Here’s Chad Hurley, founder of YouTube, in a session on — cough — user-generated content (see my post below) at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He talks about what YouTube is doing on copyright, installing the means to find violations and to help holders earn money (I think of this as ringtones gone mad… the fees to license just wedding-video music would be huge). He also says that he does intend to share money with video producers; he says he did not do that at first because he wanted to build a community of people who wanted to be there to be there and who would not just leave to the next best offer.
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A session called “The user takes charage of content” begins with moderator Steve Adler, editor of Business Week, acknowledging the controversy over the session’s title. He shares my suggested alternative: “stuff from us.” Liveblogging….
Tom Glocer of Reuters said he doesn’t buy the professional/amateur line. (We’ll be left with no labels and no borders. And maybe that’s the point.) He says Reuters invented user-generated content 50 years ago aggregating trader information and then selling it back. Adler asks him whether professional journalists will lose their jobs as a result of this. “I think there’s only one type of journalism, which is good journalism…. I know some professional journalists who write crappy text and I know amateurs who write beautiful prose.” Asked whether there willl be fewer professional journalists, once again, Glocer says there will be fewer newspapers and that there will be other opportunities for people who want to do journalism to get paid for it.
Michael Wolf, ex-McKinsey and soon ex-MTV Networks, says that mashups work: “Clips make hits.” Online makes entertainment into something you can share. He says a deal with Google to put MTV video onto smaller sites creates a great deal more interest’ this “will only enhance your core business rather than hurting it.”
Rey Ramsey of One Economy, which tries to bring more people online, says he’s not hearing enough here about how to spread digital to more people.
Adler has been thinking a lot about the value of brands in various sessions and he asks Shelly Lazarus of Ogilvy & Mather about what happens to brands. She cautions about having a core to the brand but she also says that if your customers are making commercials for your products, “you got ’em.” She says there is a “confidence gap” in online, ugc in the ad industry because advertisers do not spend proprotionally to the audience. I would call this a “vision gap.” Or a “balls gap.”
Adler asks Yoo Huhn0Oh, CEO of Cyworld in Korea, about its unique business model: not subscription fees or mostly advertising but selling virtual products in its MySpace/Second-Life-hybrid service. It is spreading to a handful of more large countries.
Asked whether a network sould have started YouTube, Chad Hurley says he didn’t look at it that way: They saw a problem with video online and the difficulty in dealing with it. “We saw the power of simplifying a problem because we came from PayPal… In the video space, we saw a similar opportunity.”
Called upon and asked whether big media companies will be able to make this work, I say that we are in the third phase of what we have called interactivity:
1. Big media lets you talk here.
2. Big media asks you to give us stuff to enrich its sites.
3. Screw you, we people say, we own our stuff; send traffic and even money to us.
I give my standing illustration that Yahoo is the last old media company — because it’s centralized — while Google is distributed everywhere, enriching anyone. I say media companies must turn from owning content to enabling networks. So I turn the question around ask the guys on the platform whether big media companies can open up and enable networks.
Wolf says yes but in truth, he goes only halfway, enbracing getting his content out there distributed and remixed. And good for that. Call that 3a.
3b is having a relationship with the stuff we create and make and enriching us with attention, praise, promotion, money.
Asked by Jim Spanefeller of Forbes what he thinks of GoogleNews, Tom Glocer of Reuters says, “We like GoogleNews.” It gives them “ad revenue and page views we’d otherwise not have gotten.” Take that, Agence France Presse.
Someone in the room formerly known as the audience notes that one of the top-viewed clips on YouTube today is a film shown here in Davos yesterday with Israelis and Palestinians calling for peace now. Someone else complains that it takes too long to find the good stuff on YouTube. Hurley replies: “Now that we’re part of Google, finding videos will be a lot easier, that’s for sure.”
Jeff Clarke from Travelport says his attitude to people taking his stuff and putting it on their sites is, “the more the merrier.” He’s asked from the floor about a competitor taking all his stuff and making a business out of it. Clarke replies that he has made deals with just those scrapers. Information is commodified, he says, and so you have to find your differentiation elsewhere.
I’ll put up Chad Hurley video shortly with him saying that they will move to paying producers.
I was at the party at Davos, thrown by the German newsmagazine Focus and Hubert Burda (video soon) and whom should I meet but Michael Dell. I thought I’d need to try to corner him at the session on web 2.0 but he approached me.
Of course, it was all cordial. This is Davos. And it should have been cordial. I told Dell that I have seen his people improve impressively on the blog front, reaching out to bloggers with service problems and blogging openly.
He apologized for my bad computer. I brushed that off; old news. I told him that I never intended to start a riot. When I hit a wall with my computer, I just blew of steam on my blog. But once I did, I, too, learned how amazing the internet is at allowing people to coalesce.
He said that they have a lot of work to do and I agreed. Improving communication doesn’t necessary solve the underlying problems. But listening to your customers can only help and I said that blogs are amazing, for they are a new way to hear your customers. I started into my spiel about handing over control to your customers and pointed him to Treonauts as a place where customers sell the product, create the marketing message, provide customer service, and even help design the product. I didn’t start sermonizing, though. Nor did I dispute what he said about this case at CES. This is Davos. This was a party. And Steve Case came up at that moment.
