Monday, November 2, 2009

A Brave New World

Lately I've been watching a lot of "TV" on the computer; ie, netcast, or podcast as the traditional term for audio, and now audio and video broadcast over the internet, either streamed live as they happened or played off a site or downloaded and saved to and played on a portable mp3 player, both without video and more and more with video.
What I'm mostly watching is TWIT.TV, TWIT stands for; "This Week In Technology".

It started out a a audio taping of a informal conversation about tech by Leo Leporte, and several of his old Tech TV friends.
It was later put up on a site and, eventually broadcast and downloaded. Long story short;
Leo Leporte has over the last several years built TWIT into a small station. They now do about 30 hours of netcast a week, besides streaming the feed live during the taping of the shows. and running repeats of the latest shows when now one is there.. They now have sponsors and so there are a limited number of comericals , which are all of products they they use .Theses "comericals" harken back to the days of old when the announcer would go into a ad for a particular product and then righ back to the show at hand. This is what they do on TWIT tv. When its time for the few, usually 2-3 ads that they need to run, Leo, or whoever is hosting the show, will say that its now time to mention a word from our sponsor, and do a speil about the particular product or service, there is no fancy music or other gimmick, just Leo hawking the product for that day.Orgininaly they only put out audio versions of their netcast, which are available to download from I-tunes and a number of other venues. Recently within the last couple of weeks Leo Leporte, founder and owner of TWIT TV anaunced that he had just signed a deal with a company called Media Fly which is a web media, ie podcast aggeriator. They collect and put out software and products to bring media off the web to other platforms, everything from traditional auduo/video mp3 players, to smartphones, and many other devices, so essentially you an either stream it directly fom the web or or download it to you portable device of choice and take it with you, includes both regular audio only podcast, and the a/v podcast. The importance of deals like this are many:

For starters they give the whole podcast industry a creditability they haven't had before. Suddenly they are no longer just those strange things that the geeks search out and listen to. On a equally important note, it also brings the podcast to a whole new market that would never take the time to look for them, then figure out how to download and play them. Suddenly they are almost as easy to play as turning on your tv. Actually Leo Leporte explained this whole ease of use and the whole though process that went into the making of TWIT tv and why podcasting hasn't taken off like it should in this speech he did in early October. The Second link is to the speech at Blogworld, where he announced the deal with Roku and Media Fly.
The two links below explain what I have been trying to explain here much better then I can.

Also, earlier this month he in connection with the media Fly deal , he announced that the entre TWIT program would beput on the set-top box called a Roku. You may ask what a Roku box is, it is a small black box the you hook up to your tv and then it connnects to your network either wireless or by wire and allows you to stream content over it to your tv. Right now they have 3 main sourses of content. Amazon, which has both rent and buy options for their movies and tv series. If you don't rent or buy anything it don't cost you anything. The other is Neflix, which uses a subscription model, one flat rate starting around 10.00 a months allows you to rent one movie at a time, ie, physical dvd, they send to you, the big thing however is, with this box you can stream as much content as you want off their library, which is quite extensive. The last provider is MLB, major league baseball. again a subscription model, which I know nothing about exept you have to pay for it. Its there, which is cool for thoses who want. Now they are adding the Media Fly content to the box. Further research shows there are content provider coming on board over the next probably couple of months. At least that is my hope.

What platforms like Media Fly and and anything lets lets one take content from locked in device and play the same content on any device, be it a tv, natively, or through a box like Roku, or Boxee, or even Apple tv, and then take the same media and play it on a portable device and take it with you give adertisiers a whole new market to sell ads to. By the podcasting doing short content related ads the support the content maker and allow him to afford to make his product and keep it free to give away, and the adviritsers get a captive audience , which is also a niche market, which is more likely to be interest in a product related to what they're watching or listening to. And probably more likely to respond to the ad. On top of that, they will be able to track how their ads preforms, and get better demographics about the audience. Its a win-win, for everyone, the podcaster gets to pay for his show, the advertisers get to sell to a niche market that is interested in their products, and the listener hears ads he's probably more interested in.

Any way that it comes out in the end, ie,over the next few years,; things are going to change drasticly. A lot of how this will play out will depend on how the FCC and to a large extent they large telecos and content providers react to the shift. In theory, the consumers should be the ultimate winners. But How do you define winner;
Yes you will be able to stream almost anything you want whenever, wherever, you want, but your account is being tracked and advertisers, are keeping track of what you watch, so they can show you ads related to the content your watching, and possiblity based on where your watching it, and on what device your watching it on.
So in the end, the consumers have to decide if this is a fair trade, what and when they want for constant tracking of their viewing habits, and possibility even more sinister uses of the data..

Yes its a brave new world....

Ken Lawson

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