Tuesday, September 04, 2007

KOM Tunes into Digital Media

Knowledge Oasis Muscat’s next Digital Nation seminar will be held 9:30pm, Monday 17 September at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Backed by Ericsson, Microsoft, HP, Omania e-Commerce, SAP Arabia, OER, Infoline, Nawras, Infocomm and Times of Oman the 17 September session will tune into Digital Media.

But what exactly is digital media? According to Ibtisam Al Faruji (pictured), KOM’s Head of Marketing “it’s anything from the traditional uses of the medium for creating and sharing rich content to the explosion of blogs for self expression and increasingly real time interpretation of news and breaking events.” Digital media is also about shared content via websites like Flicr, YouTube and blip.tv and social sites such as FaceBook and MySpace. It's a concept that's booming.

Today, consumers are more than ever seeking out information rather than following blindly. “We've moved away from an age of deference to an age of reference. The emergence of blogs and wikis ('what I know is?') clearly show the demands of an increasingly sophisticated and information-hungry public and are examples of how consumers are taking power into their own hands and creating their own new and trusted sources of information. The consumer really is becoming king,” comments Al Faruji.

Consumers are exercising more control, said Infocomm’s Karim Rahemtulla. Already in the US, 70% of personal video recorder users are skipping adverts, he noted. "People want to connect to information and connect to their friends," he said. "The focus will be on highly personalized experiences." Suggesting that advertisers might be missing a trick, he added: ""Today only about 5% of global advertising is online, yet 20% of media is consumed online. This is an amazing opportunity for advertisers."

The boom in social websites like Flickr and YouTube “clearly indicate the rise in collaborative usage of the Internet” said Ericsson’s Susie Houh and supporter of the Digital Nation program. "This is a social innovation and not just a technological one," she commented. “Collaborative editing of music and video content are the next likely trends, although this will depend on free licensing and the availability of easy-to-use software,” she added.

PEIE’s Dave Pender believes that consumers of news from the media are transforming themselves into providers of information. For example, the pioneering South Korean "citizen journalism" website Ohmynews now has over 33,000 citizen reporters, though it still used professional editors too, he noted. Pender cited a recent quote from News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch - "We tell you less, you tell us more" - to illustrate how some of the global media were engaging with the potential power of citizen journalism.

In the not too distant future "content will be delivered anywhere to a growing range of devices. Indeed, a lot of that content will be available on your mobile," forecast Infocomm’s Rahemtulla. "The scope will exist for far greater personalization of all forms of content and end users will be empowered and have greater influence, controlling how, where and at what price they consume content." The feeling among many media commentators is that traditional media players, including public service broadcasters, still have a future, as long as they can reinvent themselves.

For KOM’s Al Faruji, the key to success for TV channels, radio stations and print media still lay in content. “Given the incredible growth of digital media folk in the media industry will need to take greater risks. In the end, it will boil down to creativity, that will be a key factor.”
To attend the free of charge Digital Nation seminar send your name and contact co-ordinates to: info@kom.om

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