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Jeremy Phillips, COO, Marketclusters

It has been a busy old year. 10 months since MidemNet 2007 and the pace of change across the digital media sector just keeps accelerating.

So 10 months feels like a long time – those of you with long memories may remember a talk I gave back then on Virtual Worlds, introducing Mattias Miksche of Stardoll and Reuben Steiger of Millions of Us. We talked about the way audiences are shifting, forming into new groupings of loyal and tightly profiled online friends, perfect for marketing if you could pitch to them in just the right way.

And of course it isn’t that simple. Just as the rules start to form, they break again.

At StrategyEye we’ve been busy keeping an eye on the innovative companies, partnerships and deals that are continuing to break the rules – rules on how to reach your audience, rules on how we all consume digital content, rules on how the money flows. (You can see some of the latest breaking news and analysis in the ticker on the right hand side of this blog).

I’ll be running a session at MidemNet 2008 on a few of the biggest rule-breakers – the companies that are gaining traction, carving value away from traditional sources. In the run-up to the show, I’m looking for your input – who would you like to see? Where do you see the greatest disruption?

As food for thought, I thought it would be helpful to briefly describe some of the companies that we have featured in Focus pieces on the StrategyEye platform in recent months – some you’ll know well, one or two may be less familiar, and all are at that interesting stage where they are set to accelerate fast.

Joost – launched by Skype and Kazaa founders, Janus Friis (keynoting at MidemNet 2008) and Niklas Zennstrom, the P2P broadband TV platform is an ad-supported service which offers professional content endorsed by copyright owners. Joost has more than 32 major brand advertisers, including Coca Cola, Visa, Nike, IBM and Microsoft, and offers approximately 150 channels from content producers such as Warner Music, Endemol, Viacom.

Veoh
launched VeohTV in beta mode in June 2007 following infusion of $26m in third round funding led by Goldman Sachs. VeohTV is a downloadable player, therefore content is not restricted to the company’s licensed content, although it has secured content partnerships with providers such as Time Warner, Paramount Pictures, CBS, Baeble Media, Next New Networks and DMGI.

Blinkx
– is a video search engine with over 14m hours of video content indexed. The company has raised $50m in an IPO on AIM in May 2007. The engine uses patented speech-recognition technology to search words in videos in contrast to traditional search engines such as Google. Blinkx generates revenue from licensing its search technology, revenue share from adverts on the site, and through its recently launched BBTV video player. The site has multiple content partnerships, including with MTV Networks, and search partnerships with Lycos, Microsoft, RealNetworks and Ask.com.

Dailymotion
– is a key European competitor to YouTube. It is a portal for professional content and user-generated content managed by a team of ‘talent spotters’. The company has raised a total of $44m from three rounds of funding including Atlas Venture, Partech International,
Advent Venture Partners and AGF Private Equity. The site is currently ranked as the No.1 in France, with 6.6m unique visitors. However, worldwide it receives 25.3m unique visitors, a figure which is less than a sixth of YouTube’s traffic (Apr, comScore). Professional content partners include Universal, Warner Music, RDF USA, SPPF and TF1 TV station. Dailymotion derives nearly 100% of its revenue from advertising where it receives a 50% revenue share of revenues related to ads placed alongside video content from professional partners. It is beginning to attach ads to user generated content.

Bebo
– founded Jan 2005 by Michael and Xochi Birch: major relaunch in July 2005. It has more than 34m registered members worldwide. It is a social networking site that has been compared as the British answer to MySpace and Facebook. According to the company, almost a third of its users come from the UK. Partners include Apple, Orange, Skype, Current TV, Audible Magic and Lonelygirl15.

These companies have all developed technology that is disruptive to traditional media players. Each is helping to drive the formation of new business models, through new partnership combinations across the digital value chain.

Who do you consider to be particularly disruptive? Who have you read about that makes you think “That’s unlike any other company I know”? Who do you think is exactly in the right place at the right time? Who would you like to see at MidemNet 2008?

Looking forward to getting your feedback, and meeting you at MidemNet 2008.


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