? She wouldn't say no | Main | Talking Heads: Once in a Lifetime ?

August 09, 2006

The persistence of memory

The continuing miracle of YouTube brings back two kinds of memories. The first is Madonna's first appearance on David Letterman in 1988. Sandra Bernhard was the guest but seems to have had the double-act planned in advance. It is much less interesting than I had remembered it to be. Letterman too is less entertaining than I had remembered though, in fairness, there is a grim fascination to behold what once was Madonna's human face.

Next is Madonna's notorious return appearance in 1995. One of the odd things about memory - let's be precious and call it "cultural memory" - is that this show was so talked about that it is familiar to me even though I did not see it when it aired; let alone this uncensored nsfw clip. Madonna is impressively obnoxious (resembling approximately one-third of the women I have dated; not a bad thing in my opinion). I have not watched Letterman since I was a teenager so it could be I have missed something but this is the only time I have ever seen the man flustered.*

Oh how the tarty have fallen. Here is an unremarkable and unmissed 2005 appearance. Chicken jokes. Seriously.

*Excepting an exemplary Drew Barrymore performance which, thankfully, I did see at the time.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at August 9, 2006 10:47 AM


I am starting to think it is a killer app up there with email even if it is filled with much 1994 CuSeeMe shirt or lack thereof related content (or so I read in newspapers).

Posted by: Alan McLeod [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 9, 2006 11:15 AM

It's a killer app until the bandwidth bills have to be paid.

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 9, 2006 02:07 PM

Indeed - and who will pay for the Herculean fibre optic network upgrades which will be required when the other 99.9% of society discovers the YouTube phenomenon and abandons cable TV one Tuesday in October? The Mr. Taylors of the word, that's who. Gather ye empty beer bottles while ye may.

Posted by: Alan McLeod [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 9, 2006 03:40 PM

Oh no, not me. I'll be funding my own private non-network-neutral competing Internet before I start paying for millions of adolescents to post pics of their Mentos-and-Coke experiments on the web.

Considering that the whole YouTube revenue model is built around advertising, and their ad revenue is entirely dependent on a 1995-vintage mindshare/audience/page clicks model, and mindshare is dependent on how "cool" a site stays on teh intarweeb... I think we'll be seeing YouTube go belly up in under one calendar year. Call it ten months. I will bet somebody a beer on that.

How can you build a sustainable, measurable, profitable revenue stream around a high-expense asset (bandwidth) offered for free? When YouTube goes subscription/pay, as it must, then there will be mass abandonment and plenty of kvetching about how the Man ruined a good and great freebie Net thang.

One thing the Man does not know how to do very well is convince people to pony up for something they formerly got for free. I'm not so sure that setting people up with that freebie expectation right from day one is such a grand idea.

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 9, 2006 04:52 PM

Very good insights even if counter-intuitive to the abiding awareness now that everything before 1999 did not happen. But I would suggest you may see the YouTube download or paste in the movie will soon start with a 2 second commercial which will be 5 seconds long in six months and ten in twelve. I am a gawking ninny enough to put up with that and advertisers are stunned enough to pony up.

Posted by: Alan McLeod [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 9, 2006 08:40 PM

I am not following the YouTube business model bouncing ball either. I am especially baffled that they allow people to rebroadcast YouTube feed on their own websites; often thereby substituting ads away from whoever is placing ads at YouTube. I am also baffled as to how they are paying for their bandwidth, hosting, etc. and so forth.

The subscription thing is a serious problem too. There are newspapers I don't bother linking to because they want registration let alone a subscription. While I sometimes indulge a fantasy where everyone reading this blog gave me one dollar a year I recognize that subscription fees would cut me down to about six or seven readers. Maybe.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 9, 2006 08:49 PM

AdCritic made the transition from freebie joint to subscription service... not too many places do, though. I suspect that the least customer-offensive model involves charging those who want their videos stored and broadcast, versus charging the passers-by who might want to see the stuff -- not unlike how web hosting companies currently structure their fees and services.

There are plenty of web business models that work, I don't know why we have to pretend that it's a whole new ball game and none of the old metrics apply every time some unprofitable gadfly bilks a bricks-and-mortar company out of a few hundred million bucks.

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 9, 2006 11:43 PM