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June 03, 2003

The future of media publishing - personal or commerical

At Harvard Business School's recent colloquium -
"The Bandwidth Explosion - Living and Working in a Broadband World"
, Eric Schmidt of Google and Rob Glaser of RealNetworks debated the future of media publishing in a world of more and cheaper broadband.

Broadband will drive the self-publishing of video and audio, expects Schmidt. That view explains their recent purchase of Pyra Labs (maker of Blogger), which was met with skepticism by many commentators. (Some others see it as a good fit. ) Traditional Big Media and Big Software will try very hard to kill standard, open formats for video and audio. According to Schmidt, unless they succeed, self-published "multimedia blogs" will one day rule.

Glaser's RealNetworks, with the hard evidence of over 1M subscribers paying a monthly fee to access CNN, ABCNewsLive, Major League Baseball, and other traditional content, sees more and more traditional media showing up on the Web. Metadata and searching is the power of the new paradigm. Is the ability to search rich metadata and random access to well-targeted content enough?

Or is TiVo on track to be the new RealONE Superpass (on-demand, random access to all the traditional media you want) while personal publishing rules in the Web world?

It certainly was interesting to participate and hear the differing opinions of Schmidt, Glaser, and the other industry luminaries that took part in the colloquium. Thanks go to HBS Profs Rob Austin and Steve Bradley for an excellent event.

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