Monthly Archives: January 2003

Turning weblogs into businesses

Jim McClellan surveys early attempts to commercialise weblogs in The Guardian. Good article with lots of useful links at the end. This is one of those pieces that produces a kind of buzz of anxiety in anyone with a mind to have a go for themselves – it seems to say “hey, come on guys, the latest revolution’s half over. Get your skates on!”. This is where you have to get a grip and remind yourself that we’re still right at the beginning of whatever the blogosphere is going to become. Like one of those TV programmes about the history of the universe, if the lifecycle of the emerging weblog business is represented as 24 hours, then we probably still haven’t heard the first tick of the big clock. Also worth noting that Jim was also present for the last big arrival – the web itself – a decade ago, at iD Magazine and The Face.

Barry Cox again

On the strength of Barry Cox’s first provocative and wide-ranging lecture on the future of television, I’m looking forward to the next three. I don’t agree with everything he says but this is thoughtful stuff and timely. Here’s some news coverage of his call for the abolition of the licence fee.

A self-perpetuating department of state

Barry Cox, commercial TV old-timer, says we should get started on the long slog to an open market for television now:

“Does a mature liberal democracy such as the UK really still need an institution such as the BBC in its present form? It is, in effect, a self-perpetuating department of state but without an elected politician at its head. Like other departments of state, it is funded by taxpayers’ money, but unlike them it is guaranteed more money than it needs to do the job for which it has been created.”

(from Media Guardian)

The Economist keeps the faith

The last time The Economist ran a big survey of the Internet (1996?) I bought dozens of copies and sent them to all my clients and suppliers with a stern letter insisting that they read it cover to cover. The latest is not quite as exciting but strikingly keeps the faith. Many of the scenarios outlined are hardly rosey (privacy meltdown, big brother states, copyright overkill) and the ‘Internet Society’ described is hardly a paradise on earth but it will still change everything. You may need to subscribe to see the survey but, if you do, it’s well worth a read.

Pizza with a pioneer

Roger Green in Pizza Express Watford
Roger Green is a media backroom boy, a veteran of many years as a top manager at Britain’s number 2 magazine publisher EMAP (until he left the company last year) and one of the first to understand the Internet’s sweeping potential to change publishing. In the early days of the web (I mean 93/94), Roger (and his then co-conspirator at EMAP Carol Dukes, who went on to found Think Natural) were my principle source of expense account Pizza. Later he launched dozens of important web sites for EMAP until the crash brought the adventure to a crunching close. Today Roger and I ate Pizza in Watford (Roger paid, naturally).

Practically a proper journalist…

The nice people at The Guardian (in particular Online editor Vic Keegan) continue to indulge me and have now allowed me a weekly ‘at large’ column which you’ll be able to find here on Tuesday mornings from now on. My first is up now and concerns the hot topic of ‘the public domain’. I’ll try to support the columns with related material at my weblog – so today you’ll find entries about the RIAA, the effects of downloading on the recording industry and Kazaa.

Double clever?

Emily Bell in The Guardian greets Ofcom’s new boss and wonders if the BBC might have been excluded from Ofcom’s scope in order to provide a PR win for the new regulator when the Ministry does a tactical U-turn. Sounds a bit baroque to me.