Steve Gillmor, contributing
Steve calls in from the Integrated Media Association's New Media Summit with his special guest, Stephen Hill. The talk is all about the convergence of radio (most notably public radio) and "new media" if that term even makes sense any longer. That convergence is due to digital technologies and the fact that it's now possible for nearly anyone to create broadcast-quality audio with a very small investment in equipment. Stephen reminds us that even FM radio isn't very old, having become popular in the mid 1960s, when broadcasters even supplied the receiver. (Hey...sounds like satellite today!)
Public radio in the U.S. has more than 20 million subscribers, but the public-radio insfrastructure has become a bottleneck in its own right. (Is NPR the "Clear Channel of public radio?")
Is podcasting the next step for independently produced audio? It was an important topic at the New Media Summit. The consensus is that podcasting is still in Geeksville mode, but it's real close. What business model will prevail? Stephen thinks it's bundle-and-charge aggregation, and sees at least one segment of public radio going to a $240/year model.
But if there's an explosion of content, how will we sort our way through it? Will it be something like Attention.xml, or will we rely on more traditional systems like individual or group editors? An important development may be the Personal Service Publisher proposal (PDF) presented at the conference.
Adam suggests that the same divide-and-conquer architectures used to make web servers more scalable could be used in search. He envisions data routers that will know which back-end servers have which knowledge and will query servers asynchronously according to the liklihood of getting the best results.
The discussion then turns to the topic of attention and the technology and politics of knowing who's reading what on the Internet. XML-based RSS and Atom have created both the challenge and the opportunity.
TiVo will take a hit as PVRs are built-into TVs. Doc reports that the FCC is well aware of what might happen and what restructuring of telcos and cable may be required when the demand side (people) become suppliers of programming. And there's a hint that cars could become open systems -- backplanes for multimedia and other devices.
Podcasting at CES? Not this year. Few seem to have even heard of it yet. (Are iPods and iTunes Apple's Roach Motel?) The Gang looks to the future and how distribution and syndication will change. Will BigMedia companies adapt? And how will the entertainment industry change when the demand side competes with the supply side for shelf space?