TECH TALK: Video on the Internet: A Personal View

With Rajshri Medias plans to launch a broadband portal focused on Indians globally, the wheel has come a full circle for me. More than 10 years ago, in March 1995, I launched a portal, IndiaWorld, to offer news and information to Indians worldwide. For the first few years, the primary audience was made up of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs). The same will probably be the case with Rajshri Medias portal. One aspect of the story of the Internets first decade is this evolution from text to video.

I dont watch a lot of television. Occasional glimpses of cricket on TV is what my viewing is limited to along with soaking in some of the soap operas my wife, Bhavana, watches. It has been about 18 months since I watched a movie in a theatre thanks to Abhisheks birth last April. The coverage by the Indian news channels reminds me too much of that of the newspapers shallow and tabloid-like. I have little or no interest in the stock market so that eliminates the business channels.

This is not to say that there are no programmes on TV I would not like to watch. The problem is two-fold: discovery and recording. India still does not have an electronic programming guide which lists out whats on TV now. This makes the search and discovery problem hard. And even if I could find a programme, I probably would not be in front of a TV to watch it then. So, recording it becomes important. Setting a VCR still challenges ones intellect!

It is in this context that I look ahead to the future. The digitisation of the video content chain will make me want to spend time and money. There are many Hindi movie classics that Id like to watch. There are some terrific programmes on BBC like Horizon that Id like to make sure I dont miss. Whether these are ad-supported or I have to pay for them is a secondary issue. For me, it is about availability and access when I have the time.

In 2002, I started my blog. That was a first effort at being a content creator. Now, as Abhishek grows up, I can also imagine being a producer of videos and sharing them with friends and family. The text to video viewing evolution may have taken a decade. But the content creation evolution from text to video will have probably taken less than half the time. Tomorrows world is coming and its rich with media, created by us, for us.

TECH TALK Video on the Internet+T

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.