The instant and on-demand desires of a bunch of geeks is going to change the television game, and the revolution has already started, says The New York Times. They point to MythTV, an open source PVR technology, Bit Torrent and Videora, a software I pointed to a month ago.
We have to try as an industry to get ahead of this and give the audience an attractive model before the illegal file-sharer providers meet their needs,” said David F. Poltrack, CBS Television’s executive vice president for research and planning. “The clock is ticking on this.”
What is the most interesting part of this whole article is television industry’s response. They seem to be a lot more proactive in trying to get ahead of the technology instead of fighting it like the music business. It is interesting, in a way that they know how these technologies can kill the DVD sales, a highly lucrative line of business.
There is something two-faced about what the television industry is saying. A couple of days ago, there was a fantastic front page article in the Wall Street Journal about how Comcast and Television content makers – aka big studios – were at odds over the download and video on demand. The money grubbers down in LA don’t want to do it, because they are still hanging on to advertising-supported over-the-air broadcast model. In comparison, since most of the cable channels like HBO and Showtime are premium channels, they are more than happy to have consumers get this shows on demand.
I do have to add a word of caution – the users of these technology are relatively small, compared to the total television watchers, and we might be looking at the early adopter market and perhaps reading too much into it. Having tried Bit Torrent, and more recently Videora, I know getting shows requires patience of a saint. It is enough to turn-off the mainstream users. But if there was a way to make it easer and simpler, we could see some major activity here. After all it took four years, and iTunes to make downloading music a mainstream activity. (Is Exeem the answer? NY Post think it is a major headache for studios. )
Fred Wilson: the emergence of content that is being shared and downloaded that comes from the viewers themselves, the “citizens media” as Jarvis has coined it. Vlogging and video sharing sites are cropping up like crazy and my guess is that the viewers time will be split between new community built content and the holywood produced stuff like the Simpsons and The OC.