Position Paper for
W3C Workshop on Web Device Independent Authoring

Charles Kohl
Context Media, Inc.

The advent of the Internet has turned the media world on its head. Whereas once the medium was the message, today it's more accurate to say that the message is becoming the medium. One need only look to the strategic and legal issues raised by the success of Napster and MP3.com to see that content has moved to center stage in the Internet age.

"The days of predictable, packaged audiences and comfortable media dominance are waning," says Dan O'Brien, analyst at Forrester Research. The Internet is rapidly evolving into a universal fabric that envelops and overturns the media status quo. According to Forrester, the digital age is fracturing the traditional media value chain from creation through packaging and distribution.

From a technological perspective, a number of developments are key. The commercial triumph of TCP/IP as the standard distribution platform for all content has accelerated the breakup of the media landscape. The ability to distribute content over the Internet has facilitated investment in encoding services, asset management systems, and video logging software-all of which are tools to help create, modularize, and manage digital assets. The aggressive deployment of broadband access is quickly transforming the Web from a text-based network to one where voice, video, and data converge to form a rich and ubiquitous communications fabric.

The proliferation of Web-enabled devices (e.g., PDAs, set-top boxes, cell phones, MP3 players, game consoles, etc.) extends the digital fabric to virtually every inch of existence and will demand that content can be accessed in modes that fit the device of access. According to Forrester, consumers using multiple platforms to access the Internet will reach 25 percent of online households by 2003.

Creating, packaging, and delivering content in this "new world order of media" is the paramount challenge facing media organizations today. Those that can devise and implement models that embrace the change wrought by the Internet will be best positioned to profit by that change.

The new strategy of these organizations must have both a business model and technological platform upon which to work, something being enabled by the broadscale adoption of syndication - and by the Context Media Interchange Platform, an end-to-end solution for the creation, management, and distribution of rich media content, which focuses on monetizing media assets through hypersyndication.  In order to have a successful business model, this hypersyndication must utilize a standards based approach to device independent authoring.  Metadata schemas are central to this standardization, as are device independent templates that support the embedding of content and metadata appropriate to the branding of the content provider.  Device independent authoring must be more than a simple filter, effective authoring must be intelligent; it must exploit metadata to automatically present content in the form most appropriate for each of the targeted devices.