New SEC guidelines: blogs can be used for investor disclosure – CEO blogging to surge?

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced new guidelines (available in the next week or two) that will recognize the role of blogs in disclosing investor-sensitive information to the public.

Back in 2005 I wrote an update on the situation at the time on investor relations and blogging, and in 2006 I delivered the keynote at the Australian Investor Relations Association on the Future of Investor Relations, and wrote about SUN Microsystem’s CEO Jonathan Schwartz’s initiatives for blogging to be a recognized form of investor disclosure.

The SEC appears to be moving ahead at a swift pace, despite cries from some, particularly in the news release business, that the old system shouldn’t be changed. In fact the comments below from SEC Chairman Christopher Cox come from a podcast, transcribed by IRWebReport:

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Global media strategies: review of Future of Media Summit panel

I’ve been trying to get the time to do reviews of the key panels at the Future of Media Summit, but it’s been tough to get. Here I will kick off with a quick review of the Global Media Strategies panel. The fantastic cast of speakers that I moderated was:

Loic Le Meur, CEO, Seesmic

Chris Tolles, CEO, Topix

Willie Pang, Head of Yahoo! Search Marketing Australia/ New Zealand

Craig Blair, Executive Director, netus

Global media strategies is the one topic that is covered every single year at the Future of Media Summit. One of the main reasons we run an event across two locations simultaneously – in the Bay Area and Sydney – is to gain insights into the differences between media markets. On each side of the event, by comparing experiences across variations in market size, media ownership structure, regulation, culture, broadband and mobile data access etc., we can think usefully about what it takes to build and implement global media strategies.

In the very popular Future of Media Report 2008 that accompanied our event, we included insights such as the expected growth in advertising revenue 2007 – 2010 in both dollar and percentage terms, illustrated below. While the largest absolute growth will be in the US, emerging nations are where the bulk of new value will come from.

fastestadmarkets07-10.jpg

Here are just a few of the insights from the panel discussion that remain from my notes and scattered brain cells.

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New LinkedIn deals – LexisNexis and Xobni – extend the reach of professional social networks

After the news of the deal between LinkedIn and New York Times I wrote about a couple of days ago, LinkedIn has just announced new deals with LexisNexis and Outlook plug-in Xobni.

The LexisNexis deal is particularly intriguing. Back in 2003 a number of corporate social networking applications were launched, notably Spoke, VisiblePath, and Contact Network Corporation. I knew all the players well, and Spoke was in fact the Gold Sponsor of the Living Networks Forum I ran in New York in December 2003. At the time there was one other significant player which was in a similar space, which was InterAction CRM software, owned by Interface. The CRM software was primarily sold to legal firms, where it had a strong presence. Its functionality included a “who knows whom” function, so that lawyers could find out who in their firm knew people at client or prospect firms. As with all the other corporate social networking applications, this included a high degree of user choice on what personal contact information was made available.

In December 2004 LexisNexis, the largest provider of legal information, acquired Interface, making InterAction CRM part of its suite of offerings. Since then LexisNexis has very actively acquired software companies, notably VisualFiles in case management, Juris in pratice management, and Axxia in backoffice legal solutions, repositioning itself far beyond being an information provider.

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How will news and social networks be integrated?

It is inevitable that news dissemination will become a largely social function. By whatever means, we will be provided with extremely low touch ways of sharing content we think would be interesting to specific people we know. This will then be filtered in various ways by the recipients, however most will value being recommended articles and sites on an individual basis.

Digg, StumbleUpon, del.icio.us, and other tools allow us to recommend content to the world at large. But recommendations are far more valuable if they are specific to the person and context. The best way to disseminate these recommendations is through our social networks, if we happen to spend time there. So social networks can become a platform for the collaborative filtering of content, giving individuals the benefit of their network’s judgment and access to information.

