|Ronald van Raay" (by way of Marja Oosterman <email@example.com>) on Fri, 9 Oct 1998 14:20:02 +0200 (MET DST)|
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|nettime-nl: Re: portals, traffic en browsers|
Streams of Consciousness by Joe Nickell 4:00 a.m. 8.Oct.98.PDT Online video and music broadcasters are beginning to argue that the Web's original killer app -- unfettered hyperlinking -- is hurting their business. The trouble is, viewers can pull up videos and songs, the Clinton testimony or a U2 single by bookmarking the stream's URL in their media-player software. By going to the stream directly, readers bypass the ads on the online broadcaster's site, robbing them of business. "Linking without permission is stealing. Period, end of story," asserted Mark Cuban, CEO of broadcast.com, one of the biggest online broadcasters. "It's like tapping your neighbor's cable box." In a modern-day variation of the time-worn request, "Don't touch that dial," several leading streaming-media content sites are insisting that, in order to view or listen to their content, users must first visit their Web pages. Sometimes those pages feature nothing more than a banner ad alongside a link to the streamed content. According to Cuban, any other means of dipping into his company's streams is tantamount to theft. Go to broadcast.com's main site with your browser. Click through the sports section to get to the University of Kentucky football link. Notice that big ad on top of the video links? If you bookmark one of those links in your RealPlayer or Windows Media Player, you can watch those recorded games over and over again without seeing another broadcast.com ad. You're also be running afoul of broadcast.com's Terms and Conditions. "Linking directly to the media file without any reference to the site or link to the site is such a rip-off," agreed Marc Weitz, technical officer of Compucast. "You're forcing me as a content provider to pay for the through-put without any of the benefits of my advertisers or sponsors getting to that viewership." Analysts say as long as streaming media is supported by traditional banner ads, content providers will have to try to force users through a Web-based doorway to their content. "Linking directly to streaming video on the Web can be a real problem," said Seema Williams, an analyst in the entertainment and content group at Forrester Research. "It costs a lot to serve that video, and for companies serving that resource, missing out on their revenue streams is a pretty critical problem." Most believe the problem will eventually be moot, once advertising is inserted directly into the streams. The industry is beginning to embrace the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language, which lets Web designers mix text and streaming media in a way that's currently impractical with plug-in players. Nonetheless, in-stream or "interstitial" ads currently make up less than 10 percent of the overall ad inventory of most streaming-media providers, according to market researcher Jupiter Communications. "The fact of the matter is media buyers are just getting the idea of how to sell the Internet in terms of banner ads," said Scott Ehrlich, executive producer and senior vice president of Fox News. "You have to do that for a while before you're looking at inserting ads" into the streamed media itself. What's more, online broadcasters are having a tough time forcing their business philosophy onto hardcore netizens, whose most basic belief is that information is meant to be linked and cross-linked. That's the point of the Web, after all. "Unfortunately, some people have set up their business models to be incompatible with the philosophy of the Net, which is freely linked," said Thomas Edwards, president of The Sync. "I feel bad for them, but I can't feel too bad." Edwards said his company, which creates original streamed content for the Web, sells mostly banner ads, but ultimately recognizes that in-stream ads represent the only hope for profitability. "If you're coming to a medium to make money, you can't expect that medium to change itself to fit your model," said Joey Manley, director of Free Speech Internet Television. "If they've got a model that requires these kind of restrictions on links, then their model is fundamentally broken, and they're not really interested in being on the World Wide Web. It's the media maker who is comfortable in a distributed environment who is going to succeed." Related Wired Links: Web Ads Invade PC Apps 5.Oct.98 RealNetworks Video Steps Up 28.Sep.98 Clinton Video to Flood Net 18.Sep.98 AtHome: Broadband Ads Are Boss 8.Sep.98 -- * Verspreid via nettime-nl. Commercieel gebruik niet toegestaan zonder * toestemming. <nettime-nl> is een gesloten en gemodereerde mailinglist * over net-kritiek. Meer info: firstname.lastname@example.org met 'info nettime-nl' in de * tekst v/d email. Archief: http://www.factory.org/nettime-nl. Contact: * email@example.com. Int. editie: http://www.desk.nl/~nettime.