Monday, August 3, 2009

Delicious Today: local news, Indico, serendipity, $$

#1: Now on YouTube, Local News
YouTube "has created a News Near You feature that senses a user’s location and serves up a list of relevant videos." YouTube sells it as a new source of revenue to TV stations. But stations see it as a potential competitor. "So for now, most of the YouTube videos near you come from nontraditional sources: radio stations, newspapers, colleges" and user generated material.

This is another sign that the competition to monetize local news is intensifying. With its hundreds of local member stations, public broadcasting system has an opportunity and obligation to be a big provider of local news. The key is to figure out a one-stop shop where the public can get their local news easily and quickly, whether the news is about their own community, their far-away loved ones' community, or other location of interests. Each of us has more than one local communities. Right now it's just too cumbersome to manually aggregate local news of those communities by going through each individual local station's web sites of different menus and designs.

#2: Indico News: 'Everywhere news is on the local level and people are the news'
This is a promising example of citizen journalism. "Three features -- setting assignments for another user; 'interview me', where the site will match up users' questions with an expert to answer them; and the ability to tip off contributors about local events they might want to cover -- set the site apart from other citizen journalism efforts. ... A payment system for contributors is also being developed, offering a percentage of the ad revenue generated by any content next to a user's byline."

The article doesn't give out the details/secrets of the site's business model. But interested public broadcasters may want to talk to the site for lessons or even collaboration.

#3: Serendipity, Lost in the Digital Deluge
"WE’VE gained so much in the digital age. We get more entertainment choices, and finding what we’re looking for is certainly fast. Best of all, much of it is free. But we’ve lost something as well: the fortunate discovery of something we never knew we wanted to find. In other words, the digital age is stamping out serendipity."

That's my feeling about the Internet as well: I miss the delight of discovering something when I'm not searching. This phenomenon is similar to what sociologists call "the strength of weak ties": our ingenious ideas or information scoops often come from not strong ties in our personal network such as family and friends, but weak ties such as acquaintance or co-workers who are more likely to have a different information network and perspective. That's why collaboration, with people very different from us, is so important. That's why collaboration across media platforms and organizations is so critical for public broadcasters to survive and thrive in the digital age.

#4: Social Cord: Charge for Content Via Twitter
"New service Social Cord has devised a way to charge your Twitter followers to access premium content": pay via text message rather than credit card.

I doubt that many people will pay to access premium content in Twitter. But the payment via text method is interesting and may be the direction of future. In Japan where mobile use is a decade ahead of U.S., people use mobile to pay for all kinds of thing -- gas, snack in vending machine, etc. This story makes me think that as more people use iPhone or other mobile devices to access public broadcasting content, it may be worthwhile to build a "donation" function in the mobile app. That's a much easier way than donating by phone or online. Entering credit card number online always makes me nervous.

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