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Mini-Formats: Big Money For Your Business

COW Library : Podcasting : Kathlyn Lindeboom : Mini-Formats: Big Money For Your Business
From The Creative COW Magazine


Creative COW Magazine presents Mini-Formats: Big Money For Your Business



Ron and Kathlyn LindeboomRon & Kathlyn Lindeboom
Cambria California, USA

©2007 Ron & Kathlyn Lindeboom and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.

Article Focus:

No matter if you are a major broadcaster or a one person shop, small format is opening up big markets.


Most who have been in this business for years remember the days of specialization. No matter if you have been in film, broadcasting or fields like corporate and independent project video, you recall when the media job market was relatively "fixed" positionally and your job was to edit, shoot, rotoscope, composite, or any one of the many other specialties that were your craft - and the basis of your paycheck. Then came the days of generalization and you had to learn to wear 14 hats at once - being a little bit of many things to get the job done. It has been stressful, hasn't it?

Over the years, many of you have developed into a new "generalist" hybrid that your industry forebears would hardly recognize: an editor that does a lot of compositing and motion graphics work, while learning to do a bit of shooting and lighting. Later, when the project is done, you then author it to DVD and stream it to the web - playing compressionist along the way.

For a while it seemed like you could finally settle back, focus and concentrate on learning High Definition, the next revolution in media - right? Not! While many media professionals have been busily learning the difference between 1080i vs 720p and whether to use XDCam HD or DVCPro HD, an even more market defining revolution has come upon us.


MEDIA ANYWHERE

We like to call it "media anywhere" and it frees media from the restraints of the movie house and the television screen. It even pushes it beyond the confines and restrictions of your computer monitor - and no, media anywhere does not mean playing movies on your laptop (although that's quite nice when you are traveling on the road a lot, as we do).

The rapidly developing world of Media Anywhere is opening new markets for innovative companies like Apple Inc. (forget the name Apple Computer, they've dumped it as they move to redefine themselves in this brave new world). Apple and others are making strong moves to bring new gadgets to market, things like iPhones, capable of downloading and playing widescreen movies to the phone.

What? You don't like to watch images the size of a postage stamp on your cell phone? Then maybe the new Apple TV is your ticket. Apple's Apple TV will work with both PCs and Macs, when it ships.

Apple TV can download your favorite movies, TV shows, episodes of the Creative COW video podcasts - for starters, we humbly recommend that you download all of them - and feed them to your 16x9 plasma or big screen. While today, the Apple TV set-up is the only one we are aware of that does this, we have little doubt that you will soon see these kinds of devices at your local home entertainment mega-store.

Like most things Apple, they're arguably double what others will end up charging for the same kind of thing a bit later. But also like Apple, they are on to something earlier than most and may be, arguably first to this party. If you know of others, let us know, we'd love to hear of them.


PUPPY LOVE

The kids know it's happening and they are jumping all over it. They want media on their terms, not on the terms of broadcasters or anyone else. It started with the VCR and the ability to record a show for later playback. This next revolution takes it a quantum leap farther. In a world of media anywhere, it's movies and your favorite television shows in your pocket. It's instructional and educational media wherever and whenever you need it. It's media free from the restraint of the box and free of the limit of the screen. It's handheld devices, localized wireless feeds in your home, office and car, and it can include the web and other outlets.

We have been experimenting with this here in the COW with our series of podcasts, many of which are being done as video podcasts, or videocasts as they are sometimes called. It's teaching us not only the mechanics but is clearly teaching us the impact that mini-formats can have on a business and a market. Many people are learning about the COW who do not think of themselves as "forum people. " In fact, many of these new participants in the COW, still aren't forums people and only know the COW through the podcasts.


PUPPY CHOW: NOW BEING SERVED

We are still only in the rudimentary stages of this revolution. As this new phenomenon continues to accelerate in the days ahead, it won't just be the iTunes Store and other content aggregators who enjoy the limelight and all the dog bones, they are being joined by cell phone companies who are beginning to offer a dizzying array of content to cell phone customers. As the concept proves itself, broadcasters and film studios are jumping on board and offering their content. Paramount, Disney, ABC and others already do and many others are slated to appear on a micro-screen in your neighborhood soon.

Back in 1994 when we began the Media 100 Worldwide Users Group (which led into all that we do today), I had just come from the world of satellite television. I used to talk online with many of our members about the day when "micro channels" on the internet would wrest music out of the hands of MTV and take it into a world where tiny "narrow-casting" channels like Celtic Music Today lived. It didn't happen exactly as I thought it would but many of the parts are now here - and in principle it is now happening in podcast media. Podcasting is growing up, proving itself to be a viable distribution format. As it sells millions and millions of units and spurs a blurring of its feature-set across cell phones and other hardware, more traditional forms of content (like film and TV) are streaming using the same infrastructure.

Whatever it is that you like, it's there and it's only going to grow. Like all revolutions, it will redefine the rules. Also, as in all revolutions, there will be casualties on the battlefield. In this issue, we hope to open your mind to many of these changes and many of the new rules; this, in the hope that you can take advantage of this rapidly growing market of all things small.


TOOLS FOR A NEW REVOLUTION


Apple TV


APPLE TV: YOUR OWN TV STATION

Apple hopes to repeat the success it has gained from its industry-leading iPod with the new Apple TV, that will sell for about $300 (USA) and can broadcast video programming from iTunes to your widescreen television monitor.


iPhone


iPHONE: A WIDESCREEN iPOD, TOO

So, where are the calling buttons? In software. It uses a touchscreen interface that changes features depending on if you are using it as a phone, an iPod or to surf the Net. It's coming in June (says Apple) and it has other manufacturers already scrambling to introduce their own alternatives.


Microsoft Zune


MICROSOFT ZUNE: ADDS 802.11b

While neither a phone nor a strong sales competitor for the portable crown, Microsoft's Zune does have a built-in file sharing capability thanks to an 802.11b protocol.

Watch for many more entries in this market over the next few months.



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