News.com captured the essence of the future in an article last November:
Imagine a day when you would be in total control of creating your own TV channel lineup.
Instead of subscribing to a service from a cable, satellite or phone company that might offer you hundreds of channels you’ll never watch, you would be able to select what you want and watch it on your own schedule.
That day might not be so far away. Slowly but surely, content that’s broadcast over cable networks and through satellite providers is being distributed through the public Internet.
“Producers of content want as many forms of distribution as they can get to reach their audience,” said Vito Palermo, founder of a start-up called Portola Networks, which is in the early days of developing technology for content providers to manage the distribution of their content over the Web. “They would love to cut out the middlemen, but the economics must be compelling. Technology is an enabler, but there are a lot of other dynamics around consumer behavior and the business model that need to be in place first.”
Much of the infrastructure to provide broadcast quality video directly over the public Internet is now available. Companies, such as Kontiki and EdgeStream, have already developed software to secure content and ensure the quality of streaming video.
TV networks will not die. But neither will they grow – and in business, isnt that as good as dying? Their audiences have been steadily falling away for a decade. Network ad revenue is now flat and a host of new gadgets compete for viewers attention.
Yet its not technology that ultimately will challenge big medias monopoly. Its the audience who will do that, for now they – or rather, we – can produce, distribute, and market our own content at a cost media giants cannot beat. Three important developments come together now to make this possible:
Thanks to new tools, anyone can make a show. Just as blogging liberated publishing, cheap gadgets and ever- easier software can turn anyone into a broadcaster. For example, Audacity – a free tool that makes editing audio as easy as cutting-and-pasting – lets us produce podcasts, the radio shows of the people. And even I, a child of print-and-paper, can make TV using a tool called Visual Communicator, which lets me write a script for a teleprompter on my computer screen and then drag-and-drop inserts of graphics and video on to the script so it is all recorded at once – no editing necessary. (To see a demonstration, go to buzzmachine.com/rtnda.) The internet enables us to distribute what we make to the world. No longer do we have to beg the guy who owns the broadcast tower for time. We can now market via links. That is how some blogs have built audiences the size of midsize newspapers. That is how podcasts and vlogs (video blogs) will grow.
There is the real revolution in media: The one-way pipe that was broadcasting is giving way to an open pool that everyone owns, where anyone can play. The end of the network era isnt just about losing audience or revenue or profits. Its really about losing control.
One of the themes that has been mentioned around video on the Internet is the ability to target smaller audiences. We will examine this more closely.
Tomorrow: Niche Audiences
TECH TALK Video on the Internet+T