Tendo Dev Blog

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I want my online TV

For once in my life, I’m an early adopter. Like a growing number of people, I consume much of my television via my laptop computer, rather than my television set.

Sure, the image quality’s a little less crisp than real TV, my connection is sometimes slow, causing the viewer to skip or freeze, and I can’t fast-forward through the commercials as with a DVR. But still—instant, free access to stuff I want to watch whenever I want to watch it is pretty nice.

I can say definitively that I now watch more TV and regularly keep up with more shows than I ever did before. And that’s saying a lot since I rarely watched TV at all before I could access it online. My TV consuming habits have changed significantly based on now available technology. My case is probably more dramatic than most, but I don’t think this trend is going away.

Will the TV networks take advantage of this change in the wind? Or will they stubbornly resist it and try to snuff out the freedom the new technology allows, like the music industry did? Based on the current state of CD sales, which the music industry still depends on to measure success, I’d hope TV networks would choose the former option. The old way of doing things isn’t going to work here.

The New York Times reports that “networks are loath” to release usage data about the increase in online viewing activity, possibly because online advertising dollars equate to a fraction of what TV advertising earns. And some have pulled their shows from viewing sites like YouTube, fearing for their intellectual property rights. The networks clearly haven’t figured out how to effectively incorporate and monetize online viewing.

Increasing distribution may help bump online earnings. NBC Universal and the News Corporation have the right idea with Hulu, a soon-to-be-launched video streaming site focused on professionally produced content like TV shows and feature films.

Making more content available on the network sites and developing slicker players (the current ones have some issues, which I’ll blog about next time) are some other ways to gain more traction.

One thing is clear: If the networks don’t make moves to take advantage of this opportunity, other organizations will. As a consumer, I don’t care who does it. I’ve seen the Promised Land—hours of TV, free, available at my fingertips and at my will…sigh—and there’s no turning back. I want more. Now. —Selena Welz, associate managing editor


March 11, 2008 - Posted by | Content Strategy, Content Syndication, Multimedia, Selena Welz, Web Content

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