Posts from October 22, 2004

Exploding porn

Exploding porn

[Ewww, forbidden visuals in that headline, eh? Sorry about that. Anyway….]

: In the discussion of exploding TV at Fred and Brad’s lunch the other day (my report here), I said that this was the one case in new media where I could not see how porn was leading the way.

But I kept thinking there had to be a way. I kept thinking and thinking until finally I came . . . to the conclusion that, yes, porn is again leading the way.

Over coffee yesterday, London VC, pal, and smart guy Rikki Tahta told me about a BBC series of wacky news reports he saw with a fascinating segment on the business of porn. The show said that as the cost of production has gone down — thanks to inexpensive video equipment and software (sound familiar?) and no end of, ahem, citizen talent … plus, no doubt, the advent of Viagra as a boost to worker productivity — the video industry has been able to make more and more product for less and less money and distribute it directly to consumers via online at a lower and lower cost.

The result: The nichefication of porn.

The reporter showed shelves of videos devoted to any particular taste — say, Asian amputees with small breasts and dwarf black men with big… whatever.

As the cost of production and distribution decreases, the inevitable result in media is nichefication. It is another expression of the need for the people once known as consumers to control their own media.

Which leads me to a new law of media:

Jarvis’ First Law: Give the people control of media, they will use it.

The corollary: Don’t give the people control of media, and you will lose.

Jarvis’ Second Law: Lower cost of production and distribution in media inevitably leads to nichefication.

The corollary: Lower the cost of media enough, and there will be an unlimited supply of people making it.

We’ve seen it in text content online, certainly, and that has exploded with blogs as the costs of production, talent, and distribution approached nil. Next, I now see, we’re witnessing this in porn. Next, we’ll see it come to TV.

That’s not to say that there won’t still be — always be — big stars and brands. This doesn’t replace them. But it does lower the barrier to entry to new producers of programming of every sort for every interest.

You want a show about how to decorate your garage, somebody will make it and somebody will watch it.

Will at TV Harmony disagrees and he’s right to be cautious: Making TV is harder than writing this sentence (which is precisely why I haven’t done more of it!). But it’s a helluva lot easier now than it used to be and it will get even easier and cheaper and so, inevitably, more people will make it.

Here, too, porn leads the way. Look [but only if you’re over 18] at the captivatingly bizarre Beautiful Agony, in which real people put cameras on themselves (with no nasty parts showing) as they, uh, think and think until they . . . well, you know what I mean. Or look [but not at work and not if you’re under 18] at IShotMyself at Project_ism, in which women of an artsy sort shoot themselves without clothes because… well, I’m not sure why (and not sure I care why). Now imagine if you can reach similar heights of fame and glory without having to get naked or have sex before a camera.

Yes, in the old days, we followed the money. Today, follow the porn.

Podcasting by satellite

Podcasting by satellite

: Lost Remote tells us that XM Satellite is going to come out with a device that includes a hard drive. This is the promise of podcasting already: As Doc said, the iPod is merely the prototype for a platform; it’s really about getting whatever stuff you want whenever and wherever you want it. This new device extends that capability. The next device will be two-way and on-demand.

Too bad it won’t get Howard.

Where to spend election night

Where to spend election night

: Studio One in New York and Drazen Pantic are creating an alternative media/blogging meeting place on election night.

Spend election night at Location One with NY video bloggers, artists and network interventionists. P2P networks and exchange, blogs and collective filtering of network TV will create our own “citizens’ coverage” of the election drama.

I hope to be there.

A modem in every pot

A modem in every pot

: With blanket wi-fi coming to Philadelphia and San Francisco, Fred Wilson says:

It’s happening. Wifi is going to be public infrastructure like roads, tunnels, and bridges.

I’d say it’s even more fundamental than that: wi-fi will get faster and broader and will provide most all the communication and content delivery you will need. And this will enable no end of new business and employment (and will reduce commuting and fuel consumption and all kinds of other social good).

So since I’m in a rewording mood today, I’d say this really means that connectivity will be public infrastructure.

: Om says it’s a waste of taxpayer money. Oh, but I assume this isn’t a free bridge; it’s a toll bridge. Hell, it could be a profit center.

Must-link TV

Must-link TV

: John Battelle adds onto the lunchtime discussion of exploding TV at Fred’s place and also inspired by the Jon Stewart BitTorrent phenom, he says:

You don’t want to make “Must See TV” – you want to make “Must Point To TV”. Television will be driven by the conversation, just as will print.

Absolutely. I’d says it rolls off the keyboard a bit better to call it “must-link TV” or even “must-link media.”

Long ago, when Clay Skirky and I saw AOL’s blogging tool, we told the team there that “it’s not content until it’s linked.”

