Cisco Takes On New Media
In a brief talk at the company's C-Scape analyst conference here Tuesday, Dan Scheinman, the senior vice president running Cisco's Media Solutions Group, outlined Cisco's progress in the world of Web 2.0 technologies.
A lot of it comes down to the ways in which media companies can use social networking as a key component of their interactions with consumers. Cisco hopes that what it's learning in this area can be distilled into the kind of repeatable, automated processes that then translate into a real business opportunity.
So far, Cisco's just dabbling. Following the acquisition of Five Across earlier this year, it's been using social networking sites designed for Nascar and the National Hockey League as alpha tests, partly to learn from the way those sites are used. (See Cisco Gets Social.)
Cisco's vehicle for building community-minded sites like these will be the Entertainment Operating System (EOS), an open software platform announced by Cisco in October and due to hit the streets in 2008.
Scheinman's talk yesterday focused less on clients such as the NHL and more on the media companies. They've lost control of the user and need to rethink how they're going to find fans for a movie, a singer, or a TV show, believes the Cisco man.
"Because of digitization, you've got business models being destroyed," he said. "The media companies need a partner... to figure out how to work through this transition, how to connect to this empowered user."
With the Nascar and NHL sites, Cisco thinks it's beginning to learn how to navigate this world, Scheinman said.
The media business has already revealed some surprises to Cisco. When music "artist" Kid Rock got a page on the NHL fan site -- he likes the Red Wings, apparently -- it drew 22,000 fans in one week, Scheinman said. Kid Rock's label, Warner Bros., realizing it had a new conduit to some of his fans, started launching music videos on the NHL site.
The NHL has now gotten a handful of bands to similarly use the site as a marketing vehicle. It's "a connection that no survey would ever have known to exist, but in fact was found because the NHL guys were willing to experiment," Scheinman said. "Our hope is that we can... automate this, and make this more routine."
Even if Cisco is learning all this great stuff, why should it be the one to provide Web 2.0 technologies? Scheinman argued that it's an extension of Cisco's other work. Media companies want a partner that can help them deliver information, which Cisco already does. The next step they'd like is to create "a world where content can find you" -- something at which, apparently, Scheinman's Media Group expects to excel.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading