Behavior, Content, Money – 3 Things you should never give away for free!!!

BCmoney MobileTV

Introducing BCmoney MobileTV

Posted by bryan on December 7, 2007 in E-Business, Mobile with No Comments

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BCmoney MobileTV logo, with motto

Let me tell you a little bit about the newly launched BCmoney MobileTV site.

I wrote a paper in University back in 2003 about an idea I had for a site that allowed a typical, non-technical web user to share and view old nostalgic content (i.e. 70s, 80s TV shows, music and favorite little clips from homemovies) that no longer had a place on the mainstream media broadcasts (aka. Live TV). I was talking expressly about old programmes that were no longer enjoying syndication (i.e. re-runs or filler spots); likewise for Radio broadcasting, which always produces fresh new content everyday and makes little to no use of previously aired shows (to the deficit of those who didn’t have time to catch their content on the first airing, most don’t even archive, although at least some Radio programs do offer archives for download/streaming on the web or via mail request for a copy).

Though I had simply wanted to explore the possibility to preserve a digital footprint of my own (and others’ if they were interested) viewing behaviors and interests, to make it easily accessed for generations to come, I realized there was some business potential in the idea as well (not to mention some important privacy and legal concerns to tackle). Then along came YouTube in 2005, which quickly took over the Online Video market with some innovative approaches at the time. In particular, they had an extrememly innovative use of Flash to play videos across browsers and operating systems, instead of the more bulky RealMedia, WindowsMedia or Quicktime embed codes), and best of all they made their videos shareable on blogs and websites all over the web.

As YouTube exploded in popularity, I knew I missed a big opportunity, but took it in stride (after briefly kicking myself for not being faster). Don’t get me wrong, I realize YouTube wasn’t even close to the first online video site, many others including AdCritic, iFilm, UGO, CollegeHumor, ebaum’s World, the P2P world (napster, kazaa, torrents, etc), IRC servers and even plain old message forums, made early efforts at enabling their users to share videos. What set YouTube apart though, was that they were the first to simplify it and make it extremely accessible and simple to the average user (even today, they are leaders in accessibility with Closed Captioning, Subtitling, and their transition to an even more cross-browser and cross-device-friendly HTML5 video player).

At the same time, in 2007 I had passionately wanted to pursue the Entertainment industry as my career, using my initial knowledge and interest of Online Video technologies as a conduit. These would be my only possible ticket, since I’m a lousy actor, marginal writer, have no money to produce, and despite being a movie buff and wielding a trusty homevideo camera of my parents’ since the tender age of 10, must accept my limitations as a director. Let me make one thing perfectly clear, my goal was never to “get to Hollywood” as some misguidedly aspire to. My goal was to affect the information that gets dispersed through the media on a daily basis, in the naive hopes of helping change the course of what gets seen, heard and (the real trick) absorbed, understood and acted upon by the general public.

So I headed off to Japan to pursue a Masters in E-Business Management, specifically with the aims of learning about their world-leading Mobile telecommunications industry. Not to request bragging rights, but early on I saw Mobile Devices as much more than “cell phones” as we referred to them as at the time in North America; however identifying them as a major trend in technology is one thing, doing something about it is entirely another. I know that to move towards providing the “what I want, when I want it” experience that I sensed many people desired, I would first need to learn how to make it appear “where I want it, however I want it”.

Nestled between mountains and rice fields, in a small town in Niigata, Japan, I had the good fortune to study under Dr. Philip Sugai in his newly established Mobile Consumer Behavior Lab. After we discussed my research interests, he introduced me to the concept of Mobile TV, which I then promptly chose as my thesis topic; turns out he had been looking for a student who could tackle the questions of why MobileTV has failed to deliver on its promises and has thus seen its adoption move at a crawl thus far. This was exactly what I had tried but failed to explain with my 2nd year University CS report all those years ago, that our content experiences are becoming mobile and will follow us wherever we go. That they would do this through ubiquitous enabling technologies such as WiFi/WiMax, 3G/4G and even faster more dedicated content delivery network (CDN) infrastructure that combines the ability to stream live or archived content, and constantly adapt to our preferences, moods and interests, was still beyond me. After the E-Business program and upon completion of my thesis though, I understood. All that we are missing is the underlying fabric to tie our content experience together in an easy to understand way, and a task easier said than done!

BCmoney MobileTV is a far cry away from what I had ultimately wanted to build. Powered in the back-end by a modest combination of my own hacked together works, vShare, PHPmotion and countless other open source CMS tools (WordPress, MediaWiki, SMF, Drupal, Joomla, OpenX and many more). There is much room for improvement. I would encourage any skilled developers to collaborate, though at this time I can not offer financial compensation so I make no false pretenses.

If you share the same passions and want to show off your skills, please help me improve the site and software. Better yet, start your own site or open source project or work on one of the many already in progress. If it makes the online video experience better, I would support it to the best of my abilities! Here’s to the future, it looks bright for Online and Mobile Video technologies!

I hope that together we can continue to define and improve regular people’s communications media interactions and experiences each and every day.