David Emberton writes:
Most people in the industry still think of broadband as a class of connection, whether it be fast DSL through Cable to a T1. But in reality, broadband as a generic term will soon become disconnected from the technical specifics, and come to represent a particular kind of content. A space beyond the hypertext web that consumers refer to by name.
Allow me to paint a (somewhat inadequate) word picture:
Its off-broadway, for TV.
In the same way that off-broadway plays are the poor/weird cousins of premium theater, some things are appropriate for regular TV broadcast, and some arent. Whether it be short, cheaply made, or interactive, theres just a certain class of content that lends itself to being browsed on a computer rather than watched on TV. The point is that broadband is definitely not just text websites delivered faster, or even text websites with a few bells and whistles added. Its TV-on-demand, but also on-a-budget.
Lets imagine it another way. If youve flown in the past few years, internationally at least, you will have encountered in-flight entertainment systems and movies on demand. These types of systems are typical of what Im describing except instead of full-length films, broadband (as a mental concept) will be associated with anything under 5 minutes or so. High budget productions might last longer, especially commercials like the Volvo V50 example, but on the whole it will be quick and easy to digest, and tied together with a kind of interface that we really havent seen yet.
So what can you do to take advantage of the emerging broadband market? Start studying short features; DVD extras, cartoon shorts, interactive CD-ROMs. Figure out how to make disparate pieces of DV content fit together and interlink in ways text pages cant. Find yourself writing down scripts, counting words, and figuring out what TV and movie people have already learned about stringing pieces of video together.
Mostly though, pay attention not to what software companies and entrenched geeks think, but what teenagers and children are actually saying and doing. Young consumers are key, and what theyre saying is thatll end up on broadband.