Monetizing Video

Was watching Nikesh Arora, Google talk at the Techcrunch Disrupt and one thing that he said stuck with me and made me think. He said that [I am paraphrasing]

No one has figured out how to monetize video. Once we do that a lot of advertising $ will flow into Video. What we are doing now is cut a small part of the TV ad and place it over video. That is not video advertising.

Now, here is what i think one of those ways could be.

Lets say, you are watching an episode of LOST or Grey’s Anatomy and you see your favorite actor/actress wearing an awesome pair of jeans made by CK. You want to buy it. Now you are a potential customer. What the video provider could do is, add meta data over the video about the various props that show up on the video, in our case details about the pair of jeans. The video has an embedded link that takes you to the CK website when you click on the pair of jeans. Now obviously it is a lot of work for the developer to annotate the video with all these details. But with technology, I guess this could be figured out.

Another use case.

Lets say the same pair of jean is not of any specific brand. you could click on the jean, know more details, see it closer etc. Now, multiple vendors can compete to offer the exact shade of jeans for you.??

How about location where the scene is shot, lets say Hawaii. Can a travel agency offer a package tour to Hawaii for the interested???

Now these are just a few thoughts and all of this depend on adding meta data to the video. I think that will be one dimension in which video technology could expand. I am sure someone is thinking about it. Lets see what’s cooking.

Thanks for reading. What do you think?

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iSLR

Apple is designing a camera targeting the SLR market. The new SLR is super thin [smaller than the micro four thirds] and minimalistic. ??The camera will run a modified version of the iPhone OS.

Feature Control

All the features of the camera are controlled by the camera OS. The basic OS installed the camera will be stripped down version, that will be configured for beginners and novice users. Users will be able to download and install advanced features based on their need from the iStore.??The whole back side of the camera is a touch interface which will include the view finder. There will be??one button for the clicker, the rest would be touch.??Apple is also rumored to have built in voice capabilities for the camera. Apple??believes this will??revolutionize??the camera industry. Steve Jobs was quoted saying

“We just want to build a device that captures what the user sees. We don’t want the user to learn to use a camera. Let the camera learn and adapt to the user.”

Apple is expecting to release the new iSLR this Holiday season.

God, I wish the text above were true. All the SLRs suck in user experience. And will some one tell the camera companies that the whole world is moving towards personalization, while they still pay no attention to that. Some one is going to trump all these companies. It might not be Apple or Google, but there will be some company that will win big.

Look at this list. These are the major electronics we all have at home.

Computers

Phone

TV

Camera

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??Guess what, they are all personalized. Or at least personalization is possible in the first three. Changing lenses? yeah. But that doesn’t change usability. What we need is modernization of the camera.

Its time for a SLR revolution. Go iSLR.

What’s a Bargain

We had a lady who came down to clean our house today. We had promised to pay her $45 for the work. When she looked at our house, she said its gonna take more work to clean our house since it was dirty, not so surprisingly. She immediately increased her price to $60. I did not have that money with me, so I had to make a decision. To give the extra money for her service or to deny the service, or to bargain with her.

She could be trying to make extra money from me.??Is $60 expensive? Will she do it for $50?

It struck me right then. Why did I even think about the third option. Why did I think of bargaining with her. I immediately stopped contemplating and made my decision ??to pay her what she asks for. I then told myself,??

Make money from the people who can afford. Don't bargain with the poor, even if the situation is biased against you.??

This thought partially rose from a thought one of my managers told me four years ago. Saving money is good. But, making more money is a smarter play.??

There are a million ways to make money. Bargaining, in my opinion is the last method. The size of a $ is different for everyone. A Starbucks Latte to me could be dinner for her. What my maid gains is much more than what I loose. You win even while you loose.

Why I will buy an iPad

I was sleepless last night, expecting a magical user interface for the iPad that will blow our minds off at the Apple event. Today, I was pretty much disappointed, with the show. Everything presented were expected. Looks like even Apple cannot exceed expectations for ever.

