube replace TV?

November 27, 2006

News:  BBC has a survey of people in Britain who watch online videos.  46% of online viewers say they watch less TV (including 20% who say they watch a lot less TV).  However, online viewers only make up 9% of the British population (although it’s 28% among 16 to 24 year olds), and 54% of online viewers say they still watch the same amount of TV.

Analysis:  The key stat to me is the number of 16 to 24 year olds who watch online videos, 28%.  Advertisers covet the attention of that segment of the population, so one should hardly doubt that there’s a business to be made in online videos.


Is the world of “YouTube surveillance” going too far?

November 27, 2006

News:  The NYT reports an incident involving a high school student in Ottawa who provoked her teacher to get mad, so that another student could tape it and post it on YouTube.  The school got wind of the video and asked YouTube to remove it.  YouTube complied.  According to NYT, the teacher “is a 33-year veteran who specialized in teaching students with learning disabilities. The teacher is now on voluntary sick leave, and officials at his union say that he is so embarrassed that he may never return to class.” 

Analysis:  At least from the description in the article, I think the students were wrong for what they did, especially if they wanted their teacher to get mad so they could catch it on tape.  The article suggests that the teacher was a good teacher and supported by students.  Our lives will be drastically different if everything outside of our homes can be taped on video and posted on YouTube.  Although it’s true that video can catch inappropriate behavior and comments by politicians, police officers, and washed-up actors, there’s also a negative element to making everything fair game to video.   

UPDATE:  Michael Geist, a law professor in Canada, has a thoughtful article on the issuse.  In it, he writes:  “While there are some obvious benefits that arise from the transparency and potential accountability that can come from video evidence of controversial events, the emergence of an always-on video society raises some difficult questions about the appropriate privacy-transparency balance, the ethics of posting private moments to a global audience, and the responsibility of websites that facilitate Internet video distribution.”


Video of the week: Is this the future of the Internet?

October 27, 2006