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Yesterday, I visited the Streaming Media Europe conference/exhibition in Hammersmith for the first time.

The start of the day was comic, with two lines queuing up to register, one for this conference and the other for Internet Librarians. Obviously they were confused as a couple of Librarians realised that they were in the wrong lecture theatre seconds just before the first speaker stood up. I thought it was funny, and I missed Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen, the moderator’s, reference to the Twitter hash, and did not join in. However, I would have found it hard to tweet, as the keynote speaker William Cooper, of informitv.com set off on such a fast paced review of how we got to where we are. He talked about how online video is challenging and also complimenting traditional broadcasting, causing market disruption. He referred to the challenges of delivering online video on all platforms. I wanted to hear more about the convergence of the Internet/TV in the living room, but he left this for another time, and questions were cancelled due to late start. I hope to catch up with him to find out more.

Guy Phillipson of the IABUK informed us about the numbers for the first half of 2009, with overall media markets down 16.6%, the Internet up 4.6% but slower growth over previous years, but video, defined as pre-roll, up 195% at £11.4M, just 4% of the total UK internet market in this period, so small, and a low base for growth, but rays of hope in very tough economic times. I searched the IAB USA stats, digital video (not sure if the definitions are the same as over here) is also 4%, as in the UK, at $477m, but only a 38% increase over the first half of 2008. There was a 5.3% decline in the total size of the USA Internet market in the first half, so the UK market has performed positively, especially as Guy pointed out that the UK is a middling player in broadband size terms. Jack Wallington of the IAB talked about standards, and formats that work/don’t work, obvious things like frequency caps, and gave some good examples of innovative ads, I particularly liked the Discovery Channel Orang-utan Island from Carat. Guy told us about UKOM, a new industry agreed standard for Internet audience research, available in summer 2010, monthly in arrears, demographic data from 35,000 people at home and work. A big achievement for everyone involved. It is ironic though, with so much real time information available online, that we apply traditional media research to make sense of it all. It will be interesting to see how this develops out.

After this I toured the Exhibition. I talked to Brightcove, Unicorn, VideoPlaza, Adswizz, Twofour Digital, Tremor, Global Mix, Ooyala, Craze, ims AG, yospace.

An interesting selection of digital video businesses, with potential for partnership, development and investment with Luca Media

I understand better the finance chain, between CDN’s, video online platforms, ad platforms, and cross platform connections with Advertisers. Competition is opening up in these sub sectors, with many specialist companies represented here identifying new opportunities in this growth sector.

I enjoyed meeting everyone, and will watch developments closely.

The Ethics of Blogging

About 10 days ago, I participated in a Webinar on this subject. The audience, primarily American, was focused on this subject with the FCC pronouncement on guidelines for blogging imminent. These have now been released, http://ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm. Basically, you must disclose if you have been paid or received free goods termed “blog – ola” from anyone you endorse by writing about them. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111083779.

Product reviews on ecommerce sites who receive a free product in return are illegal in the USA now. It seems consumers are mostly unaware that companies have been paying individuals to write favourably about their products online. The legislation appears to be aimed at Citizen Bloggers rather than professionals, with the aim of providing consumers with accurate purchasing information. http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/10/ftc-bloggers/.

The FCC acknowledges that bloggers may be subject to different disclosure requirements than reviewers in traditional media. So, as I venture further into the wonderful free blogosphere I will tread carefully, as, of course, all Bloggers are Citizens and maybe also, like me, professional digital people as well, so the lines and rules are blurred. What will this mean for future sponsorship of my blog, and product placement in my video blogs? I think I am still in mostly unchartered waters here, and conscious too of organizations reaction to blogging, but do not want to be put off by this fear. After all, the great thing about the web is freedom of expression, transparency and democracy. In the meantime it might be useful to review disclose policies http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2009/10/05/fcc-mandates-disclosure-for-bloggers-receiving-freebiespayments/

The webinar participants discussed whether these guidelines will interfere with the development of blogging as commercial entities, and whether it is necessary to legislate at all, but clearly the FCC thinks it is.

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