– Return of the Schedule

by on December 22, 2006

Now this is interesting. Kaoru has been working on a site that allows you to upload videos – and schedule them.

I like to think of myself as a contrarian (well, until it becomes uncomfortable), and there’s something about this site that tickles my contrarian fancies. Timeshifting, PVR-fuelled, 24-hour living is all the rage, and this is of course tearing society apart as we know it, obviously. But nobody, until now, has had the courage to explore that grandest of old media devices – the schedule.

Schedules bring back memories of coal-blackened miners racing home from t’pit at the same time as stockbrokers and museum curators around Britain, all bursting through their front doors just in time to kiss the wife, gab a cuppa and jump onto the sofa as the theme tune to Top of the Pops bursts from the oak-laminated box by the fireplace. Ahh, Bisto.

There is nothing wrong that I can think of in that behaviour (although thank the Lord that TOTP has gone), but there’s plenty wrong with the way schedules have been manipulated by broadcasters (as reams of complaint letters to all TV and radio channels show). The arrogance of scheduled entertainment is obvious: “You want it? You wait until we’re ready, OK?” Hence the popularity of the aforementioned time-shifting.

But what happens if you let people schedule their own media for others? In myminute’s case, they charge you to do so (a pound!) Most of me looks at YouTube and thinks “Naaah.” But there is the contrarian in me – and he says “I think they may be on to something.”


Exactly what I thought when the client first approached us with the idea. “This goes against the grain of all the non linear goodness that the Internet has brought to us!!”

But still there is the itch of he germ of something potentially brlliant in there. What I would do if I wazs MyMinute, to stop it being the echoing hall that it is, is:

– stop charging in the beta period so that people actually schedule content all the time
– invite some well known digital film makers to run short festivals on there
– have at least five slots of regular scheduled content on daily / twice weekly / weekly basis to create the “appointment to see” effect
– acknowledge that people will find a way to download the content by including some sort of copyleft acknowledgment (and also stop blatantly breaking their own TOU by uploading rights controlled music with their own programming, which will alienate musicians and other artists from wholeheartedly participating)

Funnily enough, I’ve just exchanged some mail with the owners of the site in which I suggested several things, including the one about copyleft (and also restricted access to the schedule). I’ve yet to have a reply, but I also left a tongue-in-cheek “takedown” comment next to one upload that clearly had The Cure playing in the background.

Personally, I think such infringement is inevitable if the site takes off, but it’s interesting that even the owners themselves think nothing of it.

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