Where are the Australian Investors?

Last week it was announced that PodShow has secured 15 million in funding. So what I want to know is where are all the Australian investors?

Sure PodShow is a large podcasting network who report themselves to have over 1000 shows. They have been there since the start (as close to) and they have indicated that they plan to move into the U.K. That is big in anyone’s book. They will not talk about what sort of revenue they are generating from their 1000 shows, but I would think that it was not as much as you might think. At the moment there is not a lot of money in independent podcasting. Networks of podcasters certainly makes a difference and a few big names help. But input is disproportionate to output. Not to mention the opportunity cost of your time that it takes to put together a show. That is not counting the hours spent marketing, blogging and monitoring comments and staying in touch with listeners. Maintaining that level of commitment from your hosts on a network is difficult. But I digress.

With all this bloody cash being thrown around I don’t see any Australian investors or big companies seeing the potential of podcasting. I am not saying that they should invest 15 million but a couple of million would not be wasted. Podcasting and on-demand media is the future of entertainment, news, gaining and keeping the attention of listeners, viewers and watchers. I want to know where all the forward thinking and revolutionaries in the broadcasting and communication industry are.

There are some great Australian businesses out there that need your investment and we are yet to see a substantial commitment to new media and the future of broadcasting in the world within Australia. I don’t want to see Australia become a late adopter and be left behind and the inevitable laughing stock of the world. The support of Australian companies means that they stay here and a part of our culture. At present they regret that they are here because business and investors appear to be backward and slow to adopt. This is partly due to the backward Internet connectivity we have in Australia and the strangle-hold grip companies like Telstra have on the minds of the Australian public.

Having said that I admire the likes of Exploit Prevention Labs that have been quick to show confidence in the medium through practical support of podcasts based in Australia. These are baby steps and with companies like PodShow taking 15 million dollar steps and making it fairly clear they are wanting to be more than distributors of podcasts; we had better get going, fast. I fear that we are going to loose the future and have it dictated to us by one or two; but isn’t that how it always is?

Disclaimer: Exploit Prevention Labs are a sponsor of The Global Geek Podcast of which I am a co-host.

Update: A perfect example of the state of affairs from Cameron Reilly

YouTube Closer to a Sustainable Business Model?

YouTube LogoThe Blogosphere has been flooded over the past twenty-four hours about YouTube and a deal with Warner Music Group Corp. In their quest to host music videos (they aim to host every single one in the history of music videos!) you will now see thousands of music videos from Warners available for viewing on YouTube.

The biggest deal in the whole thing is the fact that this copyrighted material from Warners that is featured on YouTube will be made available for users to mix into their own videos. Legally! (not sure if that includes downloading the tracks or what or how). This is stark contrast to previous accusations regarding copyright violations and YouTube. As even days ago Universal was ranting:

Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris signaled the industry’s exasperation with YouTube just a few days ago when he indicated the world’s largest record label is prepared to sue the site unless it does a better job of preventing copyright violations.

[Via Yahoo News]

The deal sees both companies sharing revenue generated from advertising. Otherwise the details of the deal have not been made public.

I have been saying for quite some time that YouTube in it’s current state is not viable long term. This is mainly due to the excessive cost of the bandwidth that they chug through every day. Their bandwidth bill every month is in the millions. You can not keep up that kind of expenditure and remain on-line! Until the deal with Warner, the company has survived on $11.5 million in venture capital, which I am sure is starting to run a little low. As far as the latest deal we don’t know who is paying who or what. But are they closer to a working business model?

Sure, YouTube will be the place to go to check out the latest music video and perhaps download it. Sure, that is great for YouTube as far as traffic, and it is even greater for Warner who have pimped their latest big hit. People go out and buy the album. But that leaves YouTube as an advertiser for Warner, if they are doing that for free they are nuts. So perhaps they are getting payed for the exposure that Warner are getting. Again, all speculation as we have no idea what the deal entails.

What it does show though is that existing companies are starting to see the power of the online community and that is where the future lies. They are starting to take seriously the exposure and the need to embrace the technology. This from Warner:

“Technology is changing entertainment, and Warner Music is embracing that innovation…”

“Consumer-empowering destinations like YouTube have created a two-way dialogue that will transform entertainment and media forever.”

See they are getting smarter. Perhaps we will start to see issues regarding DRM coming to the surface around this deal as well. Be good to see the debate hot up as clearly Warner see that DRM is useless there are always hacks for DRM and for the rest it is annoying, restrictive and flawed, but that is another story.

This increased trust in on-line companies could well pave the way for others and is sure to benefit the on-line communities and start-ups that proliferate the Internet. I wish YouTube all the best in their latest deal and hope that it succeeds, if only for the benefits that will permeate to the rest of us.

YouTube & NBC Make Friends

YouTube LogoI had to pinch myself when I read this article today via RSS about a partnership between YouTube and NBC. I must be psychic.

Today it was announced that NBC and YouTube are getting into bed with each other. And yes the same NBC that sent a cease and desist letter to YouTube regarding content from NBC being available on YouTube.NBC Logo

The deal is said to be a mutual back-slapping affair with NBC placing “promotional clips” on the Tube for up and coming and returning shows. In return NBC will promote YouTube on air. Not sure why the users are not allowed to do it but it is Okay for NBC, but I guess they own the content. There is talk of on-line competitions being run in conjunction with support from NBC.

That said, I wonder how well it will be received on YouTube. If it is just a case of running ads disguised as “clips” then that is going to upset the user base. But if NBC place content that can not be seen anywhere else, now that would be smart marketing. It remains to be seen just how the implementation goes and if it is executed well.

There is no mention of money changing hands so it fails to address the problem that I illustrated yesterday in that what these sites are offering is costing a lot of money and they have to find some way to pay for it. In essence what YouTube has done is possibly exacerbate the problem by potentially increasing their traffic and not addressing the revenue issue.

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