The Digital Media Manifesto



Alberto Lombardi


Response to "Comments on Complete draft of Digital Media Manifesto"




Below italic indicates the text to which a response is given.

A. when in the Introduction it's stated that "DM is in a phase of stagnation" I believe that it is too strong: my view is that the forecast of the growth of DM (Internet, digital TV, IT,....) in late 90's was overestimated, but the growth in most of the sectors of DM has continued in 2000-2003 but at a slower pace

I partly agree because in the course of the DMM discussions we have changed my original definition of DM as

Media become "Digital Media" when they offer a user experience that cannot be realised with other technologies.

to the less ambitious definition of the DMP Statutes

Digital Media include mainstream media experiences such as Compact Disc, Digital Versatile Disc, Digital Audio Broadcasting and Digital Television but also newer emerging experiences made possible by Information and Communication Technologies.

With this definition it is no longer true that "DM is in a phase of stagnation", because for sure the business of DVD content (which is now part of DM) is booming.

I would still maintain that, with this (important) exception, "DM is in a phase of stagnation". The arguments are:

Overall the DM is poor. There is no growth, the device market is not based on the virtuous process of: "buy this device today at 99.95 $ today and buy it next year at the same price (or even more) because there will be 3 new features whose value you perceive".

In any case we must change the sentence "DM is in a phase of stagnation" to something else. I propose: "most of DM is in a phase of stagnation with rare cases where there is a profitable and legitimate business with a good user experience".

in order to be consistent, some market figures should be used to show whatever situation we are in today, and do not leave the issue open for "opponents" to disagree; whatever situation we are in today, DM could be a much more attractive market if some of the issues raised in the DMM are solved;

The ones I posted above are the figures I have. Is there anybody with other figures?

B. the problem about DRM is "credibility": the right owners, in particular of premium content, do not believe in most of the technology around, and so do not release their content: therefore, an important aspect would be to create a kind of "certification authority" in parallel to any standardisation body where the content providers are heavily represented in order to certify the different parties involved (manufacturers, sw vendors, service providers, etc.) guarantee the "quality" that has been agreed.... self certification is not enough with the commercial interests around content

The DMM does not elaborate on these - very important - practical aspects, but it is obvious that DRM is not just a technical issue and its practical implementation is based on business deals, third party certification etc.

C. in 3.1.3 I think we are again in the situation of my point A: in last year/months broadband access (xDSL) subscriptions have raised a lot in several EU conutries, following what happened in US and some part of Asia the previous year(s)....., but I agree that "Evidence of domestic broadband demand today suggests that it is not 'new services' as such that are currently causing people to buy"...

If I can put it bluntly, ADSL today is good to download audio and video files from P2P networks. If we want people to look for legitimate content, we have to have diffused and really broadband access (and I do not necessarily mean fiber to the home) and then there will also be offers of legitimate content. Left to itself the former will not happen, so the latter will also not happen. That is why broadband access is a policy issue.

instead for DTT, dig cable and satellite is different, the growth is much slower, but even here the million of payTV users around EU and US are a reality.... maybe it would help to see some figures on subs to the different media; however, new technology is meaningless if does not bring real benefits to the users, and in my opinion, that's why people buy BSkyB or Sky Italia to watch football (the only place to watch it!)

Having subscribers but losing money is not my idea of being in business (this reminds me of start up evaluations based on web page hits). Being in a country where there is pay TV monopoly is not my idea of society either.

but do not buy a VOD service if VHS/DVD is available or they can go to the theater.....

They do not buy it because there is none and if there is one it has a very poor offer.

GSM is the example to follow: standard solution and unique value proposition (mobility), in DM very few players have been able to do the same.

Exactly! Would you like to compare the paralysis of DM market and the buoyancy of the mobile market? Why do we want to inflict to ourselves so many pains?