On Monday Napster issued a press release, which got great pick-up, stating that it was gonna try to parlay the scant $97 million it has in the bank, the mirage of increasing traffic and a brand which is still incredibly popular with geriatric investment bankers, into a windfall for senoir management and a modest return for investors. In the press release company CEO, Chris Gorong, who owns about 700k shares of the companies stock, which at todays close ($4.01) is worth about $2.8 million, said that his company intends to “thoughtfully examine potential combinations that may further enhance Napster’s unique strategic and brand position in the center of digital media.” In other words, they’re gonna pretend they’re still relevant, collect as many offers as they can and sell while big media companies are in an acquisitive mood. Dump it fella’s, sell for as much as you can.
Back in February I attended a panel discussion with the always humorous, Chief Digital Officer of MTV, Jason Hirschorn. One of the many provocative questions he threw out to the audience was "what are people filling their iPods with" given that only a billion songs have been sold for the 43 million iPods in circulation. Thats less then 25 songs per iPod! Great question Jason.
With all the expensive consultants and overpaid MBA's roaming the halls within media companies you'd think that a few of them would be able to figure this out. Alas, its not to be. Given, that I was once an underpaid consultant and I'm now an inexpensive MBA roaming the halls of a media company, I figure it wouldn't hurt anything if I gave it a try. After "running the numbers" (spreadsheet here), I came up with a couple of answers. One is that the music industry has lost roughly $40 billion dollars in revenue from not aggressively pursuing digital distribution. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been active on the Internet since 1990 and have been working with content on the web since 1994 (history permanently archived here and here ) so I consider myself something of a veteran (not wiser or smarter just older). So, when in the course of my latest gig I decided to put my random thoughts, arcane readings and strange encounters online as an opportunity to teach myself about the new tools and services for content creation I was sure it would be a breeze. Instead, what I found was that an old dog can get really frustrated by all the new tricks. My odyssey from the world of mute silence to global blogging on the web’s bleeding edge is cautionary tale of exploration and discovery.As a die hard Google enthusiast, I started my journey with a Google owned blog creation tool. I expectied a “killer app” that took the best bits from Gmail, Google Pages , Google Maps and Picasa. Instead what I got was Blogger.
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Everyone loves research. Big companies pay big money for people with big brains to "just figure it out!" Some companies hit the mark and others dont but they all have some kernels of insights and flashes of inspiration worth noting. Capturing a few of those kernels and spotting some of the flashes is what I'm going to attempt to do in this article. All for your general edification and enjoyment.
IBM bigwig and Internet conference staple Dr. Saul Berman, and two credited co-authors put out a white paper earlier this year entitled "The end of television as we know it". A little somewhat less known Masters candidate at MIT, Sam Ford, writing for the Convergence Culture Consortium (C3) also put out a report worth noting entitled "Fanning the Audiences Flames". What these reports share, in addition to pithy writing and blunt critique, are a number of common threads. The 6 "priority actions for executives" enumerated by IBM and the "ten roles for fans" to be used by media companies promulgated by the C3, could all be summed up in three basic ideas: relinquish control, take risks and listen. I can only guess that the scholarly penchant for verbosity is why the C3 needed 10 principals spread-out over 73 pages to explain what IBM was able to do in 24 pages with a scant in 6 principals.