Sep 232008

(short LAMP watercooler cross post)

…and we are all encouraged to be a part of the demise of mankind for a few months starting on October 6th. I suggest you join the facebook group which will keep you up to date with events. Feed your experiences into your blog/s, find wiki’s tracking events then contribute and of course post flickr and YouTube response videos. Also subscribe to the SuperStruct Global Extinction Awareness System YouTube channel.

We are all in this together!

To start the event off lets fast forward to 2019 and see what is happening through the eyes of GEAS (Global Extinction Awareness System), then immerse yourself in the fiction, the game, the social media entertainment event of the year…I hope!

Superstruct Superthreat: Power Struggle

Superstruct Superthreat: Generation Exile

Superstruct Superthreat: Outlaw Planet

Superstruct Superthreat: Quarantine

Superstruct Superthreat: Ravenous


Q: What is Superstruct?

A: Superstruct is the world’s first massively multiplayer forecasting game. By playing the game, you’ll help us chronicle the world of 2019–and imagine how we might solve the problems we’ll face. Because this is about more than just envisioning the future. It’s about making the future, inventing new ways to organize the human race and augment our collective human potential.

Q: What does “superstruct” mean?

Su`per`struct´ v. t. 1.To build over or upon another structure; to erect upon a foundation.

Superstructing is what humans do. We build new structures on old structures. We build media on top of language and communication networks. We build communities on top of family structures. We build corporations on top of platforms for manufacturing, marketing, and distribution. Superstructing has allowed us to survive in the past and it will help us survive the super-threats.

Q: How do I play Superstruct?

A: Superstruct is played on forums, blogs, videos, wikis, and other familiar online spaces. We show you the world as it might look in 2019. You show us what it’s like to live there. Bring what you know and who you know, and we’ll all figure out how to make 2019 a world we want to live in.

Visit to sign up for news and updates!

Jun 052007

“Mixed Reality is the merging of real world and virtual worlds to produce new environments where physical and digital objects can co-exist and interact in real-time. - Wikipedia

Mixed Reality Storm 01 - orig photo by Andrew P Brooks

“I think we are really approaching a perfect storm, a mixed reality perfect storm, because we are seeing several things happening. The first one is a long history of games based on TV and films, the foundations are already there. Another force creating this storm is virtual worlds, particularly the exponential growth of customisable ones and more importantly external integration into them including live performance. The third force is audience behaviour. They are involved in far more simultaneous activity particularly between broadband web and TV. The fourth element to this perfect storm is actually what is happening to TV and film, especially live reality TV becoming more game like and film becoming fantasy based. All of these forces together are creating a really potent mix” – Gary Hayes 17 May 2007

While I am in ‘share talk’ mode here is a brief sixteen minute capture of a presentation I gave to a hundred or so Aussie media folk on 17 May recorded live at the at the AGL Theatre, Museum of Sydney (MoS). It took a while to put up as I ran a LAMP residential in Tasmania in between and a bunch of SL work. There were also great talks by colleagues Tony Walsh and Guy Gadney. (orig sea scene photo by Andrew P Brooks)

MP3 recording time 15:46 (7.7MB) Click to listen

Enhanced Podcast – M4v with 30 slides. (8.5MB) Click to download


A short 16m introduction from Gary Hayes who looks at the four forces that are coming together to create perfect conditions for this hybrid form of entertainment. He looks back 10 years at early inhabited TV 3D world experiments when he was an innovation producer at the BBC and then forward to the latest cross-over services where TV properties become virtual and where the virtual world appears inside traditional forms. He looks at virtual worlds such as, second life, PS3 Home, Habbo Hotel, Neopets etc: and how properties such as Big Brother, Laguna Beach, The Hills, Pimp My Ride and a range of consumer brands that are creating engaging and immersive hybrid entertainment.


All LAMP podcasts are also published through the iTunes store.

