“The e-trailer of the future: digital media challenges and opportunities for business”

Submitted by: Gabriel Mullarkey 25/07/2010

“The e-trailer of the future: digital media challenges and opportunities for business”

The mechanics and methodology of 20th century industry were adopted to produce mass culture at a rate never seen before. According to the Marxist ‘The Frankfurt School’, mass media is a direct result of industrialism (Creeber and Martin, 2009 ). This resulted in the unidirectional flow of information from the top-down. At the other end of the “one-to-many”

The proliferation of digital media in today’s society is due in part to the miniaturisation and portability of devices that offer ‘computer-mediated communication’ (Creeber and Martin 2009. The internet has from its inception been a platform for publishing. namely the portability of hardware. 2010). The current generation of ‘smart phones’ are essentially fully functional highly portable computers with all the functionality of a personal computer. Public generated content is already channelled into highly profitable and successful online outlets such as You Tube. A variety of applications are available on these devices that help the user stay in touch with friends and view online content. 2010). The progression from telephony device to interactive multimedia display makes mobile communication devices an attractive new platform for struggling traditional media publishers to launch their products to digital media generation. Much in the same way the products of 20th century industrialisation have become inherent parts of our culture and lifestyles. Flickr and Facebook.(Telus. Any low to mid-range mobile phone can receive digital media content through a service provider without the user having to install third-party software or upgrade the firmware. Traditional processes are simply not compatible with the digital age. p. The overall progression interconnectivity is creating a complex where innumerable active life forms contribute to growth. In the first half of 2009. The vast and varied opportunities brought about by industrialisation in the last centuary will be echoed in this century by advances in digital technology. the many to many system characteristic of the digital media age allows for previously unheard of opportunity for businesses to connect to consumers and for those consumers to become an economic force in their own right. more sociable software and increasing bandwidth are the driving forces behind the digital media revolution. The abundant connections.107). The current economic downturn has severely affected advertising revenue for traditional print media. always on and interactive. the way we consume and produce digital information will have a marked effect on our everyday lives in the 21st century. Conventional press rely on industrial printing processes and extensive distribution channels which are both very costly and labour intensive. We must look at the digital media landscape as ecology rather than an economy in order to gain from it (Naughton. 2008) system of traditional mass media was the passive consumer with little or no communication channels. almost 400 magazine titles have gone out of business in the US with many others migrating to the web as their only outlet (Worple and Kissing. Technological advances in recent years. 2007. These devices have reached a level of intimacy with people never before experienced by personal computing. By 1999 blogs were described as "the new Internet craze" (Herring et al. Digital media by contrast is fast. 4) where the public could compose web content easily from their . The other key component is the consumer who now has unprecedented opportunity to contribute content to the web.

Recently. desktop computers and smartphones . These products offer a new interactive platform for the public to contribute to content as well as consuming it.7 inch touch-sensitive screen and wireless capabilities. Presently most physical publications have websites and many of these sites allow for public interactivity through the various technological platforms. 2010) with its large 9. the next generation of hypertext markup language that is used to create web pages. referring to the hunched position adopted while using them. The documents are viewable online through the website and can be easily shared through social networks. Publishers of any size can use Scribd with 80 percent of the proceeds going back to the owner. the mobility. audio and text rich content. The biggest change to arise from tablet computing may well be a shift in control from the traditional mass media publishers to modern small-scale digital media publishers. Back issues and archive versions are readily available on these sites in addition to comprehensive search engine technology. The future potential of digital publishing is reliant on a willingness of existing publishers to embrace technology and respect consumers as they are a growing force in the industry. 2010).laptops. It is designed for basic computing but excels at the 'consumption of pre-prepared multimedia content' (Naughton. Scribd has almost 10 million digital documents with 2 million readers each day (Weir. These have been described as 'lean forward' devices (Worple and Kissing. There are more and more outlets for the public to publish. fast upload and download and multi platform connectivity. Founded in 2007 . For all the positives of digital media. One example of where digital media publishing is going is Scribd. Apple Ipad's inability to run the Flash plugin is an example. a new tablet format of mobile device has been released to fill the gap and open a world of opportunity for publishers of all sizes.are far removed from the ergonomics of print media. can be displayed without any 3rd party plugins meaning more universal coverage and increased ease of use. 2010) they provide the user with the ergonomics of traditional print media through a technological device. The recently released Ipad from Apple is seen by many as the next step in mobile technology and a saviour for the industry. HTML5 web pages. The very fact a vast amount of content produced today is ‘digital’ and . The appearance of similar devices with competing operating systems is likely to add to existing compatibility issues faced by such devices. Video and audio are also incorporated to give a much more dynamic experience than traditional media. Scribed is likely to become a leading player in publishing for both public and established media by futureproofing their system and eliminating compatibility issues. the formats on which we consume the content . What makes Scribd a force in the future of publishing is the fact they are currently converting all of their content to 'HTML5'.personal computers. While publishers have embraced internet technology. As 'lean back' devices (Worple and Kissing. particularly for the Entertainment. 2010). these very aspects are paradoxically proving challenging. with video. a progressive move for the print industry.

