Is the Tablet becoming the dominant means of accessing the Internet and the content it contains?
This article in Mediapost suggests that it is, a fact which might be a game-changer for broadcasters and media companies…
“The digital revolution is almost as disruptive to the traditional media business as electricity was to the candle business.”
Ken Auletta, media commentator for The New Yorker, speaking last week to IJNet.
The only thing one might question is the use of the word “almost.”
Are we seeing the early stages of an avalanche which will fundamentally change British society?
Newspapers bribing the policemen charged with guarding the Royal Family…journalists giving false hope to the parents of murdered children and invading the privacy of hundreds if not thousands of people, in a desperate and cynical search for stories…politicians running scared of newspaper proprietors and hiring their discarded minions in the face of dire warnings. And we are told there is more, and worse, to come.
Who the hell’s in charge? Does ANYONE come out of this with their reputation intact?
Yes, actually, Britain’s broadcasters are looking pretty good. EvenBSkyB (now surely never to be wholly owned by Rupert Murdoch) is effectively regulated both internally and externally. The BBC, often accused of bias of one kind or another, is squeaky clean by comparison with the oldest names in what used to be called Fleet Street…and let’s not forget that Greg Dyke fell on his sword as DG of the BBC for reasons which were proved not long after to have been almost wholly spurious. But unlike the “flame-haired temptress” as Private Eye calls her, he carried the can for his staff when he didn’t really need to.
Broadcasting in Britain, unlike some radio and TV elsewhere and just about any UK national newspaper, can be very largely relied on to tell it like it is. No kidding. The regulation is in place.
Moreover we may be seeing the beginning of a new alliance, between public service broadcasters (including ITV, which although “commercial” has through Ofcom a public service remit) and the “connected society” which is ever more vociferously using social media to voice their concerns. (Did you know Ofcom has received over 150,000 submissions urging them to veto Murdoch’s Sky takeover?)
Paul Mason is Economics Editor of the BBC Newsnight programme. He has written just about the best summing up of the current situation I have seen so far.
PS Apologies to regular readers expecting a technology slant to appear in a post on this site. Sometimes we have to look at the big picture.
One of the few decisions yet to be made about the London Olympics is whether or not to broadcast them in 3D. Supporters (who not surprisingly include equipment manufacturers) say it will greatly enhance the experience of the Games (although it is open to question just how many people will be ready to receive 3D broadcasts in their homes by next summer). But for our old friend Manolo Romero and his colleagues at the Olympic Broadcasting Service there’s a huge cost implication…lots of new kit and extra production staff…which may or may not be considered worthwhile.
Read more on this from Owen Gibson in the Guardian…
There has probably been a good deal of gloating at Avid and Adobe in the last day or two over the way in which the US talk-show host Conan O’Brien and his team lampooned Apple’s new Final Cut Pro X. The clip has been removed from YouTube due to a copyright claim from O’Brien’s production company, but if you did’t see it it shows an editor doing a piece to camera supposedly extolling FCX’s virtues while all kinds of things are going awry. It ends prematurely with a cut to bars and tone. LOL.
Pretty extraordinary, in my book, for what is basically a professional tool of interest only to “insiders” to be the subject of such public criticism. A big head of steam has built up, with pro editors lining up to bash Apple for releasing a new version of FC which is so different from the last one, which is more like iMovie, they’re going back to Avid, yadda yadda.
So what’s going on here? Apple is a pretty clever company. They have a very savvy marketing department. They must have a boatload of focus groups. . Why have they released what pro editors are calling a turkey…and worse… onto the market at this stage?
Now, I am not a video editor. But I’ve sat in the back of a load of edit suites as a journalist, worked many years for Avid, and have two kids who are both FCP adepts. I also understand a bit about marketing. So I decided to do a bit of research into the FCX row.
What is it that the pro editing community is complaining about? As far as I can see, a lot of it boils down to:
- It’s different and unfamiliar
- It drops support for timecode and RS422 and other legacy features
- It’s not backward compatible with FCP7 but is with iMovie (“which is what my granny uses!” says one indignant reviewer.)
- It’s not a “professional tool” and is missing many features
- It’s unfamiliar. And different.
So what HAS it got? My quick scan picked out a few interesting ones:
- It’s 64 bit, and maximum addressable RAM has gone up from 4 Gigabytes to 16 Exabytes. This means essentially unlimited project size…as long as you buy the RAM!
- It can use as many processors as are in the system. FCP7 limit is 1.5 processors. This means it can work very much faster…again as long as you can afford a suitable hardware platform
- Rendering is moved from the CPU to the GPU (graphics processing unit). Again, very much faster. Rendering in real time.
