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March 13 at 11:11am

Battelle On iPad as Metaphor For All That’s Wrong With Media Distribution

By Ted Hope

I got hipped to this by MovieCityNews.  I had not read John Battelle before, but in his broadside he sums up what he doesn’t like about the iPad and he sums up our current situation pretty damn well:

Media traditionally has gained its profits by owning distribution. Cable carriage, network airwaves, newsstand distribution and printing presses: all very expensive, so once you employ enough capital to gain them, it’s damn hard to get knocked out.

The web changed all that and promised that economics in the media business would be driven by content and intent: the best content will win, driven by the declared intent of consumers who find it and share it. Search+Social was the biggest wave to hit media since the printing press. And the open technology to make better and better experiences has been on a ten year tear: blogging software, Flash, Ajax, HTML 5, Android, and more and more coming.

Read the rest of the article here.  I look forward to reading more of him in the days ahead.

We are in a battle where the hope and promise offered by a free and open internet is challenged by the traditional drive for total control by excessive capital.

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6 Comments

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  1. Floyd McMasters / Mar 13 at 11:11am

    Veddy Interesting. Apple’s marketing is ingenious in making you not ask these kinds of questions. In the original sales video, one of the first things they stress is that the Ipad is “magical.”

  2. Robb / Mar 13 at 11:11am

    This is a broadside by Battelle and as broadsides go, it masks it’s true intentions and motives for making ridiculous claims.

    I completely agree with Huxley who wrote, “The iPad’s mobile Safari provides one of the best native non-proprietary clients for the open web, it just doesn’t give you Flash and Silverlight. Now maybe that sucks, but it’s not really about what you seem to want people to think you’re talking about.”

    Battelle has clients, very big clients with deep pockets and highly proprietary interests at stake. He isn’t ringing the bell for the little guy, the indie, the self-distributor. He has set out here to conceal his interests in a battle for control not a batlle for open standards nor open distribution.

    Don’t be fooled into picking strawdog enemies.

  3. Chris Dorr / Mar 13 at 11:11am

    Actually Battelle has it all wrong. The iPad with have a browser that will allow you to go wherever you want on the Web. It rejects a proprietary technology–flash–and uses many open source tools. It is simply a device that will help increase media usage online and anyone can take advantage of it.

    Apple is not perfect but so far it has been the only company that has figured out a way for music to be paid for at a fair price online, something no one else has done at any massive scale. It is not an enemy for artists trying to get distribution and pay for their work. Clearly Battelle has some other axe to grind.

  4. Robb / Mar 13 at 11:11am

    There is also an imperative that has been onthe table for independent distribution channels to be established and, despite Battelle’ protestations and broad proclamations to the contrary, Search Soicial has not delivered anything near the potential of his claims. In fact, the Apple iTunes Store has, while not perfect, provided DIY and micro-budget film and content producers better prospects for us to recoup and get out films into the market than Battelle’s clients.

  5. Ryan Stauffer / Mar 13 at 11:11am

    Battelle shows a complete failure to grasp how web browsing, media downloading and consumption, and open standards interact. It’s so nonsensical it almost has to be deliberate.

    In any case, most “media people”—both the producers and distributors—fundamentally misunderstand the importance of the iPad. As a media consumption/distribution channel it may turn out to be merely good, or it may turn out to be great. But that’s not what’s important. The iPad is a game changer for *personal computing*, not for the media.

  6. Noah Harlan / Mar 13 at 11:11am

    Gotta ditto everyone else on this one. Battelle is WAY off base. Safari is built on WebKit which is _the_best_ browser engine out there. It’s open source, way ahead of the game on HTML5 and enormously flexible.

    Everyone forgets that WebKit was a project that started with Apple and which they made open source.

    Flash is a terrible format that destroys performance and is FAR more proprietary than anything Apple offers. Silverlight the same. HTML5 is free and open.

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