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BattleCam: The New Cultural Wars Are Upon Us

Randy Johnson
21st Century Wire

BattleCam is a 24/7 live streaming social television show comprised of peer-to-peer participants and viewers.  It is an unashamed freak show, train wreck, comedy, tragedy, and exhibition – all thrown into one dumpster, covered with grease, and set on fire.

BattleCam.com streams aspects of the modern human condition in a post-industrial and ever-increasingly virtual technological world, and puts it on display with very little censorship.  The “anything goes” feel of BattleCam can make it polarizing – viewers both love and hate it in equal measure.  Maybe that’s the point.

BattleCam-Logo
The owner of BattleCam.com is Alkiviades ‘Alki’ David, who describes his enterprise as “the world’s first human experiment in fully live social TV.

Think of, The Running Man – on acid.

To help put BattleCam on the map, Alki David once offered one million dollars for anyone who ran naked within eye and ear-shot, in front of President Obama, with BattleCam.com written on their body, screaming “BattleCam.com!” no less than six times.

As you can see below, someone actually tried it…

BattleCam-Naked-Man
Definitely a down vote. Man attempts BattleCam.com stunt for one million dollars (Source: RT)

BattleCam can be defined by its very name. Two people occupy either side of a split screen while streaming live, with a live chat, and a line-up of other subscribers waiting to go on.  Within an allotted amount of time, one person gets voted off by viewers and the other stays on. In reality TV terms, this is known popularly as ‘the rejection model’.

If you have the guts to “Cam up” and are otherwise uncommonly interesting; among the bizarre of the bizarre, a total exhibitionist, have a need for attention, want to verify your self-worth through others, or are just plain ****ing nuts – you might have what it takes to stand out (and survive) on BattleCam.

Participants will do literally anything to standout, one participant of BattleCam did the following to his forehead…

BattleCam-Forehead
Guy gets “BATTLECAM.COM” tattooed on his forehead (Source: YouTube)

Depending on your disposition, what shows on BattleCam.com at any hour of the day or night could bore you to tears or make you cry laughing.  It could shock you, or make you shake your head and turn it off.  You might catch someone in a drunken soliloquy solving the world’s problems, as the other person loses it and goes into a cyber-rage at their opponent on the other side of the screen and everyone in the chatroom.

Occasionally an interesting conversation breaks out, but it’s generally not for intellectual stimulation.  Some of the following has happened live recently on BattleCam:

  • Jennan: Shoved a smoke bomb in each nostril and lit them.
  • Mr_Random: Pepper sprayed himself in the eyes.
  • ChrisBama: While totally drunk, set his chest, arm pit, facial hairs–and his face–on fire.
  • Casaundra: Looking her best with gauged ears and covered in tattoos, while slugging hard liquor straight from the bottle, put ice down her bra and kept it there.
  • AyOne: After spending a few minutes using a lighter to heat up a quarter on a fork, placed it on his forearm and left it there.
  • SuperMarijuanio: Lived up to his screenname as he “blazed up” and smoked a bong of marijuana.

By now, you get the idea…  All of the above could be found at the continuously updated “Best of…” portion of their site.

The Reality Recipe

BattleCam appeals to the most base of responses in both the viewer and the participant, as it taps into people’s natural rubber-necking desire to slow down at an accident and stare.

The format is also ideal for establishing the lowest common denominator. 

But is BattleCam.com really “the lowest common” denominator of society?  Unfortunately, we might not be there yet.  However, when watching BattleCam, you could see it is a natural stage in social media evolution – a virtual follow-up to The Jerry Springer Show or Jack Ass.  Put another way, we’ve had Generation X, Generation Y and now we are seeing the Generation D, or the De-generation, aka the further de-evolution of society.

The more you look beyond BattleCam.com, the less “fly-by-night” it appears. As of this article, BattleCam.com has over 1.45 million subscribers. During a random “look-in” on the website, at noon, Pacific Standard Time on a Wednesday in July 2015, BattleCam.com had over 31,000 live viewers.  The 31,000-plus viewers indicated a “real-time” number on the site which fluctuates every few seconds.  It is worth noting that the more than 31,000 viewers were not necessarily made up of subscribers only.  This would indicate that the potential viewing audience to draw from is much larger than their listed 1.45 million subscribers.

As you “reverse-engineer” BattleCam.com and its lineage through parent companies, the scope gets much bigger…

BattleCam.com is streamed live 24/7 over the internet, but is also part of the show programming of FilmOn TV – USA, just one channel of the greater FilmOn TV Networks – which itself falls under the umbrella of the Anakondo Media Group. Anakondo describes itself as, “interrelated media companies for the millennial generation”, which all of which falls under the purview of Alki David. More on Alki David later…

BattleCam.com is featured on FilmOn TV – USA, which is an actual “brick-and-mortar” studio and headquarters in Beverly Hills, California.

