What is the Future of Television

New Tek At the NAB show New Tek had a panel Broadcast Minds: The Future of Television with Leo Laporte of TWIT.TV,  Kevin Pollak, Award winning Actor and Comedian, Jeff Jacobs, Vice President, Production Planning, Strategic Initiatives & Business Operations of the MTV Music Group,  Bill Chapman, Vice President of Creative Development/Emerging Technologies of Turner Studios and Jeff Hawley, Director, Customer Experience Group. Yamaha Corporation of America. They discussed the future of television and media, if you are interested in media and where it is going you need to watch it. Among the areas they discussed are:

  • The importance of live streaming as an event.
  • People need to feel like they are a part of a community.
  • Engaging the viewer on the various platforms they are on.
  • Creative people are only limited by their own imagination.
  • Creativity drives technology and vice a versa.
  • Anyone can build an on-demand library of content.
  • The ability to store and send big data is a major cost concern.
  • Social Media has become an integral part of the whole process from creation to distribution.

This should only be the start of this dialog and it needs to continue both online and off.

Why Cable TV Subscribers Are Making It Miserable To Cut The Cord

This is what I look like waiting for TV shows to be released on Netflix. Not really – this is what I look like all the time. Image Credit – BigStock

There’s a new report out this week (to be filed in the “Duh” folder…right next to “No Kidding”) showing that some 2.6 million cable television subscribers cancelled their service in favor of Internet-based streaming services between 2008 and 2011.

Reported by Slashdot, Yahoo and others this morning, Canadian research firm Convergence Consulting Group summarized the following from their…well, research:

“We estimate 112,000 TV subscribers were added in 2011, down from 272,000 in 2010, and forecast 185,000 TV sub additions for 2012. 2000-2009 annual TV sub additions averaged 2 million. Based on our TV Cord Cutting Model (takes into account economic conditions, annual subscriber additions, digital transition), we estimate 2.65 million (2.6%) US TV subscribers cut their TV subscriptions 2008-11 to rely solely on Online, Netflix, OTA, etc, 1.05 million (1%) in 2011 alone. We forecast cord cutters will reach 3.58 million year end (3.6%) 2012.”

So, essentially, folks are fleeing traditional television for streaming services in decent numbers, but those numbers seem to be slowing. News reports on this are rounding up the typical line-up of culprits for this dialing-back on the rush to streaming – content limitations of streaming services (a.k.a. ‘ I can’t believe Netflix doesn’t have so-and-so) based on sluggish deals being struck by Netflix and others with studios and networks; and the ultimate price-tag of achieving a more robust catalogue of content will break the cost model for places like Netflix and their service will become prohibitively expensive. [Read more…]

What Social Media Really Deserves

Shitter Toilet RollHere at GNC, we pride ourselves on the quality and integrity of our writing, but for one article only, it’s going to go down the pan….literally.

Much of the Internet is full of crap and Twitter is responsible for its fair share. Put the two together and you get Shitter, toilet paper printed with a Twitter feed of your choice. No, really.

It’s a bit pricey to clean up your number twos at $35 for four bog rolls but imagine the satisfaction you’ll get from wiping your arse with the musings of some Z-list celebrity. Alternatively you could view it as a post-modern critique of the “me” culture.

Perhaps “sheeting” will catch on as the verb of the year – remember you heard it here first!


Qubeey It happens to all of us, we follow so many people and companies on various social media sites that we miss the things we are really interested in. Let’s face it most of us have a handful of people or business that we are truly interested in, our family and close friends, maybe a company we are interested in or a favorite band. In the flood of social media, those are the things that are so easy to miss. That is the problem that Qubeey is trying to solve.

