Information Economy

Though its a ‘watching the pennies’ article, How to tame an inflated entertainment budget by Damon Darlin in the New York Times provides a good insight into how much of consumer spending is now absorbed by the information economy. This outstrips groceries, heating, electricity, healthcare and clothing. Old fashioned live events like the opera and a pop concert cost an eye watering 50 cents and $1.25 per minute of entertainment.I thought that the AOL venture into TV on the web was a very interesting concept. It looks like it is closer to Robert Cringely’s idea of where iTunes was going than the video iPod service that eventually arrived.

Besides the fact that I am very excited about the possiblity of being able to watch re-runs of I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners and Phil Silvers I am curious about a number of items that came out of the announcement.

  • Firstly, AOL is using P2P networks to reduce infrastructure costs (network, caching, storage) – yet the big technology thinkers are assuming that storage costs are increasingly tending towards zero, last mile connectivity pricing is deflationary as is core network bandwidth. In fact core network bandwidth deflation put many equipment companies like Corning, Lucent, Nortel and Ericsson on the critical list and was the death of many alternative telecoms providers in the late 1990s and early naughties.
  • How does this impact the value that the Time Warner board put on their existing cable network and infrastructure?
  • Whilst the channel of market may have changed, the business model assumes that consumption behaviour will have stayed the same. The very people who this service is aimed at consume the media in a different manner to the way that previous television audiences have. As I am writing this blog posting, I have a DVD on and an icon in the righthand corner of my screen warns me when new emails and instant messages come in.
  • What are the security risks involved with putting content out in this way and how will AOL counteract hackers and crackers?
  • Will this mean the end of regionalisation of content marketing that is a pain-in-the-ass for consumers?

Looking at the dark underbelly of the information economy Rolling Stone magazine have an interesting article (The man who sold the war by James Bamford) on John Walter Rendon and the Rendon Group‘s involvement in the road to the Iraq war. Not surprisingly the company has a rebuttal to the article here.

Finally, Geektronica has an interesting collection of unrelated facts that may or may not be useful in staging a web mob assault against the web property of an extreme American group.