Everyone is probably familiar with the old classic term Multimedia from the early days of the internet. The multimedia concept can be traced to Paul Nipkow, a German scientist who invented the early version of television. Paul invented the first video disc “Nipkow disc” in 1884 at age 24. (1)
In the first Wikipedia article in 2001 while after the launch of the Wikipedia Multimedia is described: A term used to describe media for which multiple means are used to convey information (audio, video, text, vector graphics, interactivity). Often used to describe any computer media. (2)
In the early years of Multimedia the term "rich media" was synonymous with interactive multimedia. Over time, hypermedia extensions brought multimedia to the World Wide Web (3) or information superhighway!
Multimedia has a quite extensive history and for the past decade the term is more or less vanishing from general use. Or maybe it's just me who has nostalgia for Multimedia as I took a community college course about Multimedia back in 1995 in Finland :D
We at Equilibrium have been working with the Interledger protocol in several projects, as well as following the progression of Web Monetization, micropayments and media payment transactions closely. We feel that it has vast untapped potential, and finally both psychological and technological barriers are collapsing. Psychology-wise many players in the media field are now understanding that we need new tools and practices to tackle old problems. By working together and collaborating with the whole ecosystem we can benefit all parties and stakeholders. Technological development has taken us there. We are starting to have a sufficient tech stack to solve many of the problems the media and industry is facing.
While studying the current state of Web Monetization, we realized that adding a simple Web Monetization for your website is easy, but building a more complex web monetization platform, like a video-sharing platform or a news website, requires additional logic.
Basically, we are working with the same puzzle pieces as the early internet, like text, pictures, audio and video all over again.
The project focus of web-monetized-multimedia is to deliver a Web Component Library that enables its users to build a multimedia content platform with new possibilities for monetizing various types of content.
Web Monetization has been one of the most prominent use cases for Interledger. The ever-growing community and more and more complex projects are looking to utilize the feature. Therefore, we are seeing growing demand for easy-to-use-tools for developers to build more complex platforms that utilize Web Monetization.
Some existing Web Monetization projects are touching on Multimedia, but not as deeply as required for modern media platforms, like video and music streaming web apps.
Leveraging Web Monetization to cover multimedia more widely would enable a massive amount of new use-cases and areas to utilize Web Monetization. This would encourage more developers to start implementing components and result in wider adoption in end-users as well.
There seem to be a few existing libraries for this, like react-web-monetization, monetizer and web-monetization-scripts. The available libraries deserve more developer recognition, and we aim to test these libraries out, contributing to the development with bug fixes.
Our main goal during the six-month timeline is to create multiple examples of Web Monetization applications, including video and audio streaming use case examples with optional advertisement support, and an example of a multi-publisher blog, with an accompanying web components library. We chose web components because they can be used in many front-end contexts, including React and Vue.
As mentioned, these challenges don't just impinge on Web Monetization but the whole media industry. Our long term vision is to be able to integrate these practices and building blocks to established news outlets. The concept of "micro payment" is often tried and often failed. We strongly believe that with the right set of tech, tools and practices, we can overcome the old obstacles and benefit the whole ecosystem.
Juha - I’ve been following the rise of the networks and internet from the late 80’s and spending most of my career around multimedia innovations. Excited to be part of the grantee community!