Monday, May 15, 2006

Editing a manuscript (2): Trends

To get in the right mood for editing the book I started to read the introduction by Prof. Dr. Peter A. Bruck. According to him the digital content industry is facing a number of new changes and issues which are worth recounting at the beginning of this book:

- The Wiki Movement: Users are challenging established ownership and distribution arrangements, whether through P2P networks or open access/open archive publishing conventions, or through new mass distribution and inter-community trading. Network availability and broadband applications create possibilities for new forms of expression by users. See the success of Wikipedia where users are content creators for an entire encyclopaedia.

- Different sectors react differently: Scientific, technical and medical publishing has gone towards full digitisation and digital delivery. In the games sector a new on-line segment has developed. Intellectual property and copying issues remain crucial.

- Three modes of pay: subscription, pay per use/view and access charges remain the key ways for generating revenues. Companies survive if they are able to generate positive revenue feedback cycles when growing numbers of paying users foster the marketing, development, and distribution of online content and services, which in turn might draw more paying users.

- Content Gap and Economic Issues: The creative ICT and digital content industries are challenged to develop innovative contents adapted to broadband, mobile or fixed; to co-operate and change roles among value chain players (in particular between content owners, network operators, Internet service providers, hardware and consumer electronics suppliers); to fight digital piracy and deal with the role of file-sharing; Major concerns are the role of intellectual property in protecting ownership in both products and services, the enforcement of copyright in a digital world, defining and monitoring fair use and the boundaries of legitimate use, and the interaction between competition law and copyright; to create a regime for digital rights management and customer authentication; to put into place efficient payment methods (especially for micro-payments).

- Content Gap and SMEs: Operating in the new digital content industries is highly complex and challenging: legal issues are critical, the definition of software and application products complex and licensing negotiations often more lengthy and complicated due to intricate technical issues and differing legal regimes across platforms and countries. In addition, oligopolistic content markets with a strong role of market leaders, exclusive access to content or networks (network access gatekeepers) make it very difficult if not impossible for SMEs to stay in the market in the longer run and deploy broadband applications and content.

- Financing Cycles: The climate for private investment in the creative ICTs is a-cyclical to the technological advance: Three to five years ago money was readily available, but the technology mostly narrowband; today rich media (DVD-Offline) and broadband (Online and Mobile) could deliver new contents and innovative services, but the investors have been burnt away. Often, investment in digital content and digital delivery has to be sustained by margins derived from traditional market activity. Very few successful new ways of generating revenue have emerged.

- Moore’s Law is working to increase Content Gap: Performance increases and productivity gains increase functionalities and reduce prices for users. Often, these gains require structural changes in content creation and delivery industries. On the supply side the new generations of ICTs are leading to changes in the market structure of telecommunications, information services and content firms. Essentially, all the players must reinvent themselves. Network operators need to generate revenue to support investment in next-generation networks and replace loss of traditional business (see: Triple Play). For intermediaries, the market churn is very high and there are few winners.

- Market complexities increase: New sets of business activities and new roles emerge in the creative ICT and content industry: content design and aggregation, marketing of publishing offers, rights acquisition / management, packaging and distributing content, content protection, management of emerging publishing services, design and sale of interactive advertisement spaces, profiling users, integrated billing management, payment management, customer relation management, security/control services, access management.


Blog Posting Number: 378

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