Jim Louderback

September 26, 2008

Old Media Still Doesn’t Grok Web Video

Filed under: Commentary — Jim @ 9:45 pm

image See this story from NewTeeVee, reporting on how CBS head-honcho Les Moonves called internet video "a lab for our TV network", and a place to test out programming ideas.

That’s just wrong-headed, old media thinking.  True success with Internet video means thinking of it not as a farm team for existing media (broadcast/cable), but as a new way to communicate, a new medium with its own story-telling arc, rhythm and feel.

If you’re just testing what will ultimately end up being 22 and 44 minute television shows, with 3-7 acts and plenty of time for commercial breaks, you’re doing it wrong.

At Revision3, we think different.  Our end goal is to create great programming that lives and dies on the Internet. Success, for us, is predicated on Internet viewership, not on some eventual broadcast or cable deal.

Check out Diggnation, or SYSTM.  Would those shows make it on TV?  How about Scam School?  Maybe as a vignette here or there, but not a repeatable segment.

Even Web Drifter, which was originally designed for Comedy Central, is at its core a great web program.

Moonves and I agree on at least one thing – Internet video won’t kill broadcast or cable, it’s an additive thing.  But it will develop into something entirely different.  And true success will be found by those who embrace the vagaries of the media, not try to cow-path an old media vision into a new media landscape.

It always makes me happy to see MSM miss the boat when it comes to new media like this.   They’re just going to need us even more once they realize how completely they’ve screwed it up.

Comments, as always, welcome.

September 20, 2008

Nokia Nights: A tragic tale of true love lost

Filed under: Commentary — Jim @ 2:52 pm

Thin, sleek, yet rounded in all the right ways, she walked through the door and captured my heart. Our courtship was brief, our romance torrid, our attraction mutual. Soon she was shacking up with me and sharing my heart and my pocket.

As regular readers know, I’ve had a really, really “complex” relationship with smartphones. I was the first person to do a hands-on review of the Treo 650 – which I then ended up carrying around for years. The same for T-Mobile’s Wing, and the Helio Ocean. I loved each of them deeply and completely, despite their obvious flaws. But in the end those flaws gave birth to smoldering resentment that turned into animosity and hate.

My latest fling with T-Mobile’s Wing started out well, but I’m so over her. That’s why I was so happy about receiving an evaluation copy of Nokia’s new E71 phone. It seemed to have it all: a slim slab no thicker than an iPhone, full typable QWERTY keyboard, a nice bright screen,a built in Exchange (and by extension Zimbra) email client, and all the Symbian apps you could download.

During the first few weeks I was overjoyed by the phone’s performance. Compared to the sluggish Wing, it was downright peppy. Switching the phone’s offline/online state was nearly instantaneous – compared to what seemed to take an eternity on the Wing. And battery life was eye-opening. No longer would I be penalized with a brick when forgetting to charge overnight – the E71 lasted for days between charging.

And the keyboard. Oh, I could wax eloquently about its sculpted keys, satisfying click and intuitive layout. My thumbs, it seemed, were made for its curvaceous charms.

But that’s not to say our relationship was not without its warts. Although the phone’s built in ringer, alarm and alerts were mellifluously melodious, I found it nearly impossible to figure out how to turn them down – much to the chagrin of my cubicle-mates. The volume controls on the side of the phone only control speaker level when you’re on a call; instead you have to define distinct “profiles” to change alert and ring-tone volume.

The phone also lacks standard USB ports, instead opting for non-standard connectors. But the Bluetooth is quite fast, and the PC-based desktop transfer application so good, it really didn’t bother me.

I also found the 3.2 megapixel camera a bit clunky, and its pictures somewhat red. I also quickly grew tired of the phone’s habit of dropping into the camera when I pressed the exit button too many times.

But those were just minor gripes. The more I used it, the more I liked it. The phone came with a screen condom, to protect it from abuse, but the screen held up well to unprotected intercourse – although I dropped it regularly (not on purpose), the screen showed nary a scratch. The Wing, by contrast, is barely visible now because of self-inflicted flaws over 6 months of regular use.

The phone’s coverage was adequate. I’m a T-Mobile customer, and thus ran into coverage problems in New York and parts of San Francisco. Some of those I blame on the phone, but most of them upon the network. Data service was pretty fast – I loved Google Maps, for example, after I loaded it up – it worked great with the built in GPS.

After two months of constant companionship, we were happier than the day we met.

Alas, in the end, she waltzed right out of my life, just like all the others. But unlike most breakups, I wasn’t the one yelling and throwing things – nor was she. Nope, in this case she laid down an ultimatum: Lay out the big bucks or she was heading home to Finland. It was really hard to let her go – but in the end she was simply too high-class, and at $400 too expensive for my meager means.

So it’s back to the Wing. Yeah I’m cheap. But better a devil I know, with all her flaws, than a high-priced ice queen. But I sure do miss her.

Want to see video?  Check out the following video I shot with David Prager in the Revision3 studios.  It’s a prototype, so let me know what you think.




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