It is a cube that sits on your desk top. It captures the information from those you are really interested in and saves them for you to view when it’s convenient. Qubeey also has more visual cues, videos and images than other methods have. It allows you to stay connected with out having a web page open. When you get home at the end of the day you can see that your favorite band has released a new album and has one of their songs on YouTube. Click on it and watch it. Maybe you get a kick out of the crazy things your best friend says on Twitter, but you miss half of them because you are at work, well no more. It also allows business to target people who are truly interested in them. You can also use Skype or GoToMeeting with out ever leaving Qubeey. No more having to have an extra window or tab open in a browser and then having to click on it everytime you want to check your updates. Qubeey sits on your desktop and notifies you when something important to you is posted. Qubeey is currently free and still in beta and unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to try it out yet, Have you used Qubeey what do you think of it

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Steve Lee Wave of Tech

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Snoball: Making Giving to Charity Social

We’ve all done it, at the start of the year we say we are going to give more to charity. We all have good intentions, but unfortunately for most of us we often fall short and at the end of the year we are scrambling to make up the difference. Many times we fail miserably. The process starts all over again with the start of the new year. This is the treadmill that Snoball was created to stop.

Snoball is built around triggers. A trigger can be anything from contributing every time some one retweets one of your tweets, checking in somewhere using foursquare or perhaps a weather event to name a few. Businesses can also set up a trigger on Snoball, such as for every person who likes their Facebook page they will give a $100.00 to a specific charity.

When you sign up you choose what the trigger will be, how much you want to donate and what charity you want it to go to. You can also set the maximum amount you want to contribute per month. You can contribute to any charity that is listed with the government as a 501c or an 170c charity (charter school). If you don’t know what charity to contribute to Snoball highlights a different charity each month. You can also search for charities that are local to your area. You can search by keyword, and any charity with that keyword in its title will show up. Snoball is attempting to do a listing of charities by categories and they hope to have that available to roll out soon. Snoball itself is for profit, however any money that you contribute to the charity of your choice thru Snoball is tax deductible. At the end of the year you get a report on how much you contributed and to whom. Ninety five percent of what you contribute goes to the charity, five percent is used by Snoball to pay for processing fees and overhead. Have you tried Snoball, did it work for you or did you run into some problems.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine Podcast and Andy Smith of Geocaching World

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Roamz Consolidates Social on Your Phone

Roamz is a new app that aims to consolidate all of your different social media feeds, like Facebook, Twitter, 4Square, and others, into one location on your smartphone.  However, Roamz isn’t looking at your circle of friends, it’s looking at posts from those closest to you geographically.  This gives you a snapshot of what is going on wherever you’re at.

When you are at a location you can find exactly what is happening right there in real-time.  For instance, the Roamz rep in the video below explains exactly how the app worked for him on a pre-CES trip to Disney.  The app is free and currently available for iPhone only, but hopefully they will show Android some love in the near future.  You can visit them on the web at Roamz.

Interview by Courtney Wallin of SDR News.

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Social Media for Children – KidzVuz

KidzVuz LogoKidzVuz is an on-line community for children that lets them review and comment on kids’ gear. Andy and Don talk with co-founder Rebecca Levey about the site’s features and how they’re tailored to children.

Children are often left out of the on-line world as the major social networking sites such as Facebook enforce age restrictions on their members, and rightly so. KidzVuz encourages junior members to join in but addresses child protection issues by seeking parental permission, moderating all content and preserving anonymity. The site is completely COPA-compliant.

KidzVuz encourages children to upload video reviews of toys and games; to reward participation, many activities are turned into games with worldwide leaderboards. The site is categorised with different areas such as games, books and film. Food and travel has proved popular with children reporting back on family holidays.

KidzVuz is free to use by children and there is complementary blog for parents.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net, and Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

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Adobe Set to Launch SocialAnalytics October 20th

Social Networks have become big for individuals, but perhaps even bigger for businesses.  Almost every company today has a presence on Facebook and Twitter, and if they don’t then they are looking at how to create one.  Many of those companies are also left wondering what all of it really means and what impact it’s having for them.  Web sites are old hat now – there are countless analytics programs to measure them, but social media can still be considered the wild west.

Today, word leaked out that Adobe will be showing off their new SocialAnalytics program for the first time tomorrow in Stockholm, Sweden at Munchen Bryggeriet.  SocialAnalytics is designed to let businesses know exactly what kind of impact their social media presence is having and what they can do to improve upon it.

“Adobe® SocialAnalytics is the first social media analytics solution to measure the impact of social media on business. It enables marketers to directly measure their social media efforts, and understand how conversations on social networks and online communities influence marketing performance. Using Adobe SocialAnalytics, marketers can manage their strategy and investments in social media based on measurable outcomes and in the context of broader, multichannel marketing efforts.”

