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Be on the wave or under it™

The News – 10/25/02

In this Issue:

Recommended Reading

I realize this is the only newsletter you’ll ever need, but if you want more in-depth detail, check out:

Stan Hustad’s
The Coaching Connection

Management Signature's
The Express Read

Intertainer Sues to Stay Alive
The second part of the Why You Need to Get Hip to HIPAA series will appear in a future SNS

Intertainer, whose business model involves selling access to TV shows and movies over the Internet, has sued AOL Time Warner, Sony, Universal and their joint effort, Movielink.

The company claims the defendants, who control more than 50 percent of the theatrical motion picture business and more than 60 percent of the music business engaged in a “group boycott,” refusing to license their movies to Intertainer to buy time in launching rival Movielink. The suit also alleges that Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema scrapped deals with Intertainer to stymie Microsoft, an Intertainer investor.

Intertainer, which has shuttered its Website, provided 147,000 broadband users with 70,000 hours of programming from more than 70 content providers, including TV shows and current and older movies. For a basic subscription price of $7.99 per month users could watch older titles and TV shows. For an additional $3.99 apiece, users could watch new-release films on a pay-per-view basis as many times as they like within a 24-hour time period. The company has deals with cable providers such as Comcast and Adelphia to offer their Video On Demand (VOD) service as an add-on to digital cable services.

Intertainer paid the studios based on them making 200 films a quarter available, but claims they actually were only providing about 10.

I can understand the studios not wanting to be Napstered, and certainly nobody wants to be Microsofted, but the main thing to take away from these developments is that Hollywood will be in control of VOD services. No others need apply. Intertainer and others proved there was a market there. Now the gorillas will grab it.

This scenario was predicted all the way back in 1991 at the International Conference & Exposition on Multimedia and CD-ROM I attended in San Francisco. There was a significant presence from Hollywood at the keynotes, and one computer industry speaker was asked by a studio suit what he thought the future of multimedia was. "It pretty much depends on what you [in Hollywood] want to do," he said. "So you tell me."

I guess he got told.


Briefly Noted

  • Shameless Self-Promotion Dept.: Check out the article I wrote for the Taylor Harkins newsletter entitled, Wherever they go, there you are about the wireless service known as Short Messaging Service (SMS). The article points out how marketers can use – carefully – this new way to contact their customers.

    I’m featured in Manyworlds’ Thought Leader Showcase, which lists a few of the white papers I’ve done.

    Finally, the CTOMentor wireless white paper, You Can Take It with You: Business Applications of Personal Wireless Devices, is available at ITPapers.

  • Monet on the Money: Alert SNS Reader and telecom expert Nick Stanley enjoyed my analysis of Monet Networks and their budding 3G network:

Nice job on the review of Monet Networks and their work in the “hinterland” as you put it. Their strategy appears to avoid the big dogs of wireless while building up their business and operational base.  Personally, I hope they make it remains to be seen if any one company can build a truly national network, especially one devoted entirely to data services. I could see Monet building a good, strong brand by sticking to their strategy ... in some ways simulating the successful Regional Local Exchange Carriers such as Alltel and  Century Tel. They can make a nice bit of coin doing what they are doing, and staying away from the street fighting and brass-knuckle politics of going up against the majors in the big cities.

Put Monet down for a follow up in your StratVantage Newsletter for this time next year.

I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on Monet and other hinterland broadband efforts over the coming year.
  • FTTH Growth Thoars: Alert SNS Reader Nick Stanley also sent along an article on Fiber To The Home (FTTH), a topic covered in a previous SNS. America’s Network calls FTTH “An area of communications infrastructure where deployment rates will skyrocket over the next 12 months.” The article quotes a study by market research firm Render, Vanderslice & Associates that forecasts 330 percent growth between 2002 and 2003.
    America’s Network

  • P2P Wireless Sniffer: One significant security problem many enterprises are facing today is the proliferation of unauthorized, and often poorly secured, wireless access points. When any employee can pick up an AP at the local CompUSA or Radio Shack and install it in their office, you can see why companies are concerned.