Sony BMG has recently ceased copyright protection on it's content available on the internet (Holahan. However. Microsoft. 2008). Digital content producers agree to a common file format and pool their content together. therefore the system is readily corruptible (Rayburn and Hoch. Both were poorly received and no longer feature predominantly in either company's future plans (Edwards. 2003). Widespread pirating of digital content and intellectual property goes hand in hand with publishing on the web. the act of computing itself will become a piped-in commodity reducing the reliance on personal . the former with 'Play For Sure' and the later with Viiv. 2005).much of it is hosted on the Internet means it is indefinitely reproducible and not confined geographically. Technology giants Microsoft and Intel. 3G and WiMAX coverage enables near universal internet access in most of the Western world. A potential answer to the monetisation of digital media may lie in standardised frameworks like the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) that is due to be launched in the near future (Edwards. Traditional copyright laws haven’t been able to keep track with the rapid progression of digital media in recent years (LaMonica. The always-on nature of mobile devices and the increasing reliance on the network will see ‘Cloud Computing’ becoming an integral part of how we create and consume digital media in the coming decades (du Pre Gauntt. 2010). Current broadband. Any business who wants their digital content distributed via the DECE system will need to comply to the guidelines and display appropriate branding. Much like the way 19th century onsite power generators were abandoned in favour of the electric grid. This system relies on a “Buy Once. no date). This cloud-based library is known as a "rights locker". have experimented with digital rights management systems before. The 25 year old Sun Micro System slogan "the network is the computer" has never been so relevant. Founding companies include the biggest technology and media producers in the world including Sony. However great the impact new mobile devices and content management will have on the digital media landscape. The apparent desire of the largest names in traditional media and technology to cooperate and collude in providing a flexible and profitable solution may well be the defining factor in the success of DECE and consequently for all future content providers. the RIAA and Fox Entertainment (Jesdanun. 2008). Digital media content publishers have also experimented with digital rights management. Play Anywhere” ideology. all would cease to function without connection to the internet. both founding members of the DECE. An authentication service manages the consumer's access to the media. previous attempts at managing digital rights over various platforms has failed to take off. The monetisation of content is a real concern for the producers of digital media and one that needs to be addressed before all producers can benefit. 2008). Cloud computing refers to the sharing of computing resources online.

2 billion on it's IT budget by implementing a cloud based IT strategy. edit and convert content to digital media efficiently. to multifunction interconnected programs. Despite still being in it's infancy. responsible for the architecture necessary for the service to function and the customer as the club member only uses the service features they need. Google docs offers all of the functionality of Microsoft's Office while being entirely web-based and free to Google account holders. Reduced overheads will be a driving factor for future industry turning to the cloud. One example is the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model of where applications are hosted online. these tools are enabling the amateurs and professionals alike to produce. While currently not powerful enough to trouble established software brands like Adobe and Microsoft. The British government. Du Pre Gauntt (2010) uses a 'private club' metaphor when describing the SaaS model. . A developer can benefit by quickly and cheaply developing web applications without hardware and system backups being a concern. for example. Browser-based web applications are becoming more sophisticated and viable alternatives to commercial software. This would include an application store providing tools for the various government departments (Kiss. The club member can enjoy their particular privileges by just showing their card at the entrance. It also tells the club where to find the member's table and how it should be arranged. This will offer industry unprecedented levels of efficiency and productivity in the future as introduction of the electric grid had in the past. online and with little or no expense. used primarily for casual web use. a free online office suite. From simple calculation tools like unit converters and calculators.hardware (Arthur 2010). web applications will become a viable option for business' content production in the years to come. 2009). there are very encouraging prospects for the web application industry. cloud computing currently offers a number of key advantages for business. Even in areas of the economy where spending cuts are ubiquitous at the moment. Google App Engine for example now offers developers the opportunity to build applications using Google's architecture. Web applications are proving to be powerful tools in the creation of digital content. Applications like Jaycut. It's popularity is gaining momentum within business with a recent IDC survey showing that it is "widely used" in 1 out of 5 companies in the US (Thibodeau. The act of creating these web applications is increasingly evolving into a cloud-based activity. 2010). In an SaaS model the service provider is the club. Web applications are not only limited to low powered office tools. Video. An example of a web-based application's growing presence in business circles is Google Docs. This offers a wealth of opportunity for the next generation of web application producers. The club member has a membership card describing who they are and the services available to them. hopes to save £3. This makes the SaaS model a very efficient option for forward looking business. image and audio editing web applications are available at little or no cost. In the world of public content creation.

