Real-Time Search = Instant Replay

I was watching the US Open Federer-Djokovic match on TV yesterday when, towards the end, Federer made an amazing, between-the-leg, return to score a point. I immediately tweetedWhat a hit by Federer!!!”. I then stopped everything I was doing to watch a couple of instant replay on CBS, the network that broadcasting the game in North America. I was floored, what a shot. Federer went on to win the game.

Turns out I wasn’t satisfied with the two instant replays the network had provided me. I wanted to see more of it! Five minutes after the game, I searched for the word “Federer” on Twitter. Somebody had already uploaded the whole scene to YouTube in HD quality! I could watch it, pause it, analyze the shot the way I wanted to. I then tweeted back
the YouTube URL for all my friends to see.

What it means: a critical mass of people were watching the game. Someone took the time to “atomize” a portion of the broadcast (the amazing shot) and uploaded it on YouTube (the support). The “news” was then “announced” on Twitter (the discovery tool). Why isn’t this happening on CBS.com?

Can a Hulu-Like Play Save the Newspaper Industry?

I was re-thinking about my recent blog post about the importance of Hulu for the TV industry.  A strong “national” brand unifying various media players under the same umbrella while allowing individual players to have their own unique “brands”. For example, you can find The Colbert Report on Hulu but you can also find it on the Comedy Central site.  You can find it on CBS’ TV.com also (powered by Hulu) and on DailyMotion (via an agreement with Comedy Central). You can possibly find illegal versions on other video sites and illegal copies on torrent sites as well. In Canada, you’ll find Colbert on the CTV site.

So, having a “national” hub that aggregates content from, what common sense would call, “competing” players doesn’t prevent other “national” and “regional” brands to co-exist with the same content and it allows TV networks to compete on an equal footing with “national” video portals like YouTube. That works as long as industry players have a stake and a say in the evolution of the “national” hub, and that’s the case with Hulu.

Seemingly unrelated, Google just announced that they were pulling the plug on their Print Ads initiative (where Google was reselling newspaper advertising to their network of advertisers). Many people were watching and hoping this might help support print newspaper ad revenues. It was clearly not going anywhere.  Google said in their announcement “We believe fair and accurate journalism and timely news are critical ingredients to a healthy democracy. We remain dedicated to working with publishers to develop new ways for them to earn money, distribute and aggregate content and attract new readers online.” Yahoo! also has agreements with newspapers to help them monetize their online traffic via a unified ad platform called APT. This seems to be going well but again, newspapers don’t necessarily control their destiny in that agreement.

Now, this got me thinking about the newspaper industry ecosystem in general. Players in this space usually compete with other “regional” players offline (New York Times, New York Post, etc.) but are also competing against “national” brands online, usually aggregators (for example, Google News). I just realized that…

TV industry challenges = Newspaper industry challenges!

I believe it might be time to build a new national brand and platform in the newspaper industry. A “Hulu for news” that integrates national and local news from all major newspaper outlets in the US, citizen journalism content and social media tools. A startup that’s staffed with the most web-savvy new media people, that understand where traditional media comes from and where it’s going but that are not locked in old paradigms. Other interesting technologies for that venture would be the Topix.com platform and content and the Oodle national classifieds platform. This initiative would allow syndicating of news and ad content through widgets and APIs. Content could be displayed on “local” newspaper sites and re-syndicated to smaller sites. I’ve read somewhere about similar past initiatives that failed (can’t find the source now) as offline competition was creating too much of a hurdle for anyone to align. But I think the industry might be at that critical juncture point where they absolutely need to agree to cooperate online while competing offline. Who will take the leadership of this initiative?

Update: Jemima Kiss from the Guardian says “if newspapers start thinking like startups, they might just have a chance.” I agree.

Hearst-Argyle Signs Distribution and Monetizing Agreement with YouTube

(via Mediapost & Hearst-Argyle press release)

Hearst-Argyle (a US television station owner) has cut a deal to distribute video clips on YouTube, the companies announced today. With the arrangement, news, weather, and clips from other local programs in five markets – – Boston, Manchester in New Hampshire, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore – – will be available on the video-sharing site, as well as clips of high school sports, among other material.

While this deal appears to mark the first time YouTube has made a deal for local video, the company has allied with NBC and CBS in the past. As recently as March, CBS tapped YouTube to create an NCAA channel for streams of the basketball games.

The agreement marks the first revenue sharing agreement between Google, YouTube and an independent television group.

What it means: Brilliant! To expand their online reach, Hearst-Argyle has chosen to sign a distribution agreement with YouTube, the leading video site. In addition, to motivate their distribution partner, they are also doing revenue sharing. Given that online is much more fragmented than offline, traditional media has no choice but to embrace the wholesale model. This allows the media company to sell an online product with a reach that approaches the offline one (insuring a smoother revenue transition between offline and online). I suspect that we’ll eventually see that strategy happen in the directory space as well. Given that many directory players are showing their print display ads in their destination site, it’s not too much of a stretch to distribute that content elsewhere, in decentralized online destinations. Paid distribution agreements will be part of the deal.

