Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Adobe, Microsoft, Google-- SuperDistribution is the Answer!

I went to a breakfast at the Beverly Hills Hotel last week, and heard Tony Perkins (of AlwaysOn fame) talk about the digital media. In order to emphasize his point that Internet distribution is front of mind, he related a story about moderating a panel with one executive from ABC and another from FOX. In the panel, these two were discussing the various merits of Internet distribution—and their different takes on it. ABC drives all traffic to its web site, while Fox pushes traffic to its local affiliates. These two directions were being presented AS THE TOTAL DISCUSSION. How yesterday.

Now I’m the first to admit I tend to look toward the near future for business, having gotten into eCommerce in 1994 (when many told me it was illegal), and into IPv6 in 2005 (when many told me much worse!), but making people visit your website in order to see your content is not very forward thinking. In fact, it’s not how the next generation of Internet users will interact with content at all.

In order to fully utilize the Internet, content must be set free. Social Networks, Mobile computing, real peer to peer networks, texting-- this is how we use the net. Content must be able to flourish freely, while still maintaining metrics and monetization capabilities.

As we are starting to see peer to peer networks go from outlaw to mainstream, we cannot forget what makes them thrive. No, it’s not the elegant code of a BitTorrent, but rather it’s the users that choose to participate. In Peer to Peer networks, people are the key part of the chain. This leads me to SuperDistribution.

Superdistribution allows and indeed encourages digital products to be distributed freely in encrypted form, even as the product’s owner retains control over the ability to use and modify the product (WikiPedia) . This is the ideal, as long as content owners can retain control, while the content is passed around the net endlessly. Many have tried-- few have succeed.

Enter I just joined their board, but not just because they are singing the superdistribution song, because in 2008 there are a lot of startups that have now seen the light and are humming that tune. I joined the DigitalContainers board because they came up with this idea back in 1997, and did two very smart things about it. First, they patented the entire system flow. Second, they built the software so it actually works. Over these last 10 years, their patents have been awarded, and many have been successfully tested in court. These guys get superdistribution, and superdistribution will unlock the value in the digital media world.

As Microsoft’s Silverlight, Adobe’s MediaPlayer, and many more are searching for the latest new way to distribute valuable content on the Internet, little do they know that the answer is now 10 years old!

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