There are lots of functional things which I am not really qualified to judge. But bigger and faster I can understand, and I can recognize when developers are giving themselves some headroom for the future.
Now, I know from bitter experience how hard it is for any successful application (in my case it was the BASYS/iNews newsroom system) to produce new releases which at the same time:
- Introduce new features demanded by users
- Preserve legacy features which users think they can’t live without
- Steal a march on the competition
- Add new internal platforms to enable critical future developments (like replacing RS232 VT terminals with networked PCs. Took years off my life…)
- Do all of these with a smooth upgrade path…
- …and a coherent marketing story that makes your salesmen smile and your competitors tremble
Apple clearly must have known Final Cut Pro X was going to piss off professional editors. But they went ahead anyway. The unavoidable inferences are:
- They don’t care. The professional market is not important to them.
- They have other fish to fry, maybe lots of them. Like the DSLR market.
- They are positioning the product for a new and maybe very different future
- They are up to their old tricks
- All of the above
Apple have produced game-changers before…iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad for example. These are products which have changed industries, markets, and people’s lives. They disprove the many “Apple is dumb!” assertions on so many blogs and bulletin boards.
They are very good at putting advanced technology into the hands of the general public. Even if, at the beginning, the general public doesn’t quite know what to do with it.
They are also very good at using advanced technology to change industries…like the music business. Who remembers going down to the record store to buy the latest CD?
They are also very good at recruiting other companies to help float their boat. What is the iPhone app market worth now? X may have dropped support for VTRs but it’s opened the doors wide for all kinds of other IT-based plug-ins. Go figure.
So I am keeping my counsel about FCPX. The professional editor community (that massive global market) may defect…but let’s not forget that this is a product which costs $300. It’s a consumer product. And Apple is a company which sells not just software, but hardware (and content, and services, and cloud-based stuff, and who knows what in the future). And they take the long view. And they’re clever.
If I was Avid or Adobe, I think I might not be gloating that the Conan O’Brien show did a send-up.
I think I might be rather afraid.
By now, it should be clear to all that what some people still call “new media” are NOT sounding the death-knell for TV. A wealth of information and research seems to be indicating that TV as we know it is actually benefiting from the proliferation of new ways of consuming content…which stands to reason, really, since people want to watch something other than reruns of “I Love Lucy” and broadcasters are the people who know how to create compelling content, however it is delivered.
Anyway, all this is prompted by the comments filed earlier this month by the NAB as part of the US Federal Communications Commission’s annual survey on the state of video competition. The FCC’s Annual Assessment of the Status of Competition in the Market for the Delivery of Video Programming – is required every year by Congress, and this year the NAB took the opportunity to bang the drum for traditional broadcasting, which it called “a unique service” which no other part of the media sector can deliver.
The US Media and Entertainment industry is back into growth for the first time since 2007, according to Price Waterhouse Cooper.
According to the PwC 2011-15 outlook, spending in the US M&E industry will grow by nearly 6% a year over the next 5 years. The say the growth will be driven largely by multiplatform demand and collaboration.
While they say Internet advertising will increase 12% by 2015, this is not at the expense of TV advertising: in the same timescale that will rise, they say, by around 7%.
You’ll have to pay for the full report, but there are a lot of very interesting things on the site for free. Especially interesting is the “Viewpoint” section, from which this is a thought-provoking extract:
“By 2015, we believe that most E&M companies will have digital collaboration infused into their DNA, and that their success will lie in a focus on three key areas: the empowered consumer, the involved advertiser, and transforming their business for digital by reshaping into a Collaborative Digital Enterprise.”
Perhaps “CDE” is the next TLA we will all start using!
Last month’s “Mashable Connect” conference in Florida brought together a broad range of opinion leaders from the digital world. It wasn’t all about TV, but TV was never far from the discussions.
Some interesting trends were identified and debated, including the fact that as media converge the availability of content mushrooms….and just keeping track of it all means that do-it-yourself curation is one now one of the of the key issues.
Following the news that there will be 15 BILLION internet connected devices by 2015, the horizon of what those devices actually will be is expanding rapidly. TVs, PCs, phones, tablets, of course…but according to a new article from Katia Moskvitch, the BBC’s Science and Technology reporter, you could soon be getting emails from your fridge, tweets from your pot-plant and texts from your central heating system…and that’s just the start!
That’s what Cisco predicts…along with the fact that by 2015 there will be 15 billion net-connected devices in circulation…twice the world’s population!
Read more here