Audio processed by G Hayes

Aug 122006

I was quite shocked when I heard the news that TOTP (Top of the Pops) is to close down after 42 years and some 2100 episodes. Is this the first of many major ‘heritage’ media brands that are just becoming irrelevant in today’s easy find, on-demand and share with everyone emerging media landscape? Will many major brands simply not be able to turn back time?

Moving recently to the other side of the planet I am somewhat removed now from this cultural icon that became one of a few must see’s during the UK weekly schedule and Thursday evenings (thenFriday) was once THE place to decide what vinyl or CD to buy at the weekend. But I also have a personal connection to the brand having been the producer for six months of the interactive TV pilot back in 1999 which also coincided with a major brand face-lift – more on that later. The BBC News report “BBC Calls Time on Top of the Pops” though captures some of the mixed reaction to this and hints are some of the reasons why this has happened…

In a statement, the BBC said the weekly programme could no longer compete with 24-hour music channels.

“Noel Edmonds said he thought it was “dangerous” to “throw out one of the most recognised brands in TV today. It’s a huge commodity and kids are still listening to music, even if they are downloading it. It’s a tragedy when a broadcaster doesn’t understand such a powerful brand.”
“Top of the Pops has been overrun by video of music on TV.” Said Jimmy Saville. Mike Read, who was a presenter in the 1980s, said: “It was a situation that was obviously coming because of dwindling audiences.”

Top of the Pops – (perhaps paraphrased to ‘best examples of contemporary pop music’) has simply become irrelevant. It appeared to many of its audience as a live performance but, and I hope not to spoil the fantasy, it was never live in the last 10 years or so – I was close to the varying degrees of miming that took place on a pre-record a day before. No TOTP was nearer to a talent show than an up-to date place to really find out about new music. A weekly batch of eight songs selected by a couple of ‘programmers’ prior to a Monday morning production meeting was never going to survive in a world of twenty 24/7 digital music channels, peer-to-peer sharing and the likes of iTunes/iPod. No in the music long tail, a weekly sheduled programme that shows a handful of some of the music at the head of the tail would only survive if it had something truly live or unique.

The TOTP enhanced version, got a a few special XMas airings in a cut down form, but more importantly as a pilot was responsible along with a Wimbledon pilot, for convincing the BBC to do interactive broadcast media. In the pilot, we wanted to explore in one of the many features, a range of ‘extras’ such as those rare backstage glimpses that at least appealed to the ‘goss’ in all of us. But that was not enough. Neither was the ability to sing along in karaoke mode or a link to the video for those who were never keen on the staged ‘screaming kids’ pre-record. One thing I put in the pilot interactive TV version that never made it to the tx versions may have been its saviour (if there was a continous presence on 24/7 digital TV) and that was the web 2.0 elements. Alongside all the ‘insight’ information about the acts I was insistant on including in the pilot community areas that included simple casual games, emails, chat, voting and instant messages from viewers and forums around the show (see the images attached). But most big broadcasters are simply not very good at this sort of stuff, and chicken out, often with excuses of it being too difficult to moderate, or fall back on the technically too expensive excuse (I know we did) – so best leave that to the millions using free, easy to use, open source web 2.0 publishing software then – geez and we wonder why audiences are on a broadcaster exodus. But back to TOTP I really believe that the brand should have been given a chance and rather than a half hearted attempt at the eTV version around XMas specials, a TV 2.0 version would have allowed this particular icon to jump the chasm created by the latest tsunami sized digital wave. But that will never happen and the BBC Worldwide, commercial website, or the weaker version, may continue for a while until the brand itself fizzles out in the next few years.

The editorial stance that TOTP had that is now seen as an irrelevant voice to the music youth in the UK must shock other large media brands who believe their editorial team are truly representing what audiences want to consume. I even fear for MTV and those other 24/7 music loop channels who will be very soon relegated to ambient background or occasional party channels as the audience simply shifts to on-demand, shared playlists and only really trusts a global ‘collective recommendation’ system. An individual simply has their own personalized Top of the Pops, which incidentally changes moment to moment. No the editorial winners in the future are not teams sat inside boards rooms, those existing ‘heritage’ aggregators of content (magazines, broadcasters, film studios, newspapers) they will simply be a ‘wisdom of the crowds’ range of trusted filters. An avid music fan in Wisconsin becomes as important as the programmers at MTV or BBC – music will be found by searching for groups of trusted like-minded ‘browsers’ – Top of the Pops becomes Top of the Aggregators.