FimOnTV
Don’t let the “F U” go unnoticed.  (Source: News.cision.com)

From its Beverly Hills location, FilmOn TV – USA televises shows throughout the Los Angeles region and Southern California, including original content productions, live shows, or programs such as the following:

  • Tailgating with Kato Kaelin
  • Corey Feldman Presents: Angels Talk Live
  • Bikini Movie Soundtrack Mix
  • Runway TV: Paris
  • and of course… BattleCam Live! which airs from 10pm to 1am, Pacific Standard Time.  This version is on a bit of a delay to keep total insanity off the air and lawsuits at a minimum.

How big is the FilmOn TV Network and what is it exactly?  FilmOn TV has been establishing itself beyond the United States.  According to PR Newswire:

FilmOn is the world’s first and largest IP-delivered digital television platform with true TV Everywhere capability. Available globally via computers, smartphones, tablets and IP-enabled set-top boxes and devices, FilmOn offers more than 600 free and subscription linear TV channels and audio/video podcasts updated daily, plus 50 audio channels and over 90,000 on demand titles. FilmOn Apps for iPhone, iPad, Facebook, Lenovo, Win 8 and Droid devices offer you premium TV on the go.

With offices in Beverly Hills, Irvine and London and data-center headends in L.A., London and Geneva, FilmOn curates the best of televised entertainment from around the globe and creates original live programming every week. FilmOn also programs the 24/7 FilmOn TV Network on Sky channel 237 in the UK and on Freesat ch. 410 in Europe.

The audience reached by FilmOn TV Networks is substantial.  On the FilmOn website posts an article in April 2015 stating “Last month, 20m FilmOn viewers watched more than 1.2bn video streams.”

As previously mentioned, BattleCam.com and FilmOn TV are parts of something much bigger.

BattleCam.com is a fitting, “lead punch” or “tip of the spear” company of the FilmOn TV network.  It captures some of the personality, brashness, zaniness, and also calculating character of its billionaire owner Alkiviades “Alki” David who is estimated to have a net worth of nearly 2 billion dollars.

Anakondo
The all-seeing eye: You’re kidding? No. That’s the actual logo for Anakando.

Alki David is the founder of the Anakando Media Group. Does he have a sense of humor or does he prefer pyramid shapes, the all-seeing eye, and a pupil made up of the moon in front of a black sun.  Yes and yes?  

According to the Anakando.com website, they were “established in 2007 as the corporate investment vehicle of its founder, media and entertainment entrepreneur Alkiviades “Alki” David, a member of the prominent Greek “David-Leventis” family, whose holdings include manufacturing, biotech, Coca Cola bottling plants, asset management, retail, hospitality and real estate. Mr. David’s most significant personal successes to date have been within the shipping and media technology industries.

Media mogul Alki David (Image: Hollywood Reporter/ Christopher Patey)

Against the backdrop of The Anakonda Media Group it does not really matter if BattleCam.com is a passing phenomenon, treading water, or here to stay. In the end, BattleCam.com is only one of many properties within Anakonda Media Group’s family tree which branches into a myriad of media, media distribution, marketing, technology, and production companies—to name a few. All under the watchful eye of Mr. David who seems to relish his role as a media mogul and renegade within the industry.

Alki David’s personal road in life is worth reading on its own accord.  His diverse background seems to be part of the total picture of a man “pushing the envelope” on all fronts and who is always looking to do something else and something more.  We read just a portion of his background from Famous Entrepreneurs:

David was born in 1968 in Nigeria, West Africa. He attended school in Switzerland. His father was a managing director at the Hellenic Bottling Company that made a merger with Coca Cola Beverages in 2000. He served in the army for some time after which he decided to do film studies from the Royal College of Art in London. After getting his degree he went to Los Angeles, California where he spent eight years. There, he was a co-owner of a film production company. He came back to London in 1998 and co-founded an agency called ‘Independent Models’. David was not really sure what he wanted to do which is why he tried his hands at various jobs. He has worked at Coca Cola Company as a laboratory analyst, a commodities broker on world markets, a fish farm worker, a water skiing coach, advertising salesman and as a scuba trainer …

When he was 27, he established BIOS; a non-profit that worked to save, conserve and give education to people on marine conservation surrounding the Greek Isles. The foundation also sponsors a yearly free diving event that is held at David’s Greek-island home of Spetses …

David has also been a part of many films, to include a starring role in the cult classic The Bank Job alongside Jason Statham, as well as many other acting, writing, directing, and producing credits.

David continues to “put the pedal to the metal” with an entirely different game played on a grand scale.  Media is big.  If you control it, profit off of it, or alter its course, you get a say in modern day reality and day-to-day life and can literally shape the future.  More than a cultural exhibition war on display at BattleCam.com, he is warring with traditional networks and cutting edge technology on many fronts of the future of media.

Many times, “the future” of media finds itself in court. David is currently locked in the appeals process with regards to streaming content over the internet.

The Hollywood Reporter ran a July 17th, 2015, article of how Alki David’s FilmOn TV’s court battle against FOX, CBS, and NBC, amongst others, which could adversely affect the bottom line of traditional network giants with regard to over the top (OTT) content which goes from provider to viewer, as is the case with FilmOn TV Networks.   The article further explains that:

U.S. District Court Judge George W. Wu‘s opinion in favor of FilmOn and against the pleas of the major broadcast networks provides a new interpretation of Section 111 of the Copyright Act, which was enacted by Congress in the 1970’s thanks to a perception of the burdensome nature of requiring cable systems to negotiate with every copyright owner over the retransmission of channels on public airwaves.”

As the “re-transmission of channels on public airwaves” via FilmOn is awaiting more litigation at a higher court of appeal, Alki David is also busy with pushing hologram technology and fighting yet another court battle – over its patent. 

Raise the Dead: Holographic Media

HologramUSA, another subsidiary of The Anakondo Media Group, is going head-to-head against John Textor’s Pulse Evolution Group.

As the litigation plays itself out, each company continues to chase down as many celebrities, or their living relatives, as they possibly can in the interim.

Hologram-Hoillywood
None of it is real.  The deceased and the living shall be made immortal in the glory of their heyday.  (Source: The Hollywood Reporter)

Still in the early stages of a monetary power grab, the profit and potential use of holographic technology, along with its incremental improvements over the years, is appealing to many consumers, politicians, entertainers, and businesses alike.

If, over the years, printed press, radio, television, wireless media, flat screens, and iPhones have been utilized to transmit effectively persuasive media to the human brain, then holographic technology could mean more realistic, brain-numbing fun for all, to go along with out-of-this-world profits.

For example, Abraham Lincoln could endorse Jeb Bush, Judy Garland could perform duets with Ozzy Ozbourne, and Gandhi could be a guest lecturer teaching your ethics class. They would all be and say whatever they are edited to say.  They can be spliced and conceptually created to say or endorse anything or anyone.  Even actual “ver batim” speeches could be used to endorse something, or someone, that the individual would never endorse if they were alive.  All at a price of course.

Michael-Jackson-Billboard-Music-Awards-Hologram-2014
If he truly could come back, he might tell his family to Beat It! (Source: GothamCityEsq.com)

Some of the possibilities of holograms are already being realized.  With monetary considerations, the estate and families of deceased superstar wage earners cannot wait to cash in.  This is seen with the Jacksons, who cannot put the late Michael Jackson back to work fast enough, as reported by Rolling Stone,

Michael Jackson‘s estate managed to bring the late star back to life, sort of, with an unnerving onstage pseudo-hologram at May 18th’s Billboard Music Awards – and that’s just the beginning of its ambitious plans for his career, which could include as many as eight more albums culled from outtakes and repackaged material.

Some would argue politicians are actors or entertainers in their own right, but hologram use is not limited to entertainers. Narendra Mohdi has already used the technology during his successful campaign to become India’s Prime Minister.

It is to be seen if it will be successful in the upcoming United States elections.  Desperate times could call for some desperate measures by some of the candidates.  David has already stated on GovernmentVideo.com,

“When Hologram USA launched, we always expected a dovetail with the U.S. federal government,” said Alki David, CEO of Hologram USA. “We set our sights first on entertainment and fashion because those were the industries we knew best, but it wasn’t difficult to imagine the applications associated with aspects of our government; The White House, defense, homeland security, education, to name a few.  And with the 2016 political season slowly starting, which political candidate does not want to reach the largest audience to convey a strong political message?”

The future stakes of mass media rulings and technology surrounding media companies of Alki David’s Anakondo Media Group are huge.  As the man on top of his own pyramid, David can act quickly to adapt, change, or otherwise circumvent laws. He can move with technology before the price of doing business in court comes into play—and pay his way as he goes. He can hand his headaches to lawyers as he pushes against networks and other media corporations on multiple fronts. While on one hand he is taking on media giants, he himself is one and is also a friend of Hollywood and an insider in his own rights.

It appears that just having money has never been enough for Alki David as seen in his multiple business ventures that match his varied and diverse life experience. Will he “cash in his winnings” by selling-up to a mega-media corporation? Will more money and a billionaire lifestyle be enough as he tires of fighting on multiple fronts in the courtroom?  Only time will tell.

The media masters, whether they be a self-styled maverick billionaire or a network that has been established for decades, are all fighting for one thing…  that would be to win, litigate, or con their way to get as much as they can from as many people as they can.  If that isn’t sinister enough, ask yourself why politicians align themselves with entertainers, mega corporations, rich individuals, rich interest groups, media empires, and vice versa?  Is it a symbiotic relationship dependent of a mutually agreeable consensus reality—dependent on the masses? 

Mass media, like BattleCam.com, is all in the name. The media game is about profit and the control to get, keep it, and maintain it via the masses.  Everything else is just a show. 

If ignorance is bliss, then just sit back, and enjoy the show…

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