I have a bigger bone to pick with Case, since I still own my damned Time Warner stock. Moments later, a writer for one of Time’s magazines walked by, saw Case, and growled, “There’s the guy who tanked my company.” But we didn’t say this to him. This is Davos. It was a party.
By the way, I told Dell that I have since bought a new Dell monitor for my son.
Next session: a panel of six of 60 young people from around the world who gathered in Greenwich to come up with a message from the future for the machers here. They set their priorities as education and “active global citizens.” They push the leaders to start a global fund for education, saying that the global funds to fight AIDS and malaria have made great impact. The fund would be focused on quality teacher training, decreasing absenteeism, and class size. I wonder how large such a fund would need to be to have an impact. Gordon Brown says the total cost of educating all the world’s children is about $10 billion — not much (because we pay teachers so poorly), so he argues that a fund can make a difference. The fund’s second focus would be on creating curriculum to nuture global citizens, arguing that this will save lives lost not to disease but to ignorance. Brown argues that if we do not support education, others may and we will see more extremist madrases teaching hatred and terrorism.
At Web 2.0, John Battelle brings in a panel of young people every year to talk about their media usage; it’s a feature that other confabs, such as the Online News Association, has added and it’s educational and eye-opening to hear directly from them. Unfortunately, this is not what WEF has done with this panel; once the young people are done reading their prepared spiels, we end up hearing only from the old guys on the panel. Next time, I hope they hand over the control of the stage to the young.
Last night, I taped Arianna Huffington inviting people to send video questions and discussion to Davos:
At a session about the changing power equation, Gordon Brown, the man ready to move into No. 10 Downing St., is giving a rousing and enthusiastic endorsement of blogs and a charge to politicians, telling they they must listen and join in the debate. “You cannot make political decisions now without people being included in the decision,” he says. “The age of the smoke-filled room is over.” He argues that political leaders must go to convince people on policies such as trade and globalization; they must engage in big, national debates. He says that politicians are “catching up” with the people online.
Rupert Murdoch says that when big media gets it wrong, blogs are making them right. He also says that big media has much less power today.
Jack Ma, head of Alibaba in China, the ecommerce company, gives an endorsement of internet censorship — in the form of pornography and violence — and then even says that after 2,000 years of imperial rule, democracy would not work there. I find that argument, which I hear at events with people from inside China, frightening. Murdoch later takes it on, gently, saying that China believes this control is the role of the state and here we believe it is the role of parents. Brown says he is opposed to censorship in any form but that we need to understand the added pressure parents are under and help them.
I’m sitting in the front row for a panel on internet governance with future guy Paul Saffo, internet godfather Vint Cerf, Oxford Jonathan Zittrain, John Markoff, ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Toure, and Michael Dell. Yes, Michael Dell (more on that later; I met him last night). And yes, I have my Mac laptop open. Liveblogging a bit…..
Markoff says that “unless we find a way to police the commercial internet, it won’t survive…. (or) we’ll have to walk away from the internet and leave it like you’d leave a bad neighborhood.” That is, he fears for attacks on servers from around the world. He says that we have “a thriving security industry that sells fear” but that has not done a good job protecting consumers. He talks about pirated copies of Vista coming with trojans and about botnets; Cerf adds that there may be more than 100 million machines ensnared in this giving the bad guys supercomputers, as Markoff says. He talks about malware that took up to 15 percent of Yahoo’s search to grab the random text that is going into the current wave of spam to get it through the filters. Markoff is asked whether policing is the right metaphor; Cerf says others call it a fire department and the goal is still to put out the fire. Toure says this needs a global response. So the metaphor shifts to pandemics and vaccinations.
Cerf adds that “in spite of all the turmoil… the internet seems to be working, it’s a very resilient system.” He says it’s not just the net that needs work but also the operating systems that allow hackers to dig deep into them to do bad.
Dell says that the internet is largely anonymous “but the question has to be asked, as these issues and challenges escalate into ever more disruptive and vexing problems can this continue to be an almost completely anonymous system.” Cerf replies that there are good reasons to authenticate and validate (e.g., servers, domains) and that they can build a more refined structure. “Anonymity has its value and also its risks.” He says he reminds us that the United States was built on anonymous tracts.
Asked to give good news, Dell jokes that he has was to get that spam to you faster. He says there are two big opportunities. One is the unused spectrum that will be freed up in the shift to digital TV and opens up new communication and devices. The other is fibre, where the U.S. is behind. “We think of that is the real broadband.”
Zitrain gives a typically cogent explanation of where we are: from the whimsy of the start of the internet to the hard reality of security invasions that are too great to count. He says it is like the days of the old phone network when the means of communication are the same as the means of control, allowing hackers to break in with a Cap’n Crunch whistle. Zittrain is worried about the world of information appliances tethered to their makers, allowing central control of our devices. He says that the solutions will come, “similar to global warming,” by finding ways to track what is happening to our environment.