Blending the University at SXSWedu

Thanks to all who attended our 9 am presentation on March 6, 2013 at SXSWedu in Austin, TX, on Blending the University.  We had a full house of 125 seats plus folks tucked along the back wall.  We also had a robust conversation on the question of organizational challenges with blended learning design during the session and following throughout the day.

Please enjoy and share the presentation.

Listening for Change in the Music and Publishing Businesses

February has been the month for innovation conferences on music and publishing. Last week was O’Reilly’s Tools of Change Conference (in New York with amazing food). Yesterday was Brian Zisk’s SF Music Tech Conference, and today starts Ned Sherman’s Digital Media Wire Music conference in New York.

Recurring themes have been abundant start-ups facing creators to help them into continuing to shift distribution platforms, as well as various efforts in creating thoughtful fan data tools. Innovation on both coasts and with both industries is in the face of long-standing industry leaders, all embracing digital in workflow, marketing, distribution, and social media . . . to various degrees. We’ve been having a good time chatting with companies as they have been launching over the past year or so. One company eagerly approached us yesterday at SF Music Tech, eager to tell us that the company that they dreamed of last October is launching in April.

Revenue? Business models? The issue we find the most interesting is business development. How do you cost-effectively sell into these spaces, especially in working with traditional distribution and rights holders? We keep running into one frantically running biz dev person at many of these companies.

We’re seeing the issue with more startling contrast in the educational media and technology space, with biz dev people trying to sell one small product to many universities, and amazed they can’t get scale.

Week of Publishing Change in a Season of Educational Transformation

We’re getting busier and busier around educational technology change with many higher education organizations now.  In this season of MOOCs (“massively open online courses”) and other education innovation announcements, I am focusing with many organizations on how to plan educational design with all of this output.  How do we syndicate and create multiple use streams?  How do we interact with publishing companies and other universities with all of this multimedia content?  How do we collaborate and re-purpose what can otherwise be expensive limited use content?

This week, I’m heading to the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference to think about how multimedia distribution might fold into all this expanded production in higher education.  At least one university we’re working with is rethinking their academic publishing arm — what can we do with all of this media being produced in MOOCs and blended course environments?

Mixing Digital Business with Education — User Generated What?

For the past two weeks, we have been running presentations and workshops on education in the cloud and digital education in creative industries.  I’ve also been going to a variety of conferences, including heading today to Billboard FutureSound in San Francisco.

At last night’s event, several of us began to compare notes on all of the digital learning companies that we see launching.  One of our advisers, on the investment side, said that he had two companies just pitched to him yesterday.

What are the barriers to entry in this business, now that you can perch your new learning environment on flexible cloud-based tools and infrastructures-in-the-cloud?  Audience?

For many years, I have taught part-time at UCLA.  Every year, friends have come to me saying, “What I really want to do is teach.”  I have told them how much it pays (and they are taken aback), and they still want to do it.  UCLA does get picky, and has turned down many fine VPs of divisions of companies because they lack both the right credentials and teaching experience.  UCLA Extension provides a wonderful alternative, within their structure and fine teacher training, for a lot of this content to get out into the professional worlds.

Now we are mixing the abundance of User Generated Content with all of this unmet teaching demand.  I spoke with two start-ups last week.  Each is “allowing” the teaching faculty for their programs to invest all of their own time and recording energy to create their classes, and “only” taking 50% of the revenue for letting them teach on the platform.  Other older entities are more gracious to the teachers (some keeping 15-30%), but all of these seem to put the production risk onto the eager teacher with no guarantees or advances.  Many seem to offer deals to learners with deep discounts to drive continuing interest in the platform.

There are some great programs that do have nice revenue streams for the teachers online.  The newer models, mixing new abundance into education, seem to be taking willing content producers and promising them lights to shine.

Perhaps I’ll be less cynical when I see review structures come out and customers not flock to the next new freemium educational product.

Fox/NAMIC Digital Media Panel Exchange: "The Future of Digital Content & Distribution"

Fox is hosting with NAMIC a Digital Media event on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012: “The Future of Digital Content & Distribution.”

FOX / NAMIC — Digital Media Multi-Platform Panel Exchange: “The Future of Digital Content & Distribution”

Wednesday, October 30, 2012, 6:00pm-8:25pm @ Fox Studios Lot

Click here to register with NAMIC for the event

Two panels offering engaging and relevant perspectives and professional insights on the impact of digital content development and distribution across multiple platforms.

Agenda:

Networking Reception: (6:00p / 45 minutes)

Digital Content Panel (6:45p / 40 minutes)

·         Martez Moore, EVP, Digital Media/Strategy & Business Development

·         Gigi Johnson – Executive Director, Maremel Institute

·         Maureen Lane – Vice President – Programming West, Time Warner Cable

·         Maurizio Vitale – Senior Vice President, Marketing, OWN

Intermission/Networking: (7:25p / 20 minutes)

Digital Distribution Panel: (7:45p / 40 minutes)

·         Carlos Sanchez – Executive Director, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution

·         Ric Whitney – Director, Digital Marketing – Cable Distribution, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

·         Melissa Peterkin – Senior Director, Product Strategy & Partnerships, Digital Media Group, CBS Television Distribution