Internet Update

New Media Revolution

Dateline: 10/04/99

Let's get digital! That's where the action is. In only a few years, the Internet has transformed society, but the revolution has just begun. What we've seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg.

Yours truly works in electronic media - more specifically - television. So naturally I have more than a theoretical interest in where we are going. Will conventional broadcasters be supplanted by Internet based ones? Will newspapers and magazines be supplanted by e-zines and digital media?

Or will the powerful media interests of yesterday move in and dominate the industry in the future? Here is a hypothetical look at the future:

A Day in the Life of Freddy Futuro

Freddy yawned and stretched as he got up from bed. It was 11:00 AM - late for work, but what the heck, he had worked late the night before and deserved a sleep-in. Besides, when you're self-employed, you set your own hours. He opened his notebook and the date flashed at him - Thursday, May 27, 2010.

After a quick shower and a light breakfast, Freddy sat down to work. He told his notebook computer to connect to the large screen set into the wall in his office. He scanned the headlines in the news - they no longer printed newspapers on real paper - then selected one he wanted to read further. The story scrolled by at his usual reading speed but he was distracted by Gates the cat that had jumped on his lap. So he clicked on oral and a professional newscaster voice read the story to him while he played with the cat.

After going over the day's news, he searched for some information he needed to complete his research for the article he was writing for his magazine. He occasionally called out "select last paragraph" and the computer tagged it and put it on a virtual sticky pad paper along the side of the screen. The right quarter of the screen was filled with a collection of sticky notes labeled with key words.

He reviewed the notes and started to dictate the article to the computer. After dictating for an hour - the computer was thoroughly attuned to his verbal nuances and only asked him to repeat something twice in the whole hour - the computer read it back to him. He made a few editorial changes and then said publish it. The article was filed and was online immediately for his readers.

Freddy stared at his notebook with amusement before closing it up. Only five years ago, he thought, these things had keyboards!

Meanwhile his wife, Ellen was just heading out from her office for lunch. She was a doctor and didn't have another appointment for an hour. "I wonder if Freddy finished his article," she thought. She turned on her Walkcomp as she headed out the door and asked it to check for new articles at Futuro Magazine. Three new articles, the tiny computer sang out. It read the titles and authors and she asked it to read Freddy's article to her.

Freddy, meanwhile, did some quick checking on his stock portfolio. He asked the computer to connect to his online broker and made a few trades. He noted that the stock in his own company, Futuro Publishing, was up a dollar.

He had started out writing for actual print magazines fifteen years ago, but decided he had a few ideas and wanted to start up his own. He didn't have much money around the turn of the century, so he started an e-zine. It had caught on. And as the number of people online kept growing, so did his readership. The mainstream media went digital too, for sure, but there were so many niche markets to fill and specialization was the order of the day.

As his own magazine grew in popularity, he hired other writers who all worked for him on a contract basis out of their homes. And he started new e-zines. In fact, Futuro Publishing was one of the largest publishing companies that had never ever published anything on paper. And yet, every word was archived and cross-referenced.

Freddy then checked out the financials on his various e-zines. Readership was up and so were advertising revenues. He went over the notes (virtual, of course) for his board meeting. Then one o'clock rolled around and he told the computer to open the teleconference. The five other members of the board popped up in windows on the computer. Each would be seeing the same thing minus his own self. They talked business and planing for an hour and then broke.

Freddy decided to get some exercise and took a walk down to the gym nearby. While playing squash he had an idea for another article. He called out to the Wall Computer that was keeping track of the score and asked it to relay a message to his home computer. Which it did, of course.

After an afternoon of consulting with a number of the writers working for him, he decided to call it a day.

The oven had prepared dinner and Ellen just had to unwrap it and set it on the table. Grocery stores pre-prepared meals to order and wrapped them in disposable cooking pots. After dinners, the pots were chucked down the recycling tube where they were pneumatically sucked to a nearby recycling station.

In the evening Freddy and Ellen decided to watch a show they missed a few days ago. They asked the computer to connect them to the Oswald Productions archive. Then they asked to view last week's episode. Yes, yes, they told the computer. They were willing to pay the ten cent fee. Their account was on file. The show came on.

Oswald had been the first independent production company whose shows had never actually aired on a television station. Janet Oswald had started doing a low-budget half hour TV show that no TV station wanted to buy. But broadband Internet had become a reality around the same time, so she said to heck with large broadcasters. She started selling her show over the Internet at ten cents a view. It was encrypted so it couldn't be copied.

The show caught on and was now the most popular television show in the world. People from New Zealand to Alaska watched it. Each one paid a dime a view, but there were so many of them that Janet quickly became a multi-millionaire. She now produced a dozen different shows, all successful.

