Virtual Conferences and Video Content

This year has clearly been the year of YouTube, Google Video and other pretenders to the throne. And as I’ve discussed before, I think Flash-based video is really cool.

However, not everything it’s used for involves cats falling off trees as per You’ve Been Framed, or actors fooling people. One of the best uses has been the huge amount of compelling video that’s been released free from conferences this year. I’ve absorbed tens of hours of it this year, on subjects as diverse as life coaching from legend Tony Robbins (Alexander Kjerulf has been to one of his seminars, and I want to go too), the marketing of spaghetti sauce, and curing aging. ‘Catch-all’ conferences such as Gel, TED, and LIFT have all got in on the act. This, of course, is an alternative to physically travelling, and will surely produce more super-star conferences that attract bigger names, bigger audiences, and grow in stature.

I’d love this video-based content to be one more nail in the coffin of the box in the corner. TV still seems to hold an now-unworthy position, primarily because of the culture of FUD around copyright that scares studios away from the network and causes them to avoid doing anything more adventurous than releasing restriction-encumbered shiny discs. I don’t think this can last, though; despite the nonsense that’s spoken about the ‘ethics’ of ‘owning’ content by those think they’ve bought more than a license, as Cory Doctorow rightly points out, DRM is fundamentally a broken business model. Whichever way the details of the market go, I’m sure we’ll eventually be able to chalk up another win for the long tail. I certainly hope so.