Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Olympics are in your pocket: Part2

Several weeks ago, we discussed a very interesting topic: mobile TV and 2008 Olympics. I hope to continue our discussion now. ResearchInChina, a leading independent provider of China business intelligence, also predicted that the subscribers of mobile TV will get huge increase from 50 thousand in 2007 to 500 thousand in 2008 because of the Olympics.

Another positive news for the mobile TV is that the dominant content provider in TV and the official television of Beijing Olympics, CCTV(China Central Television Station), has shown strong interest to mobile TV. They have set special mobile TV channels on their website, CCTV.com. Actually, since 2007, CCTV has provided 8 channels programs for mobile TV subscribers. However, to predict a mobile TV boom in China in 2008, we still need to see the responds from China Mobile because in convergence culture the success of mobile TV, a typical production of media convergence, lies in the cooperation between television content providers and the wireless communication service providers. As we have seen at the beginning of the article, the slogan, Olympics are in your pocket, highlighted the ambition and strategies of China Mobile during 2008 Olympics. They have launched series promotional activities named My Mobile Olympics to drum up their ideas that mobile media will play a significant role in 2008 Olympics. But up to now, from the official website of My Mobile Olympics, the traditional wireless value-added services, such as SMS, ring tong, mp3 and WAP, played the main role. While Mobile TV has not been added into any package of China Mobile as a new feature focusing on Olympics. This is the reason why I believed, to predict a mobile TV boom during Olympics, we still need more positive responds from China Mobile. But new information concerning Olympics is coming everyday. As media analysts who have interest to this topic, what we need to do is to have a close look at all signals from China Mobile concerning mobile TV. We, Projectgoodluck, hope you join our discussion about Beijing Olympics and mobile TV.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

State of Emergency in Pakistan: Networked Media

Here are quotes from Huma Yusuf’s post on the use of new media channels such as SMS & Internet newsmedia broadcast during the Pakistant State of Emergeny that has shut down traditional television and radio broadcast.

SMS text messaging is being lauded across the blogosphere as the savior of communication in this time of crisis. According to unofficial reports issued by mobile phone service providers, record numbers of text messages have been sent in the past five days as the medium is used to stay in touch and organize protests.

The Internet continues to function normally in most places, and the websites of news media providers, including private television stations and major English-language newspapers…

On the social networking site Facebook, over 5000 people have joined a group titled “We Oppose Emergency in Pakistan.”

Barely a day after emergency rule was declared, a Wikipedia page titled “2007 Pakistani state of emergency” was posted.

Thanks Huma,
link here

Images from Flickr & Google Images

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Meez Exportable Avatar

my topical ghetto muffin crank dat dancin’ obama lovin’ exportable animated avatar.

Meez works as an avatar signature for the various media platforms you might work in. Instead of forcing the users into one virtual space, avatar identity is exportable. And danceable, of course.

The future of the music industry

How many people still cling to CD playing at home when a coolly-styled mp3 player could be slid into the pocket and carried everywhere? What is the future for retail music stores when people could easily download music from the internet? What are the solutions to the decline of the music industry? Artists and music companies are obsessed with these questions and eagerly seeking a way out of the predicament. The answers swayed between utter despair and optimism.

Some people, especially the youngsters, who have easier access to the internet than their parents, believe the days of traditional music industry are counted. On the other hand, those skeptical to new technology are waiting for some effective control of online download to bring people back to retail shops. I find a touch of utopia in the second attitude. I take no doubt in the digitalization of music consumption as the inexorable destiny of future tide. The old model of music economy would not run well without modification.

Think Kodak for example. As we all know, Kodak used to be the tycoon in film selling and developing. But this market shrank at the rate of about 50% every year after the emergence of digital camera. Instead of waiting passively, Kodak took pre-emptive actions. It developed digital camera of its own brand. Its main business shifted quickly to photography printing, while it still sells films, but only to those advanced users. In this way, Kodak successfully transformed its industrial structure and keeps its lead place in the market.

We could make a parallel with the music industry. First of all, retail music stores should cater to the needs of advanced users of music, say enthusiastic fans, professionals and those who have a delicate palate. Without doubt, the timbre of CD recordings is finer than that of mp3 music. Though small in number, this group of people would make up of the bulk of future CD consumers.

For ordinary users, music companies should be reoriented to helping people better enjoy music. As Dave Kusek, a pioneer in this digital music revolution, pointed out, "It is going to become more about having access to music than actually owning it." Likewise, other than being merely a place selling albums, retail stores could become the centre of music and offer services from live show tickets booking to souvenir exhibition such as signed T-shirts, even to teaching those technophobes how to download music.

