Just stumbled, as one does, across an article that falls neatly inside ‘personalize media’ because it is just that, personalizing your media. News readers in Germany can now, using ‘Personal News’ request specific articles they want to appear in their version of the newspaper which is then delivered to them next day. From the inventively named article “Your personalized printed newspaper“:

The idea is to offer articles from different newspapers and magazines in one newspaper. On a website the reader choses in the evening what he wants to read the next morning. The order goes to the printing house where the individual papers are printed. In the morning the reader will find his newspaper in the postbox

So the physical media industry is finding other ways to fight back not by creating online versions but by creating something new ‘in’ the physical universe no less. This concept is not new in print publishing of course, we have had personalized book covers in the past few years and back in the 60’s there was a whole raft of small distribution rags that would print names of recipients on the title pages – just for the cool USP element no doubt. This though is starting to get very granular – specific news items, the physical equivalent of myYahoo, myGoogle? Mapping this development into richer media it has much resonance with the current state of TV and Radio distribution. Radio has already jumped the gun of course by packaging itself in Podcasts. It is an easy next step for consumers to then bunch a range of personally relevant podcasts together in iTunes, synch and effectively create their own ‘Radio day’. But what does this mean for TV – particularly given the surge in video portals and portable video players I referred to a couple of posts ago.

Well, there have been a range of models in the past 5 years or so, put forward as a new idea and discussed in numerous conferences and papers about so called ‘physical media super distribution’ models. When I chaired the Business Models Group for TV-Anytime we were looking at Phase Two requirements and put out an initial CFC in 2002. Excerpt:

The key areas for which the TV-Anytime Forum now requires contributions are:

* 1. New Content Types: Integration of content types other than audio and video (e.g., games, enhanced TV, web pages, music files, graphics, data and many other applications).
* 2. Targeting: Automatically matching and delivering relevant content to profiled consumers.
* 3. Redistribution: Moving content around among devices and systems.
o Content sharing: Peer-to-peer distribution of unprotected and protected content over provider networks.
o Home networking: Sharing content among multiple storage and display terminals within a defined private physical network.
o Removable media: Distribution of unprotected and protected content on physical storage.

Looking specifically at the last item the forum were looking for technologies to support ways that consumers and content providers would interact and share content in an interoperable world of broadband, PDR (personal digital recorders and high density physical media). One of the key business models we were exploring from a consumer perspective was the combination of moving media from PDR (Personal Digital Recorder) to High Capacity DVD and then giving it to other users. We were looking at the RMP (rights management protection systems) required to do this to keep content providers happy – and of course from an engineering standpoint the metadata flow.

From a content providers perspective we were looking at a range of models but one that gels with the article above was a scenario we put as a requirement to the technical groups. A consumer would request through their network connection using a traditional EPG a range of personally relevant content from a provider (even a broadcaster) to be delivered on DVD to themselves or other users (gifts in other words) – they would then be able as ‘validated’ users to load this content into their PDR/DVD/Home Server network and consume it. We bundled with this a whole range of advertising models to enable distributors to (with consumer opt in) target the viewer (either product placement, dogs or interstitials). (for reference the phase two specifications will be ratified by ETSI before the end of the year)

The point about this simple and not unique model is rather than relying on the network for ‘all’ content delivery there is great advantage, given the likely low cost of a 50GB DVD in 5 years time say, to ‘take an order, burn and post’. In fact the BBC circa 2003 were looking at this as alternative delivery methodologies of myBBC content.

It is still part of the BBC VOD road-map I gather but until those high capacity DVD’s become the norm and the platform is commonplace, I think the transition zone we are still in will mean a confused pot pourri of super-distribution models – with no clear and obvious new models for broadcasters. For now what should stop any video portal offering a ‘roll your own’ DVD package. Click around and next day you have your own DVD compilation of favourite shorts or user generated clips – save waiting for three days for the that 4GB of cool stuff to trickle over your ‘capped’ DSL connection.

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2005