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Business models for P2P

At first glance, it would seem peer-2-peer and file-sharing programs seem more about the controversially good service they provide than to profit making. And while Wall Street may not be paying attention, file-sharing is growing in new ways.

The new ASUS WL-700gE Wireless Storage Center provides 160GB of memory, allowing you to keep your BitTorrent downloads going even with your computer turned off. BitTorrent is a file-sharing system designed to distribute large files without a costly central server.

This expensive wireless router offers an interesting glimpse as to new ways software manufacturers will attract consumers. Even the 60GB and other large capacity MP3 players have an unspoken interest in the file-sharing crowd. Research company Ipsos Insight found that 19 percent of music on MP3 players came from illegal downloads, 6 percent from copying someone else’s CDs, and 44 percent from the person’s own CD collection. Only 25 percent came from download-to-own services.

And these numbers take some consideration, especially as downloading music legally proliferates. These high capacity MP3 players (and hard drives) allow users to download more music and movies then we logically have time to listen to or watch.

As a result, these products, in a sense, inspire more file-sharing (or just sharing of hard drives) to fill up all this space. Why spend the extra money for the 80GB iPod if you aren’t going to fill it up. That’s approximately 26,000 songs or 250 TV shows or 100 movies.

And anything you’re not watching, you can keep on your wireless router.

Portable Playstation

PC-based emulators, programs that allow console-based games to be played on computers, have provided various options for Playstation emulation. DCEMu Yoshihiro has released a Playstation emulator for the handheld PSP.

The amazing thing here is not the program itself, which technically limits portability since you have to plug your PSP into a computer to play the CD-ROM. But the interesting this is the jump in technology: a small, hand-held system can play the games that broke all limits for graphics and 3D worlds. Sony, and Nintendo DS, are both hosting games updated from older games that were, in many ways, state of the art when released, as in Mario 64 now crammed into a small cartridge for your DS. And Final Fantasy III’s cute pixilated 16-bit world just can’t muster the glow needed for the PSP, as the game comes re-released in all-new 3D graphics.

The added benefit of these imports is that hand held systems are finally enjoying some console styled game play with rich storytelling and cinema-styled visuals. This will make those long plane rides much more fulfilling, but your train ride to school might start to limit game choices. This will be the trade off to consider, between the quick hits and full immersion.

My Pitch: YouTube Advertising

The massive, and occassionally copyright infringing, user content of YouTube makes advertisers nervous if not downright confused how to reach users. So here is My Pitch for YouTube to attract advertisers without allienating its independently minded users.

Have a company, or several companies, sponsor biweekly or monthly contests where users are to create their own commercials for these companies. The commercials, or short films, must feature that company’s product. The company(ies) then offer prizes: money, video equipment, coupons. Users then vote on their favorite videos, providing constant views who will watch several “commercials” featuring said product. The company will also pay YouTube a certain amount, in a sense, paying to advertise the contest. One contest can be the “Featured” contest of the month with two or three smaller ones for additional revenue (and fun).

Users keep control of the content while advertises get very inexpensive yet addictively interactive commercials.

My Pitch is a semi-regular column where I propose a possible solution or idea for evolving media and business in the new media.

Book Review: Long Tail by Chris Anderson

The Long Tail looks at how technology is helping change business, spreading focus from a few blockbusters to broader niche interests. Anderson, an editor of Wired Magazine, explores how Amazon, Netflix, iTunes, eBay and other online services are helping consumers find new items for purchase as alternatives to the best sellers in stores.

Anderson’s effective argument presents a large problem for the entertainment industry who’s survive thrives on a few choice blockbusters which are now commanding less of consumer dollars. This problem is even more prevalent in the music industry where file-sharing has offered a nearly unlimited source of music to explore, all for free.

What Anderson missed was a conclusion of what to do about this change. How can the entertainment industry, for example, adjust its reliance on blockbusters in the new media age. File-sharing spreads as do broadband and improved compression methods. More downloading services appear offering greater choice, convenience, and price competition with brick and mortar stores. Several services, like Rhapsody for music, GameTap for video games, and cable’s OnDemand for movies offer unlimited viewing of a large library for a monthly fee. Certain items will likely be more popular than others, but with a monthly fee, blockbusters just don’t register.

I believe the entertainment industry will gravitate to monthly services, especially in video games where updating technology and options have higher value. The popularity of massively multiplayer online games is only a beta preview of what’s to come. Now, video games and the systems running them become obsolete. Why play Civilization 2 when I can play Civilization 4? But with Civilization: Online, my small monthly fee allows for a constantly updating and evolving game. But game companies will have to create a balance of games for the casual gamer who doesn’t want monthly fees for each game compared to the avid followers who will pay. Rumor has it, Marvel Comics’ long-in-development MMO will explore this changing world scenario, allowing the game to change as the comic books change.

Allan Heinberg Q&A

Allan Heinberg gave me an exclusive interview for Gay.com in advance of his run on Wonder Woman. Here’s a little taste:

From the O.C. to the Amazon, a new scribe takes hold of the golden lasso and magic bracelets. The Amazon Princess, Wonder Woman, returns after a year of tragedy in an all-new series penned for DC Comics by Allan Heinberg, the out gay writer of such hit television shows as “The O.C.,” “Sex and the City” and “Gilmore Girls.” His “One Year Later” will chronicle the new adventures of his favorite superhero starting in June as she looks back on her annus horribilis.

“Basically, in order to save the earth, [Wonder Woman] had to essentially commit murder,” Heinberg said. “And so the world at large and the superhero community at large are very ambivalent about her.”

Her gods “have retreated from the astral plane, as have the Amazons,” he said. “She’s left all by herself, sort of orphaned and trying to decide whether or not she’s going to continue.”

Batwoman exclusive

Check out my article on Out.com premiering exclusive images of the new Batwoman. I also got the lowdown on Batwoman’s plot line with her ex-girlfriend Renee Montoya. Montoya, primarily, follows Intergang as they invade the Bat-less Gotham City.