In this context, the announcement today by New York Times and LinkedIn of a way of providing custom content and recommendations to their network is a landmark. Over the next few years this integration of social networks and content will rapidly evolve to be a very important part of the landscape.

linkedinnyt.jpg

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The critical role of portable large screen devices in enabling mobile media

Michael Arrington of Techcrunch has just announced that they are trying to create the specifications to build a tablet computer primarily for web browsing for $200. The intention is to design it, then open source the design and software so anyone can build it, thus making an inexpensive web tablet available to many. More background from Nik Cubrilovic.

This directly addresses one of the key points in our Future of the Media Lifecycle framework, illustrated below (full explanation at the link).

Media Lifecycle Framework

The development of mobile media requires rich media devices. These come in two forms: handheld and portable. The iPhone and its emerging competitors have finally created a handheld interface which is a true media device that will encourage people to engage in a wide range of media consumption and creation activities. However there is still an important role for portable devices, that can’t be put in a pocket. While I’m a strong believer in the role of video glasses and similar interfaces that allow a handheld device to provide a wide visual screen, the reality is that in most cases people will want a normal flat screen. Before long rollable and foldable screens will fulfil this role. In the meantime a flat screen is both available, and will long have a cost advantage over e-paper-based screens. Laptops have a place, but have long boot times and are over-specified. eBooks will also be important, though are currently fairly application specific. A web tablet as described by Arrington would neatly fill an important space in having an inexpensive, flexible portable media device that will facilitate accessing the personal cloud that will be at the center of our lives.

On another level, this is a great example of open source innovation, in which consumers define what they want, create the model, and by making the design open source, ensure the product is commoditized and low cost. The highest value part of the process is performed by the customers, not the vendors.

Will venture capital keep flowing and when will new exits appear?

I visited several venture capital firms in Silicon Valley this week and also met the CEOs of a number of VC-funded companies. Not surprisingly, much of the talk was about the climate and outlook for venture capital, which is the spigot from which much of Silicon Valley drinks.

The MoneyTree Survey of venture capital, summarized in GigaOm , shows that total VC investments in the second quarter were basically flat over the last year or so, however with a slight continuing decline in early-stage investments. One of the key features is that late-stage investments are accumulating as exits become more difficult. IPOs had already dried up before the more recent stockmarket downturn, and now the tighter constraints on capital across the economy mean that trade exits are also falling off.

vc2008q2.jpg

Source: MoneyTree via GigaOm

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Fantastic insights from the blog coverage of the Future of Media Summit

Sorry I’ve been slow to follow up on the Future of Media Summit – it’s been a very busy time since the event, including some long flights :-)

To start off here are some of the most interesting blog posts on the Summit. There are some fantastic ideas and insights in these, so well worth a read. In no particular order :

Stephen Collins: What will the future of media look like?, including the ‘artificial split’ between journalism and new media

Chris Bishops: Monetising future content: business models as traditional content models break down.

JD Lasica: Takeaways from Future of Media Summit, including the ‘Great Decoupling’ and media as ‘Distraction Machine’

Phil Morle: A Future for TV: The Collaborative Crowd – the future is (crudely) present

Seth Yates: Comprehensive Future of Media Summary including notes on all the panels

Jay Cross: review of Future of Media Summit, including the US future of journalism panel

Stilgherrian: Note to “old media: journalists: adapt or stfu!

(Same post at Crikey with different comment stream)

Jonathan Este: Bloggers: the biggest whingers since journalists (Response to Stilgherrian, originally posted on Crikey and reposted on Stilgherrian’s blog with comments)

Brad Howarth: Live from Future of Media Summit Part 1, Live from Future of Media Summit Part 2, Live from Future of Media Summit Part 3 – detailed insights and commentary

Craig Wilson: review of the Future of Media Summit, including discussion of the Twitter backchannel at the event

Gavin Heaton: review of future of Media Summit: the future of media is PARTICIPATION

Alex Gibson: compilation of ideas and annotations from the event Twitter stream

Kathy Drasky: live blogging and commentary from the Future of Media Summit in Silicon Valley

Gordon Whitehead: Future of Media: Opportunity or Train Wreck – believing in opportunities

Also be sure to see the initial review of social media commentary on the Future of Media Summit. Since then, additional posts on the Future of Media Summit blog include two additional summaries of discussions on Participant Roundtables on the Sydney side:

Media and social networks Roundtable

Shifts in the advertising industry Roundtable

[UPDATE:] More great blog posts

Hugh Martin: More thoughts on the Summit and Future of Journalism panel

Trevor Cook: Future of media: how relevant is social media? (Trevor coulddn’t attend but responded to the blog conversation)

Ben Barren: Recap of hesaid-shesaid Australia’s own Sarah Lacy moment (Ben also didn’t attend but adds thoughts to the debate.

