“So I imagine this is just a …ceremonial possession? I mean they don’t actually expect me to do any fighting…Do they?” – Pippin, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Insider #71 - Content Battles…Galadriel Holds Middle Earth

THE Insider

Insider #71
Content BattlesGaladriel Holds Middle Earth
by THE Insider
an industry marketing/communications expert with more than 15 years of video, storage and networking experience.

"So I imagine this is just a ceremonial possession?  I mean they don't actually expect me to do any fightingDo they?" - Pippin, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

The hardware, software, content creators and deliverers could learn a lot by studying The Lord of the Rings trilogy. 
As Legolas said, "The horses are restless, and the men are quiet." 
If we stretch the literal portions of the Fellowship of the Ring there are three "layers" of Earth - Upper, Middle, Lower. 

he content Earth?

  • Upper - professional - Tellywood, videographers, prosumers - serious dollars
  • Middle - home/personal - family and personal consumer -- memories
  • Lower - teens/tweens - disposable, impulse, casual - Yoohh!  Shakin !! 

Upper Earth is dominated by people who make a living from content or are very serious about their hobby. 
Here we have very serious camcorders from Panasonic, JVC and others.  We have complex software from Avid, Sonic, Adobe. 
Thanks to hardware/software improvements and affordability, there are new dwarfs in town. They are prosumers and serious hobbyists who can produce pretty darned good movies, knock out a bunch of DVDs and sell them on eBay or even stream them in lower quality on the Internet.  They can put a serious dent in Tellywood's rule over Upper Earth. 
Sure digital camcorder sales have been flat at around 15 million units for the past few years.  But that just means indie filmmakers hone their craft with better quality gear from Sony, Hitachi and others.  They are using cheaper, more powerful software from Ulead, Adobe and others to produce better and better entertainment. 
Now we have to see how the power and control will shift.
Middle Earth entertainment is where the major skirmishes will take place.  It is here that many warlords will stumble. 
The industry has to have a better understanding of the real video consumer in Middle Earth.
He has been the major target for CE growth buying the PCs, large flat screens, game consoles, AV receivers and camcorders.

Surprise!!!  The new he is she
Galadriel and her tribe have historically allowed Gandalf and the boys to buy the PC/CE toys.  When it comes to capturing, sharing, saving family and relationship moments and memories they have taken control of the landscape. 

Even HP, Kodak and other executives (mostly male) at a recent InfoTrends conference reluctantly agreed that we had to get past the idea of a testosterone, techie video warrior.  Instead they needed to reach the CMO (chief memory officer) to stimulate photo/video sales growth. 
To do this, manufacturers - hardware and software - have to follow Gandalf's rules of engagement"Not at the towers!  Aim for the trolls!"
All the industry has to do is the impossible!  Understand:

  • the aspects of photography she is involved in
  • what she looks for in her creative endeavors
  • how she interacts with her photos/videos
  • how she wants to share her friends/family memories - prints, disc, online, combination
  • what she looks for in her photo/video tools
  • her!

The CMO will be the driving force behind digital camera sales in the years ahead.   Many are on their second or third camera upgrade. 

They are taking more photos/videos. 
According to InfoTrends about a quarter of them (men included) still store their content on memory cards (this makes the folks at SanDisk, Verbatim, Lexar, Panasonic and other manufacturers very happy). 
Good for thembad for the rest of us.
According to InfoTrends more than 50% still show their images on their camera. 
But increasingly more are moving their content (photos and video) to their hard drives.

There it sits!
What Middle Earth needs is:

  • fast, easy-to-use, fun-to-use video and photo post production software that does more than one task like NTIUS's 9:1 Titanium
  • simplified means of moving the content from the PC to the TV
  • guidance on moving the content from the HD to CD/DVD for safe keeping and sharing
  • understanding that beyond MySpace and YouTube, online storage is available somewhere in the cloud for family, friend sharingnot the world
  • showing that sharing content is the real thrill of capturing memories, moments

Don't get your pants in a bunch and feel we are typecasting and implying men can be geeks and women can'tdon't go there !
We know a lot  of females who really understand what a megapixel iscan tell the difference between 24 and 30 fpscan reset their system clock and defrag their hard drivescan troubleshoot their own wireless networkand more.
We're not the dimmest bulb in the package!
But their wants, their needs, their priorities, their decision processes are different.
We know.   We've been marriedwell, forever !
But adding more features, more technically cool stuff, more software layers, more drill down capabilities, all at a lower cost won't help us gain more of Middle Earththat dog won't hunt.
Mount Doom will stand.
Lower Earth, the land of tweens and teens, is the space every hardware, software, service provider is trying to figure out.
A lot of marketers including a recent report from eMarketer proclaim that they control billions in purchasing power.
Someone should tell Middle Earth!
It's true that they have been instrumental in pushing mobile phone sales past the billion unit sales mark this year.

They have been the driving force behind mobile entertainment devices - audio and video.
But quality content?  Memorable content? 
-         MP3 and iTunes downloads are "near" CD quality
-         Cellphone video is "near" VHS quality
That's backwardnot forward.
At an IPTV conference a speaker said proudly that a friend of hers had sent her a video of her wedding that had been shot using a camphone. 
Well laa dee firkin da!
Camphone video is so "in" that Boston U offers a class in cellphone videography. 
Doubt if we'll rush to the theater to watch one of the films on the big screen. 
Won't waste our time getting a copy to view on our LCD flat panel or even our notebook PC.
They can post it on MySpaceooppss, that's so yesterday!
But Inner Earth is the training ground for Middle Earth and beyond.  As the move up quality video and audio content will be produced, shared, enjoyed and saved.
Middle Earth will then be the launching pad for Upper Earth videographers and indies. 
Technology is advancing. 
Costs are coming down. 
The bumbling amateur videos are the training grounds for the new breed of movie producers. 
This will put a lot of pressure on Tellywood to rethink the value and return on big-budget movies and stars. 
Mega movies won't disappear. 
But with the low cost of high-quality, feature-rich hardware and software; amateur video content production is more readily available. 
It will get better!
The best of will evolve from sophomoric videos to quality movies. 
Suddenly the horses are restless and the men are quiet.   

Certainty of death.  Small chance of success.  What are we waiting for?

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