Sunday, May 22, 2005

BitTorrent economics

Check out the following article entitled Mindjack, Is Piracy good? The story highlights the BitTorrent release of the new version of BattleStar Galactica and how a time gap between the UK and the US created intense interest that made the debut of the show one of the most highly watched things on the SciFi Channel in the US.

The author also briefly touches upon how scarcity has created the control necessary to prop up the legacy economics of television, which is something I like to comment on frequently. Its almost funny when they speak of how broadcasters are barriers rather than conduits for the flow of content, which is painfully true but also understandable given their business model.

The author goes on to highlight how use of on-screen icons may be a good way to capture value for advertisers. This is definitely one way to deal with capturing value in a world of distributed hyperdistribution, but I don’t think that the multiple models required to create the necessary economics for big media content are imminent or practical at this point. Rather I think that the pattern of lawsuits initiated by the RIAA will be continued in the near term by the MPAA while producers of content at the edge of the network will try to create economic value for ‘right priced’ content through low cost production, hyper-distribution and the development of audience on a scale that supports their endeavors. Periodically big media will see the value in this edge generated content and will try to re-purpose it in ways such as Adam Curry broadcasting podcasting, or in harvesting the seeds of this content and putting the big media stamp on it for a increasingly departing audience.

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