Francis Pisani (Le Monde blog):

Blogalaxie: “future des medias” et “rumeurs” – Francis’s comments on the future of journalisms blog discussion stemming from the event.

I’ll be weighing in on the future of journalism debate (including notes from the outstanding Silicon Valley panel discussion) as soon as I get a chance…

Quick review of social media coverage of Future of Media Summit

I’ll do some more detailed reflections on the Future of Media Summit tomorrow. I’m just about to fall over after a very long day, but thought I’d post a few important social media references and commentary on the event.

First stopping point has to be the Future of Media Summit Blog, where participants have been busily posting all day, notably:

Participant roundtables in Sydney:

Mobile Media and Content

Future of Media and Television

Flow Economy/ Media Strategy Workshop in Silicon Valley:

Yahoo!

CBS

Reviews of panel discussions:

Global Media Strategies – 1

Global Media Strategies – 2

CEO Panel – 1

CEO Panel – 2

Future of TV and video – by Mark Pesce 1

Future of TV and video – by Mark Pesce 2

Future of Privacy and Targeted Advertising

Future of Journalism (Sydney)

Unconference sessions:

New Media – 1

New Media – 2

Twitter comments:

See the Summize search for Twitters with the #fom08 tag – literally hundreds of Twitters from attendees at the Future of Media Summit (which included a Twitter 101 session during the Unconference session in Sydney).

Live video:

The Ustream video from Phil Morle

All this will give you a good feel for the event from the perspective of participants. I’ll provide some of my thoughts soon.

In previous years the Summit blog has continued to be active for quite a while after the event as discussions continue online – hopefully this will be the case this year too! Subscribe to the blog to keep up with the conversation.

Metarand: Podcast interview on the future of media and the value of frameworks…

Rand Leeb-du-Toit, the indefatigable entrepreneur and social media evangelist, is very consistently producing interesting insights on the emerging tech landscape at his blog Metarand – well worth a look or subscribe!

Last week Rand interviewed me for a podcast – go to the post to listen to the interview. We primarily discussed my thoughts leading into the Future of Media Summit, looking at the broad landscape of what’s happening in the media landscape.

What I like most about being interviewed is that I often learn from my own answers. Rand wrote:

The biggest takeout: he uses frameworks to synthesize his pattern recognition and as a communication tool for exploring trends and the potential paths we will follow in the future.

I am very frequently asked how I keep on top of so much information and make sense of it. It was only when Rand asked the question of how I go about ‘pattern recognition’ that I realized how central is the role of the frameworks I create, which are as much for myself as for others. Of the collection of frameworks in the Future of Media Report 2008, released last week, unquestionably my favorite is the Future of the Media Lifecycle framework, which pulled together many of the loose thoughts floating around in my head.

Future of Media Drinks in Sydney tomorrow – all welcome!

After the Future of Media Summit in Sydney tomorrow speakers and participants will be gathering at the Firehouse in North Sydney from 5:30pm for drinks and general post-event conviviality. We’ve simply named it as a spot for all to gather to grab a drink, so anyone is welcome to turn up, irrespective of whether they’ve attended the Summit or not.

Venue details and directions are here.

I will be in Silicon Valley for the US side of the event and long since in bed after a long day, so will miss out on all the fun, but the Future of Media Summit Sydney Chair, Jenny Williams of Ideagarden, and Jessica Hough and Julian Hill from Future Exploration Network will be there to welcome you and say hi. Pass on word to whoever you wish. Have a great time if you make it along! I’ll hear all about it afterwards…