While there is usually a cash incentive this is not always the case. many teenagers may not . To understand the effect crowdsourcing will have on future business. An example of this in action can be seen through Playfish products. an example of how traditional industry are showing interest in web based systems The plethora of online tools available to the public is fuelling the digital media ecosystem. EA Games bought Playfish for $300 million in November 2009. Producing web-based content with web-based tools will have obvious advantages for business in the coming years. Businesses currently use crowdsourcing by collaborating with both amateurs and professionals to create content or solve problems through social networking platforms. from a product to a cloudbased service is an example of the changing face of the media we consume. Because it is cloud-based. Today. the former with it's 'Ideastorm' forum and the later with a poster design competition. On the consumer end. Entries are then submitted and the company then vets the entries and rewards the content producer or problem solver thus owning the content or solution. currently attracting 9 million users daily. Playfish accommodate the various platforms and a single session of a game can be continued on another platform. The youth of today lives in a world saturated with technology. much like the way a web based email can be saved on one device and completed on another. Aviary even has an entire suite of multimedia tools that available free through an internet browser. Furthermore overheads will be lowered due to efficient pay-as-you go structures and less software investment. This shift has not gone unnoticed. There are often several stages in the crowdsourcing process. The diversely skilled and well equipped public is proving to be an increasingly valuable resource that will be realised in the coming years. The content will have instant social connectivity with consumers or clients through integrated social networks. This shift in the format of computer games. cloud based SaaS models will give the public an ever increasing level of social interactivity through the various platforms and integration with other models. Firstly the company proposes a problem or requests a product. we must examine the digital activities and habits of our youth. A recent development for businesses sees them turning to the public for what De Wolfe (2007) calls the "savvy of the masses". Companies from Dell to music festivals like the Electric Picnic have embraced crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing has proven to be a considerably cheaper and often faster solution for businesses compared to conventional in-house staff or outsourced professionals (Brandel 2007). This has come to be known as 'crowdsourcing'. the future workforce and entrepreneurs. Playfish produce games that are tied in with social networking sites and rely on in-game competition between friends as a key function. After just 2 years in business and with a handful of titles.Splashup and Aviary offer the full spectrum of multimedia content production and editing on a web-based platform.

The always-on nature of the internet and mobile technology makes it easy to acquire the relevant information instantly anywhere and at anytime. The most striking difference between the two is digital native's readiness to contribute to the digital media landscape in which they dwell. The student programmers were asked to collaborate on producing to a licensed version of the game known as Counter-Strike and by 2003 it became the most popular multi player game on the internet. Where a digital immigrant will display many analogue habits. CounterStrike. They contribute to digital media with the same enthusiasm as the previous generations consumed traditional media. social networks and on-line games are a part of their every day lives. Traditional tools and resources are ignored and replaced with online applications. a first person shooter game that was playable online. 2009. texts. Thompson (2007) describes how we have "outsourced important peripheral brain functions to the silicon around us". preferring edit it on-screen (Prensky. A constant stream of always-on digital media instant messages. Howe remarks that instead of sending solicitor's letters to the programmers. This became an instant worldwide success. The current generation of teenagers will be part of the workforce in a decades time so how do corporations and businesses capitalise on their proactive approach to digital media consumption and production? Howe (2008) describes how one computer game company has utilised user generated content (UGC) with great success.remember a time before mobile phones and laptops with internet connections. to be "prosumers" as well as consumers (Tapscott. Croudsourcing succeeds through intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivations (Howe 2009). The instant recall of data clearly isn't a negative attribute of the digital age for either producers or . Extrinsic motivations include monetary rewards and pressure from superiors in a company. They also released editing software with the game to enable some customisation. p11). Valve released a game called Half Life in 1998. Valve embraced the new game. 2001) because of their fluency in the digital language. This is a vastly different stance than that taken by the record companies today who see their profits decline as they take a hard-line on copyright infringement. Such a technologically adept generation have been dubbed "digital natives" (Prensky. unprecedented for a 'modded' game. some enterprising student programmers used the editing software to create an entirely new game. It can be deduced that this particular method of capitolising on the digital native through crowdsourcing is both more fulfilling for the creator and productive for business. The digital native is distinguished from the 'digital immigrant' by the intrinsic role technology and digital media plays in their lifestyle. blogs. 2001). harnessing the creative capabilities of the next generation in a collaborative manner may not be an easy process for industry. However. Despite the benefits of crowdsourcing and cloud computing. printing out an email to edit it for instance. community and reputation. the digital native has no such "accent". Intrinsic motivations on the other hand refer to more personal fulfillments such as creativeness.

