Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunday: On not getting it

Dana Blankenhorn posts a bit called: ESPN Mobile:When Will They Ever Learn? In it he exasperatedly blasts the idea that the internet is a "content delivery" device:
The idea that mobile devices, or Internet devices, are merely conduits through which people will passively pay for content has been around for a decade, and despite continual failures, the message never seems to get through to the content companies.
The point of departure for his ire is the ongoing falure of "mobile services" and ESPN mobile in particular. He could have named everything from AOL to the plethora of pay news portals that struggle to ignore the lessons of the runaway success of everything from email lists to mobile phones, to bloggers, to digg, to flicker.

It's not about establishing distribution "channels."

It's about communication. Engaging people has always been about conversation.

Our current channel madness--folding content chosen by the provider into a limited media that the public was willing to pay for--grew up in a period of bandwidth scarcity. Newspapers, broadcast TV, Cable, the AOL's of the world and ESPN mobile all share one trait--You could accept that packaging or do without. That's fairly stable until real choice arrives. AOL was killed by and newspapers are succumbing to the web's open abundance. In today's digital age the providers struggle to maintain the illusion of scarcity in order to create profit centers for themselves. The brohaha about network neutrality is about nothing more than the phone companies wanting into the game the cablecos are playing.

When LUS opens up big pipes in Lafayette it will, locally, mean the end of bandwidth scarcity. You can look for channels, walled gardens, and every other form of corralling content to be in eminent danger.

What'll replace it? It's worth thinking on.

Lafayette will have a vote in that election--by what we choose to build here.

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