This is very short notice, but Adobe’s Caroline Mildenborn provided this link to register for the event.  It’s a chance to see the software in-action for the first time and learn what it can really do and what kind of information it provides.

Democracy, Security and Social Media

Egyptian Revolution In the last six months we have cheered the use of Twitter and Facebook during the Egyptian revolution. How they were both used to get and spread information about what was happening and where, allowing the opposition to organize. When the Egyptian government tried to shut them down, the western press and government accused it of denying the Egyptians their rights. At the time few questioned how the west would react under similar circumstances. Lately the answer to this question is started to become clearer and the picture in the mirror is a bit ugly.

Unfortunately last week London and several other cities were rocked by violence. Riots broke out in several parts of the city, according to multiple stories Blackberries phones along with Twitter and Facebook were used to coordinate the rioters. Blackberries were used because messages are encrypted and even RIM doesn’t have the key. Blackberries are also cheap compared to iPhones or Android phones. Prime Minister David Cameron, suggested that social media including Twitter and Facebook maybe limited during riots. Leaving aside technical issues of trying to do this, which there are many, is this the right thing to do and does it cause more problems than it solves. Now you could argue as Prime Minister Cameron did that the rioters were a bunch of thugs and hoodlums and you don’t have the right to use technology to commit criminal acts. However isn’t this what governments like China and Syria label opposition and democracy protestors. If this policy is implemented in Britain, then what credibility does it have to protest a similar action in China, couldn’t the Chinese say we’re just following your lead. Not to mention the fact that if you limit social media (what ever that means) during unrest you are not only punishing the guilty but also the innocent. In fact those who are less tech savvy are more likely to be hurt. Tech savvy users can usually can find their way around government’s attempt to block services using various methods including Tor or VPN services.

Clearly blocking social media in a whole city or even a neighborhood is difficult both technically and socially. However what if you just want to block a single building, like a train station or a subway, well Bart, the San Francisco rapid transit system found a way, they simply shut down the cellular services in the subways. They did this when they heard rumors there would be a protest against the shooting of an unarmed passenger by a Bart policeman They simply shut down the system base station, disabling the wireless network. They did this without informing the various wireless carriers in the area or making any public announcements. So for about three hours there was no cellular service. Commuters couldn’t make calls to home, or work or even 911. Nor could you surf the web or doing any work that was online. The FCC is now investigating the shut down as a possible violation of the Communication Act of 1934, which bans radio or cellphone jamming.

Clearly social media has become a thorn in the side of both democratic and undemocratic governments. The issues are not only technical but also political. The ongoing battle between activist and various governments will continue well into the future as they continually leap-frog each other.


Depending on your point of view about.me either strips the final layers of privacy from a narcisstic world or else provides a handy one-stop signposting to your Web 2.0 presence. As their tag line says, “It’s all about you.”

Like many people, your online life isn’t restricted to just one social media site. You have your friends on Facebook, your work colleagues on LinkedIn, random acquaintances on Twitter and family on Flickr. When it comes to pointing someone to “you” on-line, there’s no one place to go and this is where about.me comes in. At about.me, you can set up a cool picture and a biography, plus links to all of the social sites that you subscribe to.

To get an idea of what it’s like, here’s the about.me page of one of the founders, Tony Conrad. Looks pretty cool doesn’t it? There are editing tools to setup your page just as you’d like and there are stock designs if you don’t have a good photograph to use. To further appeal to the cult of me, about.me will provide statistics and graphics on who has been looking at your page.

It’s all very seductive, isn’t it. But let’s just have a little reality check here…this brings together your whole on-line life. Everything is linked to from one place, so if someone, say a prospective employer, wants to research you then it’s all there for them. They don’t even have to do any digging. Of course, you could have two about.me profiles, one for your public persona and one for your private life…

About.me seems to be backed by AOL amongst other investors and you might recognise a few of their advisors too.

The landrush for good names is underway, but I think the site has only been up a couple of months so I was able to snag my name without any numbers. If you are interested, I’d pop over and grab your page just in case about.me gets big.