Last but not least, cross-field cooperation with some high-tech companies is greatly encouraged. With the quick development of technology, it is not difficult to imagine a mobile phone with Mp3 player and other up-to-date functions. Today, music is no longer merely a series of musical notes which happens to sound agreeable to your ear. It could also be a ring tone, a multimedia message, even a personal identification. In this newly discovered world, music industry could play a more positive role.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Twitter: A new Web2.0 Application Part Two

In my last post about Twitter, the most interesting topic in 2007 Chinese Blogger Conference, I have posed a question: Will Twitter become a new popular channel and a profitable web2.0 application in China. To answer this question we have discussed one significant advantage of Twitter: China has a huge amount of mobile phone users with strong interest to text message communication, the method of Twitter users reading and writing micro-blog via mobile phone. In this post, I will discuss another important advantage of Twitter in China: Blog. Why? Because Twitter, micro-blog, is still a kind of Blog, whether Chinese consumers have interest to Blog and whether the service providers can gain profits from Blog are important factors for us to predict the future of Twitter in China.

According to our study, Blog or Blog group(Bolg Circle), Blog has been widely used by Chinese Internet users since 2003. Up to July 2007, the number of blogers has reached 30.94 million, 19.1% of the total amount of Internet users. If only 10 percent of Blogger has interest to Twitter, the potential size of Twitter user will reach 3 million. Moreover, for the service providers' end, Blog has already become a profitable industry for them. According to the statistical data from Baidu, up to November 2007, the number of blog service providers has reached 658. The most influential national portal websites, such as Sina.com, Sohu.com, Tencent and Netease, as well as the International Corporations, such as Microsoft MSN, have joined the rank of blog service providers. They all believe that Blog is a profitable business in China. So we may expect micro-blog, Twitter may also become a profitable service for its service providers in the near future.

From what has been discussed, we may say that, first, Twitter, micro-blog, has a big size of potential users. Second, from the service providers' end, it may become a profitable industry for the service providers.

What do you think about Twitter?

We hope to hear your ideas.

To be continued.

Travel as a Vocation

Travel used to be regarded as an escape from the routine of everyday life, but my experience has shown that it is quite the reverse.

I have been buried with books and essays in my tiny little room since the Easter holiday until now. And I am longing to breathe some fresh air in the Continent. I thought going across the English Channel is not too big a problem, at least in the sense of Geography. However, the gap actually is much wider than I expected.

First of all, I need a Schengen visa. To get one, I need to get my bank statement, my status letter from school, and my travel insurance ready. What's more, I need to book my air tickets and restaurants in advance. Instead of escaping the daily routine, I am jumping into a even deeper water of infinite self-imfliction.

Now, I am getting more and more hesitated whether or not the fresh air in the Continent is attractive enough and I am thinking what the meaning of travel is.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Quaterlife: make imaginary friends

During this Hollywood screenwriters’ strike, CBS ran an ad in the CSI: New York break for Virtual CSI in Second Life. It occurred to me that this channel––the vw one––with essentially all UCC was good to go if the network never came back up.

Coincidentally or strategically (pick your poison), Quarter Life , the Web-based series created by producers of Thirty something and My-so-called-life Premiered November 11.

The image here is a screen shot of Quaterlife characters (fictive) who have been friended by actual
Myspace users. Witness ARG kookiness to a delightful degree. My only question is why didn’t they use Facebook since that’s the demographic this show hearts.

Creators Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick got this very right. The production value. The story. The blog p.o.v. The back-story shots. The micro episodes of eight-minutes each. Game on. (Although, I’d like to see some black people on it, or Asian, or, South Asian…something…you get my drift.) Btw, Scion branded these episodes hard.
Link to detailed review

Furry Love on film

Thank you Boing Boing TV for bringing us selections from American Furry documentary. The film’s Subtitle: "Life, Liberty, and the Fursuit of Happiness." Watch out Cadillac. Cosplay with enhanced hearing & night vision, perhaps this is the true hybrid ;-)

Monday, November 12, 2007

2007 Chinese Bogger Conference and Twitter

Chinese Blogger Conference has taken place in Beijing as well as virtually on the Internet from November 3 to 4 in Beijing. It's the third national wide Blogger Conference in China. It provided us a good chance to have a close look at the new trends and development in China's Cyberspace. What we want to discuss here is Twitter, the first and the most interesting panel in the third Chinese Blogger Conference.

What is Twitter?

If you ask this question, you will be considered an outdated guy.

Twitter is the most new and cool topic not only in western world but also in China. Twitter is the mobile phone micro-blog. A more accurate definition form wikipedia is: 'Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send "updates" (text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) to the Twitter website, via short message service, instant messaging, email, or an application such as Twitterrific." It is a bridge between Cyberspace and mobile media. Twitter is a new web2.0 service founded by Obvious Corp, an US based company. Now it is considered to be a web2.0 platform and business model that may have even more potential than Youtube and Facebook, especially in China. As a research group that has studied mobile media in China for 3 years, we almost agree with their ideas. The first advantage of Twitter in China is the huge size of mobile subscribers. According to the most updated data from MII (Ministry of Information Industry of China), up to September 2007, the number of mobile phone subscribers has reached 523 million. Now China is the biggest market of mobile phone and wireless communication in the world. This is an obvious advantage for Twitter in China. The potential market size is really big. If one percent of the mobile phone users use Twitter, the number of Twitter users will reach 5 million. Besides, the usage of mobile phone in China is also an advantage to promote Twitter in China. Like other East Asian countries, Japan and Korea for example, text message is extreme popular in China. According to the report from MII, in the first 8 months in 2006, the text message volume reached 273.67 billion, representing an increase of 43.6% compared with the same period of the previous year. In China, especially in the urban areas, text message has entered every corner of life. So people may feel very natural to write blog via text message. Thus, Twitter gets more chance to become a new popular communication channel.

