Knocking Docherty

I think Danny’s wrong to knock David Docherty’s ‘Cookie Monster‘ analogy. David may have been on a hiding to nothing from the beginning at Telewest, but the nub of truth in his frustration is that the conduct of Internet users is important (how could it be otherwise?). As actors in the networked economy we have obligations and our good faith will be critical to the success or otherwise of digital music, film, whatever. If a whole generation of users really has decided that it’ll never pay for music again (which is arguable), then music will inevitably be driven off the net.

As usual, I’m mister middle-of-the-road. Where David and the suits see a field of high concept ‘broadband content’ and Danny and the geeks see an untenanted void waiting for settlers to fill it – I see a bit of both. In fact, I think it’s economic lunacy to suggest that either could be sufficient unto itself. No one but no one will bring dark fibre to my curb without some value added ‘content’ to subsidise the utterly commodified pipe and users will never accept the media owners’ vision of content-driven broadband heaven unless it looks a lot like the net. As usual, the outcome is more likely to be a messy ecology than a nice, clean monoculture.

Docherty repulsed!

I can’t help but warm to David Docherty’s image of greedy Cookie Monsters spoiling the broadband party for the unfortunate content creators. The geeks, in particular, never warmed to David and his increasingly shrill Guardian columns gave away the scale of the challenge he was set. Broadband content in the UK is a total wash-out – for reasons that are now becoming clear. The pressure on David to deliver must have been enormous. I’m surprised he lasted as long as he did.