Five years ago everyone in Silicon Valley would have scoffed at the idea to start-up a consumer media venture – now investors are vying for anything that wears the three magic keywords social networking, portable, and video.
It’s noteworthy that the new consumer media wave is mainly taking place in the Valley and not in Hollywood or New York. At Silicon Ventures’ Digital Media Symposium 2006, the crème de la crème of the Valley’s investors and consumer media entrepreneurs got together to discuss trends, business models, and opportunities in this old new space. After a crisp introduction and industry overview by Thomas Meredith (P2P Cash), the panel, moderated by Adam Lashinsky (Fortune) and consisting of Jan Jannink (Imeem and formerly Napster), Eli Harari (co-founder and CEO of SanDisk Corp.), Jonathan Sasse (CEO of Iriver America), and Russell Siegelman, a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, debated the miraculous rise of MySpace and what will be universal "all-you-can play" device of the future. Harari used the opportunity to show off SanDisk's new MP3 player, which he boasted is "definitely better than an iPod Nano." Aside from that, the discussion confirmed what most people might have suspected anyway: social networking, video, and portable media are hot, and whoever manages to combine them into one compelling service is a winner these days.
In the poster session, where young start-ups were given the chance to exhibit their business ideas, you could see what’s already out there. Some highlights:
imeem is a consumer-focused company dedicated to giving its users a richly enhanced user experience while allowing them to have control over their content and how they communicate with others.
NeoEdge Networks brings digital content providers closer to their customers. Its innovative, proven technology enables software, game publishers and media providers to digitally distribute, manage and monetize their offerings directly to users on-demand.
inDplay.com is an online, independent film directory, and global licensing and rights management platform. inDplay.com's goal is to accelerate production, demand, and access to independent films through a discovery, networking, and licensing platform. The company lists Eric Schmidt (Google?) as one of their investors.
Veodia democratizes digital media publishing by making it easy and affordable for anyone - enterprises, universities and consumers - to create and distribute live and recorded video to a large community of Internet viewers on PC, Mac, 3G phones or video iPods. The company calls it “Instant Online Video” and says live-video broadcasting will be as easy as making a phone call with their solution.