What do you think about Twitter? Do you believe it will become a popular communication channel and profitable industry?

We hope to hear your ideas.

To be continued.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Paradox of A Digital Camera

The appearance of digital camera and its low cost greatly releases people's pent-up passion towards photography. Photography has become a new type of entertainment, popular especially with youngsters.

Digital camera also becomes a must for travel. Surely, photos help people to preserve their memory. But it is a strange phenomenon that sometimes camera takes up the central place of travel instead of its owners, the human beings.

When you walk in the streets of London, everywhere you see travelers busily taking pictures of some historic sites. If you do not take a picture of you and some landmark of London together, Big Ben for example, it is like you have not been there.

More strangely, in the museum of Louvre in Paris, some travelers did not spare their precious time to watch the pictures per se. Instead, they hurried with taking picture of them along with the illustrations. I really doubt if they would take time to read them at home. Probably not.

By Wei Shen

Friday, November 09, 2007

Yochai Benkler Cooperation and Human Systems Design notes

Harvard law scholar Yochai Benkler talked on Monday at a MIT Media Lab colloquium about his new work on cooperation. He focus was Design Levers in human systems of cooperation. For example, building for greatest reciprocity when reciprocity come in a variety of flavors, such as strong, negative and altruistic. Baskin-Robbins’ 31 pales in comparison. It all sounds very scientific, and it is. He calls upon economists, anthropologists and psychologists to support his analysis. Nonetheless, the basic idea here is to augment human uses of human beings—not machinic or scientific. He does an anatomy lesson of cooperation systems toward the goal of better understanding of collective intelligence, commons resources, value systems...the things that make community.

The hypothesis, which sounds impossibly general, came out something like:

In a given situation, some people will cooperate.

He explains that cooperation is contextual and contingent. The big change though, the notion of cooperation as a disruptive technology (my phrase not the level-headed Benkler’s), is that cooperation is increasingly becoming a model for all kinds of interactions in our culture. The Western–technologically-advance-first-world-free-market is already altered in its traditional functions because of accelerated communications systems…and augmented information-sharing technologies. If you extrapolate from
Wealth of Networks, Benkler’s highly influential book, and mashed it up with his comments about market values being out of step with moral and civic values, you get some of the direction he is going in with cooperation and its radical butterfly effect.

Benkler bracketed the talk as exploratory, it being still early on in his research. What he laid out were 10 categories of cooperation to be parsed and cross-referenced.

The ten terms

1. Communication

2. Humanization

3. Trust

4. Norms

5. Fairness

6. Punishment and discipline

7. solidarity/group identity

8. Transparency

9. Leadership/asymmetrical contributions

10. Self-selection/entry & exit of system

He points out that the cost of cooperation matters. Fairness matters. Neither money nor punishment is the absolute arbiters of behavior.

Ask him to tell the Herschel’s cookie joke. If you want the literature cited in the talk email me.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Olympics are in your pocket: Part One

Olympics are in your pocket!

This is the slogan of the mobile giant, China Mobile, in 2007 and 2008. By saying Olympics are in your pocket, they mean that mobile phone will become a main channel for the people around the world to participate in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In 2004, China Mobile was selected as the partner and the mobile communication service provider of Beijing Olympics. According to the report of People's Daily, China Mobile will provide all mobile communications networks and services to the Beijing Olympic Games, 2008 Paralympic Games, the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games (BOCOG), the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC). By riding on Beijing Olympics, it's obvious that the mobile giant has strengthened its dominant position in China's mobile communication market. Through the strategies of China Mobile in Beijing Olympics, we will have a good chance to explore the new phenomena in mobile media and predict the future trends in China's mobile communication market.

One interesting example is mobile TV. Mobile TV was reported to be one of the most desirable services in 3G era in China. According a report released by In-Stat, almost one third of the Chinese consumers has shown strong interest to mobile TV. But will mobile TV play a significant role in Beijing Olympics and take this advantage to become a new popular service? My answer is YES as long as China Mobile adds mobile TV into its packages. According to the latest research from Juniper Research, mobile TV market in China will grow from $36 million in 2007 to $98 million during the Olympic Games in 2008.

What do you think about mobile TV?
Will mobile TV play a significant role in 2008 Olympics?
We are looking forward to hearing your ideas.

To be continued.