Eventually all production companies started selling their programs as pay per view. Television stations had to develop their own niches to survive. Many became 24 hour news stations. Many others went broke. The news stations made all their news stories available as pay per view as well for people who wanted their news on demand, not on an organized schedule.

The world had certainly changed over the last ten years.


The world of media will change drastically over the next ten years. Regulatory agencies like Canada's CRTC and the American FCC will become extinct as every person has the power to become a broadcaster or publisher over the Internet with little to no start-up costs. There will be many, many specialty e-zines and broadcasts on the Net catering to a select audience.

The large media conglomerates will adapt and thrive as well. There will still be demand for large scale, professional operations. Just the method of delivery will change. Broadcasting, print media and the digital medium of the Internet will all merge into one.

In the intro to this article, I mentioned that today we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg. I was inspired to write about the changing nature of the mass media when I came across a new Internet company called, interestingly enough, Iceberg Formerly Cable Copper Mines, the company changed its name to Iceberg on June 30th. At the same time it acquired 100% of Virtually Canadian Broadcast Network, an award winning online broadcaster since 1997.

Virtually Canadian is, in fact, one of these start-ups that could be a broadcasting giant of the future as Internet broadcasting takes off. Iceberg is the subject of this week's profile.

Movers & Shakers for Sept. 27 - Oct. 1, 1999

Click on the title above for this week's Movers & Shakers table.

With our revision of our Canadian Internet Stock Average to include all and only Internet stocks trading at over a dollar ashare, there are now 58 stocks on that index. This Movers & Shakers list is also being revised to include only stocks from that list. We'll still monitor and chart our Yankee Index, but will not include those stocks on this page.

And as noted elsewhere, we will no longer chart the stocks trading under a dollar but have added a new page listing them all. That page, the Canadian Internet Penny Stock List, will include links to the company's home page and current stock chart.

Of the 58 stocks on our CISA index, 13 made double digit moves in the last week. 9 were gainers and 4 were decliners.

Topping our list is new addition Iceberg which is in its second week of double digit gains. This interesting company is the focus of this week's profile. It's up 57.5% for the two weeks.

8 Crown Capital, a company that went nowhere until it took over Internet advertiser Starpages in early August, is in its third consecutive week of major gains. It is up $2.00 from its Sept. 10 price of $2.95, that's 67.8% in three weeks., which had five consecutive weeks of advances, four of them double digit, then suffered a reversal last week, rebounded this past week to new highs. Its website is still under construction, but clearly investors are excited by the company's prospects.

On the downside, Softcare Electronic Commerce took a nasty 30% dip this week.

New Additions to Our Indices

We added one stock, Chapters Online, to our CISA list this week.

Canadian Internet Stock Index
Yankee Index
Canadian Internet Penny Stock List

Our Metamorphosis Index has been replaced by the new Canadian Internet Penny Stock List. This is a table of Internet stocks trading at under a dollar a share. Each stock has a link to its home page, our profile or a Carlson Online profile, and to its current stock price chart.

The reason for the change is that the number of Internet stocks was starting to get unwieldy. I wanted something less high maintenance than doing three stock indexes every week. The better established Internet companies from the Metamorphosis Index, the ones trading over a dollar a share, have been moved to the CISA list. Only the CISA index will be looked at in compiling the Movers & Shakers list. This is largely to get away from those annoying stocks that moved maybe a penny or two each week, but because the price was so low, a penny or two meant a 10% or more move.

Our profile this week is Iceberg


Comments? Suggestions? Why not post them on our Bulletin Board or email me.

E-mail me!


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09/29//99 - Something New!
We introduce our new Networking pages. And we review our live chat with Jonathan Chevreau.

09/27//99 - Internet Update: Dot-com Mania
There's getting to be just too many of those danged dot-coms! So we're revising our method of keeping track of them. We also review our Movers & Shakers and profile Chapters Books and Chapters Online.

09/23/99 - Best of the Net: i|money
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09/20//99 - David vs. Goliath
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09/18/99 - Book Review: Krash
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Investing (Canada) Notes

Disclosure: The author may own shares in some of the securities listed.

Coming Soon: With gold and silver so much in the news lately, I'm planning to do up a GoldWatch page, possibly for Wednesday. After that, I'll be out of town for a few days, so you may not see anything new from me until after Thanksgiving.

Currently reading: I recently received a review copy of Paul Lermitte's Allowances, Dollars and Sense: A Proven System for Teaching Your Kids About Money. That may take a few weeks to get to. But you may want to check out his new Making Allowances website in the meantime. It is a superb site for kids based on Paul's book.

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