    IBM has a neat solution to finding these rogue APs. Rather than providing a laptop-based sniffer that security personnel use while roaming around offices, IBM uses network-connected and wirelessly-enabled client computers to do the job. Each client searches its local area for access points and reports its findings back to a central database. Located APs are compared with a list of authorized APs and rogue access points are thus identified. This is a very cool application of peer-to-peer (P2P) technology.

  • Tech Jobs Fell: A particularly poorly kept secret is how badly the technology sector has been hit by the recession. A study released by AeA, the nation’s largest high-tech trade association, found that employment in the nation’s high-tech industry fell by 113,000 jobs, or two percent, for the first six months of 2002.

    It might even be worse than that, according to Matt Noah, founder of networking events company NetSuds. Noah said in his recent newsletter, “In the last 2 years, I estimate 40-50% unemployment in the ‘com and .com’ markets.  [. . .] Locally, the trend seems to be complete career changes.  One NetSudser reports buying in to a kitchen cabinet franchise. Others report going back for advanced degrees. One went from founding a VOIP [Voice Over Internet Protocol] security equipment firm to raising and selling buffalo meat -” 

    You can do something about this trend by hiring me, of course! Or you can go on to the next item . . .

  • The Triumph of Form Over Meaning: I admit it. I’m a word guy. I’m a graphics illiterate. The way graphics people think and communicate is foreign to me. Coming from a different place, I always clash with designers. I feel that Websites, for example, need to be useful, serviceable, usable, and meaningful. They do not necessarily need to be pretty. Consequently, I hate sites that open with a Macromedia Flash animation. I can’t hit that Skip button fast enough. Well, here’s a site that not only has no Skip button, but it gets aggressively in your face and beats you over the head with its design-heavy message. It’s been my poster site for the triumph of form over meaning since I discovered it in 2000. I’d love to hear what you think of it.

  • Gartner Predicts: Here’s a site you’ll want to bookmark and visit periodically. Gartner Group has released their 10 predictions of trends that will affect enterprise businesses over the next eight years. They range from the mundane to the controversial. Here’s the list:
  1. Bandwidth becomes more cost effective than computing
  2. Most major applications will be interenterprise
  3. Macroeconomic boost from interenterprise systems
  4. Successful firms in strong economy lay off millions
  5. Continued consolidation of vendors in many segments
  6. Moore's Law continues to hold true through this decade
  7. Banks become primary provider of presence services by 2007
  8. Business activity monitoring is mainstream by 2007
  9. Business units, not IT, will make most application decisions
  10. Pendulum swings back from centralized to decentralized
  • Weblogs and Amateur Publishing: Clay Shirky is an insightful commentator on all things Internet. In his latest newsletter, he discusses the impact that amateur publishing efforts such as Weblogs, also known as blogs, will have on traditional publishing. A blog is a way to publish journal-like musings on the Web. You can get an idea of what they’re like by visiting MIT’s Blogdex. The essay is well worth reading.

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About The Author

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Can’t Get Enough of ME?

In the unlikely event that you want more of my opinions, I’ve started a Weblog. It’s the fashionable thing for pundits to do, and I’m doing it too. A Weblog is a datestamped collection of somewhat random thoughts and ideas assembled on a Web page. If you’d like to subject the world to your thoughts, as I do, you can create your own Weblog. You need to have a Web site that allows you FTP access, and the free software from This allows you to right click on a Web page and append your pithy thoughts to your Weblog.

I’ve dubbed my Weblog entries “Stratlets”, and they are available at Let me know what you think.

Also check out the TrendSpot for ranking of the latest emerging trends.

In Memoriam

Gerald M. Ellsworth

March 14, 1928 - July 5, 2003

In Memoriam

Jane C. Ellsworth

July 20, 1928 - July 20, 2003