Kevin Werbach writes:
The Internet won’t completely replace television as we know it. Instead, it will mutate and extend it. Right now we’re seeing the long-promised “convergence” play out on two levels. Big phone companies are deploying digital platforms on fiber optic networks to compete with cable operators, who are rushing to add on-demand features in response. To me, though, that’s less interesting than the distributed, bottom-up activity around short video clips on the Net and wireless networks. One is about competition; the other is about transformation.
At some point, thanks to VOIP, most of the voice conversations we engage in across the network won’t be phone calls. (That’s at least part of what eBay/Skype is about.) Similarly, most of the video content we watch won’t be television. Those traditional forms will still be around, but they will become specialized, much like radio after the emergence of television.
This is what the incumbents can never appreciate. They are hard coded to assume that voice = phone calls and video = TV. The two great economic drivers of the communications industry, advertisers and users, will have no trouble adapting. AOL, Yahoo!, and Google, each in its own way, cracked the code for harnessing the text Internet as an advertising medium. Those companies, and perhaps others, are bound to do the same for the video Internet. Once they do, look out.