The Fourth Network
The new network would offer not the five channels or 70 or 500 channels typical of the broadcast, cable or satellite networks. Instead, it would offer 50,000 or even the 500,000 channels made possible by the Internet. The industry could thus take full advantage of the seemingly insatiable consumer drive for increasingly personalized communication and entertainment. Viewers would draw on this infinitude of programming to select precisely what they want and when. Call it “TiVo Meets the Internet.” Imagine a world where anyone can ask for and automatically receive any program– recent Bosnian soccer matches, Great Lectures in Physics, Tomb Raiders XXVI, Tai Chi lessons, or a videoconference with a daughter in Chicago.
This is narrowcasting-less a difference in degree than a difference in kind. Such a network, long-predicted, is now about to become a reality, I believe, within the next five to seven years. And it will become the communications form of choice. It will supercede broadcasting.
Om calls the fourth network as the “MegaNET.”