Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Reports of my Death have been greatly exaggerated.... "

"Reports of my Death have been greatly exaggerated.... "

Said the Television Industry to the Media,

Over the last few years media pundits have have been predicting the downfall if not death of traditional television.
Due to both the advent of the Internet and DVD, high definition and the ability to take your media almost anywhere you go. Yes portable media is nice, handy and a nice way to kill time while waiting for doctor,ect, It will never replace the experience of sitting in your favorite lounge chair watching a High Definition Movie with 7.1 surround and eating your favorite snack, and when its over turning out the lights and going straight to bed, without driving a hour to get home.
In spite of all of the types of media there are, and ways in which one can listen to, or watch the main hub to organize and centrally locate the source seems to be some kind of media server, which uses your tv as a display screen to both navigate your media, and play it.
our old friend, Microsoft has a media server,which from what I have seen in on-line demo clips show it looking pretty good, But they didn't say exactly what was under the pretty interface, Of course it didn't crash during the demo. The idea of ripping all your movies onto a couple of huge hard drives and watching them form one box on any tv in the house is both nice, and scary at the same time.
However, with the move to a all digital format in February of next year and the popularity of content from many other sources It no wonder the death dredge for tv has been sounded.
I think it a lot premature to call the television industry dead. As long as there is mass marketing there will be mass media of some sort. Television will evolve and programing will change and the interface will change, however the lure of sitting mindlessly watch a show all evening is still strong. Hopefully the content will improve. Anyone who has followed my blog for anytime know I have little use for 99% of the new content of tv today.
What the networks are starting to understand is that the days of a captive audience are over. They have been , for the last 20 plus years when VCR and cable came along, as soon as consumers had more choices and the ability to tape something and watch when they wanted, they weren't as tied to schedules and being there when a show was on. and of course they had more shows to tape..

The tie-in between the web and the tv is getting tighter every month. Both Playstation3 and XBox360 are positioning themselves to become a media hub in the living room. Not just a box to play games on. Thats not even counting the dedicated media servers and other ways to get content to the tv.

The media content providers are saying that revenue are down. Viacom just released 2nd quarter statements, basically saying that ad revenue was stalled had only grew worldwide by 2% and US Ad sales only 1%. Which means they're not selling the ads like they had been and they fewer people are seeing the ads they do sell. Link to story;

You can read it and draw your own conclusions, Essentially the MTV generation is moving away from just sitting in front to their black box for hours at a time. They want their media with them, wherever they go, Be it MP3s notebook, or a device that plays everything from music to full motion video on a small portable screen.
The Television and Movie industry have to accept that they're not the only game in town anymore. With new computer coming out that are designed to be used as both a tv and a computer, playing content from other sources is even easier and more of a option for many folks.

The choices of content to stream on you computer, and hopefully eventually stream directly to you tv and sound system have grown considerably over the last year or so, The start with Google Video and now Youtube have opened the door for many types of streaming media to be available and the growth of broadband have allowed more people to take advantage of their faster connection by doing things they never dreamed of, Such as streaming classic tv shows on their laptops while sitting in a MacDonald's, or Starbucks or even the Library. The point is they have more options.

The top of the tv streaming heap is launched back in March it is already racking up huge number of streams and users. 83 million in June, and it keeps going up. Why all the hulua over For several reasons: One picture quality is excellent, while its not as good as watching natively on you tv, its the best I've seen online. However their compressing the feed , it opens and plays with very little shudder or lag most of the time. Compared to YouTube, its night and day. The other big thing is their selection. While they have a large number of newer programs, they have a even larger number of old classic tv, Which is great way to introduce a young person to shows you watched as a kid and still miss. While there are commercials during the shows they well spaced out and VERY sort, ie 15-30 seconds and right back to the program your watching.
Another contender for tv viewing time is DVDs. With the drop in price for a standard definition DVD player to well under a $100. most everyone has some kind of player, that not even mentioning all the Sony PS2 out there that play dvds and are used as stand alone players, and rarely play games. Of course the Movie studio have been crying pirertcy and that they're losing money for years.
With all of theses and more options available to the consumer is it a wonder that the Tv-land is shaking in its boots. There are surveys that say as much as 20% watch tv on the internet, and it will probably grow, The networks need to work to provide a wider platform to allow viewers to watch whenever they want. One may catch a show as its broadcast one week, and the next week be busy and not able to see the show, being able to go to the web and watch the show you missed and keep up is something that networks need to work on. On the web side commercials need to be kept to a mimmium or they'll drive viewers to other sources for the programing they want, and not watch the "Official" streaming version. Also the ability to download shows and watch later is also something that networks need to work on, But then there you get into the Dirty word...DRM...
Once you start actually downloading material, your opening the door to DRM issues and how dose the network control its material once its downloaded.
To compete and hold its own with the new medias coming out almost daily, the networks need to rethink their stragies, the old captive audience has long ago unlocked he door and flew away. Web content should add to the viewing experience, with such things ans interview with actors, producers ect, and behind the scene looks at how the show is made, maybe even web only offering to ad to the knowledge of the background stories of the show. this would keep viewers on the"official" site and probably make them more interested in watching the show on tv more often. By embracing the new media and helping the audience enjoy their favorite shows how and where they want to, they will in the long run build up the viewer ship they and their advertisers crave. Television has to continue to evolve with the demands of the audiences, or the television industry as a whole will wind up in the same shape as the recording industry has in the last few years. Trying to control their material and protect their precious copyright will strengthen the consumers view of the tv industry as Big Brother, and put them in the same light and breath of disdain of the RIAA. And No one wants to be thought of on their level.

Here are some Links to check out:

1 comment:

Ollie said...

Another great set of comments that benefit us all, Mr. K.

I use Streambox quite a bit on the road, watching my Home TV on my computer via IP address connections. While video-quality is dependent on web traffic levels, sunspots or any other reasons, it's a service that could always be improved and could benefit the buyers and sellers.