Friday, September 22, 2006

Governments v Business

One of the most interesting tussles to watch over the next few months and years will be the global struggle between governments and businesses.

Why is this a struggle?

Well primarily because businesses are overwhelmingly focused on one goal - delivering value to shareholders. Governments have a juggling act to do. Protecting citizens, encouraging business, raising and spending public finances, and many many more.

The US government has been in a tangle over the laws about Gambling. They haven't yet made up their minds about whether it is or isn't illegal and if the former, then which regulation exactly if falls foul of. And which forms of gambling are illegal? Primarily in the US, Gambling is legal in certain states, and it's interstate gambling which is illegal. And although Poker as a show on TV is legal, it appears to be illegal for the internet. 2 different senior executives have been arrested. And all we have is confusion. The reality for businesses of course, that in today's world, it can be based anywhere and run as efficiently.

Gambling is just one example. Whether it's taxation, consumer protection, copyrights, or any other aspect of business, Governments across the world need to innovate. The creation of Ofcom was a key step in the UK and the Ofcom's record has been good. But given the pace of change in the market, you can understand why it's hard for any government body to stay in step.

Monday, September 18, 2006

User Generated Content

Here's an interesting one - besides a view through Laurence Lessig's eyes of the world of user generated content, it's a pretty good example of how Web 2.0 works.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

IBC 2006 Day 2

There are 2 themes that dominate the IBC this year... but when I say dominate... it's almost in a subversive way. The IBC website highlights the first of them - IPTV. Only to be expected. The strange case of the mature industry without consumers continues to ravel and unravel. There are ever more solutions, capabilities, products and technologies coming through and maturing. I attended a demo by Espial, and walked through the stalls of Scientific Atlanta and about 20 others. Same story. Impressive offerings, no consumers. Sting sang "heavy clouds but no rain" - this should be the current theme of the IPTV industry. Amidst the hundreds (over a thousand) exhibitors, permit me the awful pun of suggesting we need to focus on the "inhibitors". The first of these probably is my oft repeated moan that there are no real consumer facing innovations beyond VOD and some games. And no killer app that will swing a few million user suddenly. The second is probably that the biggest Telcos are dragging their feet on significant roll out of services, while smaller ones lack impact. Major broadcasters haven't swung yet, understandably, holding firmly onto their traditional advertising revenues. Finally the real economics, infrastructure and rights issues are being resolved slowly.

But the second key theme, announced with less fanfare up front, is the sudden emergence of DVB as a viable platform with a real agreement on the adoptions standard, which was signed this June. Although just like other emerging platforms, you would expect a lot of mis-adventures and the occasional stop-start, the DVBH (Mobile TV) engines are beginning to rev. Time to start thinking about yor mobile TV offering, if you haven't done so already.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


This blog has been neglected for a couple of weeks, while my writing skills and considerable amounts of time and energy have been channelled into putting up the ThinkPLANK website. Finely handcrafted, the website is now available at a URL near you.

Back to blogging soon.