Apple went with iPhone’s OS. In short, it is intended to be a smart device for a dumb user. Not a computer for the nerds. All the geeky hacks that we do on our laptops cannot be done. Only Apple approved software can be loaded onto the device. User doesn’t control or have access filesystem. And, no camera? Come on. If a camera can fit into an iPhone, why not into an iPad? It is a clear strategic move by Apple. But I don’t know what the hell that strategy is. 

All these issues noted above tell us one thing. It gives us an idea on the future of computing. Any successful technology will be ubiquitous. Computing will be ubiquitous. The power of computing will be relished in our day to day activities. Think of the part that computers currently play in our lives. There is a device at our home, sitting in the other room, to which we go to when we need to play, learn or connect to our friends. We have put all our thought into that one device and improved its capability greatly. Imagine if there is only one power outlet in your house and you need to plugin all your appliances there whenever you need them.  

Also, how do you prefer to watch a music video? How do you prefer to read a novel? You’re right. On your couch… in your bed, etc. Computers/Laptops have a form: Sturdy. Even the ultra portable laptop is not comfortable enough to be used in any position. Wont it be nice if it just works where we are? That is exactly what an iPhone or an equivalent smartphone does. It follows us. Its right there when we need it the most. couch, bus, kitchen, in a car[passenger], etc. That is what is causing an explosion of smartphones.

 

But smartphones do come with an inherent disadvantage. Its form factor. Irrespective of how advanced a phone is, it is not good enough to read,watch movies, play etc. A smartphone can be of a quick help, but is not really comfortable for longer usage periods. That is where a device like iPad comes into play. It is the size of a small magazine, and can just be used in any position, even when you are resting on your head. For a non-tech person, the iPad can do everything that is required: surfing the Web, watching video, reading books .. everything. And the most important case, is the usage or user comfort. An iPad user doesnt need a table, by its definition. It just fits in the users hand, irrespective of the surroundings, Couch, Kitchen countertop, garden, train travel etc. An iPad will never remind you that you have an computer in your hand. That is what will cause its success and change lifestyles. 

And so, I will buy an iPad, especially for my mom.

Having said all that, I will wait for the next gen of iPads. A camera is all it requires for a casual user to forgo the laptop all together. 

 

Let me know what you think.

URL Shorteners

Today Youtube anounced http://youtu.be. Seems like an yet another unwanted service, when the web is littered with URL shortening services. Something occurred to me later and I started feeling that it is justified. 

Developing one service that can compress and uncompress URLs? that is a good idea but not when its a whole product. We should start looking at URL shortening as a feature in a service rather than a service by itself. It responds to the request of a user “give me a shorter URL for this article/video/blog..”.

Yes, youtube can use bit.ly, but what happens when you rely so heavily on a different company

1. One day they close their shop [check out what happened to tr.im]

2. They get into an exclusive agreement with one company and let others wonder.

3. They get to monetize the links. Not the content owner.

We also know that the URL shorteners are a big headache to to search engines. And most of us agree that it fragments the web, instead of tying things together. 

Now when every service has its own feature to shorten a URL they have the following advantages.

1. They control the links to their pages.

2. The person who clicks on a URL has an idea which site is going to.http://youtu.be gives a better sense of security than http://bit.ly

3. Search engines can modify their algorithms to index them better. [All you tube short urls follow one common structure.] Search engines can maintain alias URLs causing lesser fragmentation.

youtube.com/watch?v=v7T58ylSP7E

youtu.be/v7T58ylSP7E

 

Get it? Makes better sense when shortening a URL is a feature and not a seperate service. I want to see more of them now.

Let me know what you think.

 

-Jay

 

From my coffee cup

In a world where celebrity equals talent, and where make-believe is called reality, it is most important to have real love, truth and stability in your life.

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Thought

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