07 January 2007

Be Rupert Murdoch for only $5,000

The Gutenberg Press, arguably the first tool of mass communication, was invented in about 1440. The Gutenberg Bible was printed in 1452, becoming the first volume produced book. (It's worth remembering that in Medieval Times it was a capital offense to have a Bible written in one's native language.) In 1517 - about 77 years after the Gutenberg Press was invented, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg, effectively igniting the first flames of the Protestant Revolution. In 1531, Henry VIII broke with Rome and made himself the head of the Church of England and by 1540, he had seized church land.

100 years from the time this tool of mass communication was invented to the time that it had effectively transformed the church and state - helping to transition power from the dominant institution of the church to newly dominant institution of the state and in the process forever changing the nature of the church in the West. By making the Bible available in private homes, it effectively helped to make real Martin Luther's declaration "We are all priests!" Power of the church was diffused and every part of life was impacted.

In 1989, Vincent Cerf made public his work that he'd been doing for the government that allowed computers to exchange email and for a person on one computer to remotely access anothe computer. (People tend to say that they "surf" the Internet as if they were riding waves. They really ought to be saying that they "cerf" the Internet in honor of the man who developed the technology they are using.) It has been only 18 years since the inception of the Internet, a technology that is arguably to our time what the Gutenberg Press was to its time. The Gutenberg Press transformed the church - that period's dominant institution. I predict that the Internet will transform the corporation - our dominant institution. And along the way, it will transform media.

One of the more fascinating steps in that transformation is a recent product by NewTek that effectively enables any person with $5,000 to create his or her own TV studio. You can learn more by clicking here:

or read the excerpt of the report here: [start of excerpt]

In the new age of the net…anyone can become a TV network. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today’s technology. Time Magazine took note….naming you…the person of the year in 2006. You meaning the millions of people who contributing content to the Web…through YouTube and other sites. Can you really compete with the TV networks?

A company called NewTek has built a ten pound box called the TriCaster…..that is essentially a self contained studio…that plugs into the Internet.

CEO Jim Plant … “It allows you to connect multiple cameras and do everything you do in a live studio…the graphics...the rolling in the tape… multiple cameras…live digital video effects… all those things that are the hallmark of a live production… you can now do that in a ten pound box. And also we can connect this to the Internet. So we can live stream that…that multi camera production… all in real time.” It essentially…is a specialized high end PC. The price…about five thousand dollars. It works so well…some professionals…such as ESPN Radio have been using it.

About the future…Plant says think YouTube…but think live… "And the Internet now has enough bandwidth to make that possible. That’s the distribution side of it. Now we come in on the production side and make sure that what you put out on the air…and I use on the air in quotations…looks like a professional broadcast. Because that does make a difference.” ------- [End of article]

Just think about how this could revolutionize media. Suddenly, you can be Rupert Murdoch. The Gutenberg Press was instrumental in dispersing power to the individual. Now, NewTek's TriCaster has become another revolutionary product. And I do mean revolutionary. Like Gutenberg's Press, the TriCaster disperses power from the elites to you. Even if you choose not to be a mini-Murdoch, you have to agree that this is a fascinating time to be alive.

[Full disclosure: NewTek CEO Jim Plant was a good buddy in junior high and my freshman year of high school. We were on a Little League Team together. So, you are free to dismiss the above as biased ... but if you do, you may well miss out on one of the most amazing developments of the next few years.]

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