That will be one way you’ll find what’s worth your time in the future: You’ll still go to brands you trust (formerly known as networks) but you’ll also go to the things recommended to you by those you trust.

Trust will the organizing principle of media. It’s not now, but it will be.

I’m forever blowing Googles

I’m forever blowing Googles

: Battelle is right: a 24-point leap in Google stock this morning is bubbly.

Laughing instead of crying

liegirls3.jpgLaughing instead of crying

: Election humor is exploding:

: Go see Frank Lesser’s Lie Girls now! You can call them and they’ll tell you what you want to hear….

“The economy is getting bigger and bigger…. It’s soooo big!”

“We’re the coalition of the willing!”

This from the man who brought you Pleasure Boat Captains for Truth.

: When I met the leaders of Communists for Kerry the other night, I asked them whether they had challenged Billionnaires for Bush to a rumble — depending on your age, imagine West Side Story or Gangs of New York with a laughtrack. So now the commies are challenging the buckboys in email from Ivan Lenin:

Here’s the deal. After Nov.2, we will probably be out of business, and you probably hope that the opposite will happen. We challenge you to a battle re-enactment. Your Big Money vs our Revolutionary Rage. Your classy wit against our leftist nonsense. Your snobbish pussiness against our relentless propaganda.

OK, maybe ya hadda be there.

: I spoke to yet another person yesterday about the popularity and success of Jon Stewart in this selection season, trying to unlock the mystery of it all and I said it’s really quite simple:

Politics is funny and news media doesn’t admit it from its high, institutional perch. At a human level, it is hilarious. That is precisely what gives Stewart more credibility: He, like we, knows just how absurd this crap is.

: Now this isn’t exactly a punchline, but note, too, how even NBC News is trying to make the election if not funny, at least fun.

icerink.jpgI stopped by their Democracy Plaza — aka Rockefeller Plaza — yesterday after the cohost of Capital Report said he was there while I was taping my segment a few blocks away. There are all kinds of exhibits — a first-edition printing of the Declaration of Independence, which is, truly, goose-bump material; and activities (walk through a replica of Air Force One); and eye candy (huge flashing screens — Times Square for populism).

In the ice of Rock Center, they have painted a map of the United State, which you see here (simply, through my Treo). On election night, they will transform those states red and blue as the election is called. (Can you erase ice?)

Dear Mr. Powell,

Dear Mr. Powell,

: Doc Searls has two magnificent posts directed to Federal Censorship Commission boss Michael Powell. The first is a rant, the second is a patient effort to explain why this new thing you’re using right now isn’t a medium with content. It’s new, damnit, it’s new. From the rant Doc wrote after reading a hamhanded speech of Powell’s (with my button-pushing so as not to get on the wrong side of the FCC):

Reading this s*** just brings out the Jersey Guy in me…

Excuse me, dude, but I’m not just a f***ing “consumer” and I don’t just want f***ing “access.” Me and my friends here want to want to blow up the whole f***ing system you’re protecting. You’re a nice guy and all, and have some nice things to say, but you’re fucking in the way. Please step aside.

This revolution is about the demand side getting the power to supply. That’s what the Net, free software, Linux, open source, blogging, podcasting, indy music, indy movies and every other movement growing out of connected independence is about. The Net is a whole new marketplace, a land of the free and the home of the smart, the talented and the enterprising. It doesn’t matter how big and fat and old and well-connected your industrial system is. If it doesn’t adapt to the Net’s environment, it’ll choke on its own exhaust.

It would help to have an FCC that understands the nature of this new place. Michael Powell showed some positive signs a few years ago, but now he doesn’t. Freedom of “access” is bulls**t. Freedom to speak, produce, write, perform and do business is what it’s about. Maintaining the old one2many plumbing mentality is a shame and a sham. And worse, delusional.

Doc is cute when he’s mad.

He then sat down and tried to explain it all in terms that even a politician and bureaucrat could understand:

The way we describe the Net (and the Web) is primarily in place terms. We have “sites” that we also call “locations” with “addresses.” We often talk about the Net as an “environment” or a “habitat.” For regulatory purposes, the best description we use is “commons.” All of those terms derive from conceiving the Net as a place, rather than as a transport system.

In this place we’re writing, speaking, talking, inventing, innovating and doing business. We’re not just “consumers” looking for “access” to “content” from “producers” or “providers,” though many of us do only that. The Net is so broadly supportive that any of us can as easily supply as demand. And we’re doing exactly that. This may be scary to established media and other businesses, but it’s the way things work in free markets (which I know you appreciate), and nothing supports those better than the Net….

Our biggest challenge