Saturday, November 05, 2005

Be aware of Norwegians with silly names

If you want to set up your own global broadcasting network (using broadband TV) or if you want to aggregate digital video content, that is, one, two, three, many "Me TV" projects, just look to Norway's Rubber Duck Media Lab. For about 750 Euro a month, you can rent a TV platform and broadcast you own or your aggregated content to broadband TV and mobile TV viewers anywhere.
What this effectively means is that companies will appear, re-selling space on the Rubber Duck platform, allowing anyone to have their own TV channel or media stream -- music, images, whatever, for a trivial sum. Classic broadcast television is dead and internet-based streaming video, user-generated content, sometimes intermediated by trusted platforms (v-loggers, vlog editors, even cutting edged "real" media such as Norway's VG) is the wave of the future.
Silly as its name may be, Rubber Duck was another interesting Norwegian company that I met at the recent Mobile Media Conference in Vilnius. They run their sales out of London, but host such programming as US-based Fox Television on servers in Norway. Anyone wanting Fox content on certain US mobile operators gets it from the land of fjords, fish and oil.
The interesting thing is that Norway, with such cutting edge, globally disruptive technology, is only twice as big as Latvia in population (around 4.5 million) and, aside from its offshore oil, geographically disadvantaged compared to Latvia (it is much bigger and Oslo, the capital, may be closer to North Africa than it is to some towns above the Polar Circle). Plus you have mountains and wilderness, wilderness and mountains, more wilderness, several fjords, yet more mountains, wilderness yet again.. you get the picture.
It would seem there is no reason Latvia can't produce companies like Rubber Duck that are on the cutting edge of the 21st century infosphere. We are not talking about building a USD 2 billion, 500 meter high offshore platform (if you are looking for "classic" industrial technology, assembled --where else are you going to do it :) - in Norway, build in various places), but about powerful knowledge economy technologies that run on equipment worth, probably, less than LVL 100 000.
It's not like Latvia hasn't tried. There are some streaming video sites available. When I read that fellow blogger (the link is in Latvian) Kristaps Kaupe had appeared on a talk show discussing gay marriage (his nationalist party is vehemently opposed, I am a libertarian in this regard), I wanted to get the streamed version (I missed the show), I got a Windows Media Player (for Mac) window on my iMac G5 (running Safari) and then .... nothing. This does not look good. It is not the first dead link I have seen, not only on, but on other Latvian sites, too.


mxz said...

I am certainly waiting for the day I can see Fox, HBO and Comedy Central in this part of the world. I understand that it would be impossible with broadcast television (from now on known as 'regular ass TV') but broadband and future TV concept clearly breaks all of these limitations. Anyway, while I still can't subscribe to Comedy Central and etc. I glady take the trouble of downloading all my favourite shows right off bittorrent networks. There are no drawbacks other than the slightly recuded video quality due to compression.

Tres Bien said...

Juris, do you have any ideas, what activities they could ever launch in Baltics, since the mobile market ir realtively small and networks are quite weak? I wonder, why they came to Vilnius!

Juris Kaža said...

I think they did a corporate image thing and are looking to sell "shelf space" on their platform, which is not all that costly if you are going to resell it as a post-your-mobile-video clips service for, say, 50 santims an item.
The Baltic mobile market is probably close to 4 million users, if not more. So it is about like a big European city.