Today, I got to thinking about just how archaic and user unfriendly the current television model truly is. Here’s how the idea manifested itself:
I was getting ready to put my son down to sleep for the night (or “Nigh Nigh” as he calls it). As I laid there on the floor of his room singing the ABC song, I realized that I had forgotten to record the new Shark Week episode, which was airing at 9pm, and there was a good chance that I would not be done putting young Sebastian down in time to catch the beginning of the episode. What a potential bummer in the making, right?
Then I got to thinking, why should this be a potential bummer situation? Why isn’t every single television show immediately available for watching and rewatching at any moment after the original airing? On Demand is cool and all, but I’m talking about the ability to immediately (and permanently) access any show at any time after the original publication.
And while I’m at, how about giving me an easy way to search for them (e.g. Google for TV)?
Think about it for a second. Imagine if internet content worked in the way traditional TV works:
- That would mean that this very blog post would only be available for viewing immediately after publication, and if you’re lucky, you might be able to access it via On Demand functionality (or if you remembered to record it).
- It would also mean that any video posted to YouTube (like this freaky classic) would only be available upon publication and would be incredibly difficult to track down after its original airing date.
At this point you might be thinking to yourself, “but Hugo, TV is different! It’s not like other content channels.” Here’s the thing, though; that’s what proponents of the print establishment (e.g. newspapers and magazine) said when blogs and other forms of online journalism came on the scene. It was also what proponents of the music establishment said when MP3s, file sharing, and iTunes hit the scene.
And just as those interactive, internet-based technologies disrupted those two establishments, you can bet money that the same will happen to the current TV powers that be (e.g. television networks and cable providers). As the cost of producing and distributing “TV” (e.g. video) content continues to drop, independent TV channels will begin to grab substantial share of voice (maybe not one particular channel but the aggregate of all these niche channels) and entire independent networks will sprout up to house and distribute all of that independent channel content. Perhaps most importantly, TV (e.g. video) content will be compatible with web analytics (e.g. Omniture, Google Analytics, etc.) and it will be fully searchable (e.g. Google TV).
As a marketer, I feel that its my responsibility to do as much research as possible on the potential big-time players that will emerge as traditional TV transitions into online, internet TV. I also feel that its my responsibility to understand the fundamental elements that make for successful video content publishing, video distribution, video analytics and in-stream video advertising.
Because online TV/video in 2011 is what blogging was in 2001; It’s social, searchable, and measurable, but it’s not quite mainstream enough to challenge the status quo quite yet.
And this time around, as a marketer, I plan to be ahead of the curve as opposed to reacting to it.