CBS Buys Last.fm for $280M

(via BBC News)

CBS just picked up one of the darlings of the Web 2.0 world, Last.fm for $280M. The site “allows users to connect with other listeners with similar music tastes, to custom-build their own radio stations and to watch music video-clips. The online network was founded in the UK five years ago and it now has more than 15 million active users. As part of the deal, Last.fm’s managing team will remain in place and the site will maintain its own separate identity. ”

What it means: great acquisition by CBS as Last.fm is a very interesting site and application. Interesting also: CBS will maintain Last.fm’s separate identity. It seems like this is happening more and more when large media corporations acquire smaller Web 2.0 start-ups. The Flickr example comes to mind. I think media companies are realizing that innovation happens in smaller, tightly-knit teams.

MySpace Wants to Partner with Other Media Firms to Launch ‘YouTube Killer’

From Variety.com via NewTeeVee.com

News Corp. is forging ahead on talks with a number of congloms to create a video platform that could compete with YouTube. “We’re in very active negotiations with all of the media companies to create the most robust video offering from professional content on the Web,” Fox Interactive Media topper Peter Levinsohn told investors at the Bear Stearns confab in Palm Beach, Fla. “Those conversations are ongoing, but they’re going very well,” he added. (…)

And then, perhaps hinting at where such a convocation would happen, he added, “No doubt MySpace will be a huge beneficiary of that.” News Corp. would reportedly like to see much of the content from other congloms live on its social-networking subsid. But comments glossed over a big sticking point: Other congloms have been resistant to making video available to MySpace, worrying that it would drive traffic and revenue to a competitor. Congloms are by no means unanimous on the subject; NBC has reportedly been more willing, while CBS has been more reluctant.(…)

Viacom recently decided to go its own way on video-sharing after talks with Google broke down, signing a content deal with a YouTube competitor, the Europe-based startup Joost. MySpace has been a major platform for News Corp.’s video, offering a hefty number of clips and sneak peeks of Fox content. Levinsohn did say that a major obstacle to pacting with other congloms is ensuring that those in charge of digital operations have the ear of the conglom chiefs. Digital divisions have gained clout in recent months but still may not have as much sway in the exec suite as they may need.

What it means: reading between the lines, this article highlights a couple of interesting points. First, the struggle of traditional media firms to redefine their competitive space with the arrival of Google: “Other congloms have been resistant to making video available to MySpace, worrying that it would drive traffic and revenue to a competitor”. Who’s the biggest long term competitive threat to CBS? Is it News Corp or is it Google-Yahoo-Microsoft (GYM)? And why not partner with both groups? I personally think you want to build up your own assets while partnering within your industry but also with GYM. We’ve seen the same kind of ambiguity in the newspaper world with Tom Mohr’s “Winning Online” manifesto “proposing that the US newspaper industry should merge into a single industry-wide network, at least for its digital assets. The article also discuss the kind of internal politics interactive teams are facing within traditional media companies: “Levinsohn did say that a major obstacle to pacting with other congloms is ensuring that those in charge of digital operations have the ear of the conglom chiefs.”. This internal in-fighting is, in my opinion, completely useless. The competitors are outside the walls of the company, not inside. Trust your interactive teams, they understand this new world order.

Meta-Praized: ComScore & Privacy, TV Networks Discuss YouTube Rival, Four Google Improvements, LiveDeal.com, Yahoo & FaceBook, Skype Reorg, BidNearby

Meta-Praized is a collection of links & stories we’ve “dugg” on Digg.com in the last 7 days. Feel free to add us as a friend: PraizedDotCom .

Meta-Praized: ComScore & Privacy, TV Networks Discuss YouTube Rival, Four Google Improvements, LiveDeal.com, Yahoo & FaceBook, Skype Reorg, BidNearby

Meta-Praized is a collection of links & stories we’ve “dugg” on Digg.com in the last 7 days. Feel free to add us as a friend: PraizedDotCom .

Meta-Praized: YouTube, VirtualCity, Wikipedia, Peter Jackson, Fake User Profiles, Google Answers, Santa Monica Parking, Yahoo

Meta-Praized is a collection of links & stories we’ve dugg on Digg.com in the last 7 days. Feel free to add us as a friend: PraizedDotCom .

  • “Seeking Executive to Tame the Digital Future” in the New York Times
  • “What does ‘Web 2.0’ mean to the world of Public Relations?” in CMSWire.com
  • “Do Google and YouTube have ethical responsibility for their video services?” in ArsTechnica
  • “VirtualCity delivers the real thing” in the Globe & Mail
  • “Experts rate Wikipedia’s accuracy higher than non-experts” via Ars Technica
  • “To Web Fans, Peter Jackson Is the One True Director” in the New York Times
  • “Sex and Social Networking Sells: Fake User Profiles in Marketing Campaigns” in Read/WriteWeb
  • Google shuts down the Google Answers service via the Google blog
  • “Report: Pentagon investigates YouTube video of U.S. troops” via News.com
  • CBS attributes ratings boost to YouTube” via the Chicago Tribune
  • “A New Twist: Voting for News You Trust” in NewAssignment.net
  • “Real-Time map showing available parking spaces in Santa Monica” via the actual site
  • Yahoo! TV gets a redesign via TechCrunch