To put a slightly different slant on it, the distribution channel is now irrelevant for most media consumers, they can get their content in many ways, no now the important thing is trusted sources of links to content. YouTube and GoogleVideo will of course do the same to TV programming over the next few years that MP3 (etc) did to the music industry and TV music programming. The only TV programmes that will survive will not be the ones who simply plop their content a day earlier on iTunes but ones that differentiate themselves from the masses – those who build brand across multiple platforms and more importantly create a web 2.0 blanket around it. If viewers cannot resonate with the content they simply forward it and forget about it. Those brands that do have the ability to receive and incorporate audience content (and not of the “home video show” type – I hate it when some TV folk tell me that is already happening!) – but allow them to offer content and weave it into the fabric of the offering, which becomes effectively what TV magazine programmes used to be – a collection of what people like to see in one package. That will be far more important than anything sixty people, a well equipped six camera shoot studio and the record business can come up with.

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2006

Nov 232005

Personalization, on-the-move. Reported by a few blogs and spotted by New Scientist it looks like the race has begun for location aware profiling – TiVo have put in a patent for “a mobile personalization system“. The patent synopsis

A multimedia mobile personalization system provides a remote control that detects a user’s electronic tag, e.g. an RFID tag. The remote control notifies a multimedia device of the user’s identity. The multimedia devices tailors it operations to the user’s preferences stored locally. Multimedia content such as broadcast or recorded television programs, music play lists, and the like could be sorted, displayed, or restricted, depending on the user identifier.

This is long overdue especially as TV-Anytime which I co-led (and who had TiVo in its ranks for a few years) talked about the importance of mobile profiles in its phase two work – why expect a hundred systems to learn your likes and dislikes when you could do it once and have compatibility. Indeed I wrote several articles and papers on it over the last 5 years, one here. But as in other very recent TiVo developments its TiVoToGo software (report by StarTribune) aimed at video iPod and PSP has got the backs up of the TV industry. Variety in it’s article “Peeved over TiVo” reports that TiVo who already has upset the TV industry for many years with their ad skipping capability have now upset them again because they are allowing viewers to easily capture TV programmes and get them mobile! Especially after the $1.99 per programme business model which looked set to start TV down a new road…

The pioneer of the digital video recording bizbiz called the move an “enhancement” of its TiVoToGo service, which allows users to transfer recorded shows to a PC. The new software, which will be released early next year, allows users to transfer these files to a portable player.
“We’re making it easy for consumers to enjoy the TV shows they want to watch right from their iPod or PSP,” said TiVo CEO and former NBC exec Tom Rogers. (snip)
The immediate impact of the service, which will be offered soon after the new year, would be to undercut ABC’s video-on-demand offering, through which users can buy episodes of “Lost” and other shows for $1.99 each to view on PCs or video iPods.
NBC and CBS recently began offering skeins on-demand for 99¢ through DirecTV and Comcast, respectively.

The boat is not yet tipped over but TiVo, Google and others are severly rocking it at the moment. Another article trying to capture the storms hitting the ‘video/tv’ industry at the moment is also captured in business week’s report End of TV article. Just like good journalism that thrives on good gossip generated by its TV stars on the way and then can’t wait to trash them to generate more readership, so TV seems to be the star at the moment. Everyone wants to toll it’s final bell, or at least be the first to suggest TV is over. I think just those who said film and radio was going to die in the late 40s, or how in early 2000’s VOD will kill off DVD film there may be some egg on faces. I for one suggest TV will simply evolve, become video delivered in a multitude of ways. TV will not die, simply the word we currently use for video delivered in a most inefficient way – schedule broadcast.

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2005

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