Carr (2008) summarises current scientific thinking on this matter. particularly in the problem-solving and decision making part of the brain compared to the novice user (Carr. The new tests showed a dramatic shift in their brain function to resemble the experienced web users.consumers. industry must accommodate for the new way of thinking. 2010). as a potential workforce and consumer group. the novices were tested six days later after searching the internet for an hour a day. reliance on technology for the instant attainment of information has lead many to believe that the brains of the upcoming generation will work differently to the current generation. Industrialisation spawned the corporations and busness models we know today. Considering the next generation workforce and consumers will be ever more dependent on digital tools. the long commute home to the suburbs after work for example. hurried and distracted thinking. the rate of this change in the human brain is rapid. Howe (2008) describes these types of business structures as 'artifacts of an earlier age when information was scarce and all decisions. One particular study involved scanning experienced and non-experienced web users as they searched for information on the internet. It is not the first time new technology has changed the way our minds function. However the digital revolution has changed this cycle. be they cloudsourced web applications or social networking. Despite this. Carr (2008) points out how the use of mechanical timekeeping devices as a previous example of how technology can fundamentally change the way we live and think. trickled down from on high'. Another consideration for industry is the changing shape of how we do business in the digital age. one-way communication from the corporate hierarchy. as well as the lifestyles subsequently adopted by the workforce. He describes how further studies on digital media multi-taskers show that they are easily distracted and have poor memory and concentration compared to light users. the incremental blurring of the lines between producer and consumer will call for a radical shift in our business structures. In the workplace there was the top-down. for the sake of efficiency. and superficial learning. It showed the experienced user's brain activity was much more expansive. This would suggest that extensive web use and interaction with digital media not only creates a seemingly higher functioning individual. Studies into the effect digital media has on our brain function have shown heavy web user's brains act differently to those who are new to the internet. describing the digital landscape as 'an environment that promotes cursory reading. In addition to this. digitally fluent Beings seems like good news for business. Suburbs and long commutes are still a reality for . Furthermore. However. From the outside the next generation of ostensibly high functioning. This leads to a fragmented society and workforce at odds with the natural social fabric and the sense of community. the near infinite vault of information that makes up the internet and the way we interact with it is having a detrimental impact on our thinking. Information is now abundant and decentralised thanks to the internet.

creative individuals. Industry must react to capitalise on the resulting resource of free content and creativity. all in their spare time and for no monetary gain. page 109) remarks on the contrasts between traditional systems of content creation and the modern community crowdsourced equivalent coming to the conclusion that "the community is taking the place of the corporation". Industry must respect the intrinsic nature of these communities. Youtube was valued at $1. business will gain a great deal from looking at the digital community. In the digital age where information is king. together with the motivational qualities of competition results in a highly efficient system with a defect rate well below the industry average and timelines halved (Howe 2008). networked groups should not be seen as a destructive force but as an invaluable talent pool from which to draw. Youtube is an example of a business model where the community create all of the content.65 billion dollars. To use the community effectively to complete a particular job. each project is broken down into small parts. As the consumer's production of digital content continues to evolve and expand. reward participation by increasing reputation and work together in an intrinsic manner. As a actual company. An example of how the community itself can be used effectively as a resource can be seen in action at the Topcoder site. Even the quality control is outsourced to the community. . From personal blogs and product reviews on shopping sites to crowdsourcing talent. This is a community of a quarter of a million code writers who compete to write code on prestigious projects for companies like AOL. user generated content (UGC) is changing the digital playing field. From the automatic self-policing policies to the natural camaraderie and from the productive competitiveness to the staggering efficiency. What Google bought wasn't the personnel or the office but the community who in under 2 years turned an internet startup into a billion dollar corporation. Crowdsourcing. Industry's application of digital media and technology is ever-changing and complex and it will undoubtedly play an increasingly larger role in developing relationships with the consumer. the line between consumer and producer has blurred considerably. At the time they were acquired by Google. By web standards it is massive with 100 million video views a day. the coders compete on each section and the winner is awarded a cash prize.many but meaningful communities have developed once more. the content these comunities create is a colossal free resource and the members make up a substantial talent pool that industry is only beginning to tap into. online tools and most importantly online networking have fundamentally altered the top-down business model we have grown accustomed to since the industrial revolution. The large body of like-minded. this time online. The future workplace will benefit more and more from the online community and it's many advantages. Youtube is small by most standards with under 70 employees. These communities police themselves. Howe (2008. These skilled.

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