Some interesting opinions and information delivered to me courtesy of the Internet has driven me to take a stab at where we might be headed and what impact we may see in the coming years.
First off, Cringley released an interesting perspective that discusses where TV (if you can even call it that) might be headed. Whether you think these opinions are off base or right on the money probably depends on your perspective. At the same time, it is pretty evident to everyone (with the possible exception of the Incumbents) that video entertainment has evolved past the channel/time selection process.
One thing I can say for sure is the list of video on demand sites has grown substantially over the last year or two. Heck, even the definition of video on demand has changed. There was a time when VoD was defined as being able to choose whatever TV show or movie you wanted to view being able to be delivered to you on your schedule – not necessarily when the television station, movie theater or distributor said you could watch it.
Whether we look at sites like YouTube, Google Video, IFilm, Sputnik7 or many of the sites that cover that other kind of video that we won’t mention, video is now becoming one of the main forms of entertainment Internet surfers are going after.
But that is only looking at the content download side of the equation, where does this content come from? Strangely, from the general public – and this trend is about to really take off as the combination of inexpensive digital video cameras combines with video editing software to allow anyone with the time, money and desire to produce video content.
I see this trend as putting a stake right through the heart of the traditional distribution avenues. Let’s face it, Napster forever changed the way music is not only distributed but allowed to find its way into the mainstream. It is now possible for bands that have never been signed to have listeners all over the globe without ever once seeing the inside of a Music Industry controlled studio. And now the same is about to happen to the TV and movie industry.
This also has ramifications all the way down the line. It isn’t just the television and movie studios that will see serious changes, it is the video rental stores, music stores as well as cable and satellite TV distribution networks. The same holds true for radio stations as well as local TV stations – except for this last group who will now see new opportunities open up for them based solely on talent and content.
Instead of some plastic Barbie doll talking head being the star of the hour, now we actually might seen people from God knows where being piped into our homes across IPTV or Internet radio stations that we choose based solely on content and talent. Imagine, I can now get rid of the bimbo and have someone with brains and a sense of humor deliver me my news! There is also the very real chance (as Cringley mentioned) that this could be the rebirth of local content. You might recall that I wrote about a gentleman I met from Montreal who was using off-the-shelf SANS storage boxes in conjunction with hot spot locations to distribute local content very inexpensively. It is this kind of innovation that will create the necessary capsizing of these entrenched industries and allow for the innovation we really need to see to happen.
Where the handwriting seems to be pointing is somewhere deliberate – somewhere we cannot undo or shy away from, a place where the status quo will not remain but instead evolve into something unrecognizable.
It will also be a very different world, one very foreign to people who aren’t keeping track of the changes.
On a somewhat related note, let’s take a look at this study about teenagers and their Net usage patterns.
If what is being documented in this study is correct, our kids (early adopters of technology that they are) will have several streams of media coming at them concurrently and “ubertask” until the break of dawn.
There’s a fourteen year old that lives in this house, one that I get to watch. At any given moment he has a half dozen chat windows open, a forum where he is casually posting to, a voxel editor open designing bits and pieces for game modding as well as watching a video at different times. When he gets bored of that he’ll open up a game and attach to a server where he will play with other people from all over the world while chatting with them at the same time.
One the other hand, I have finally learned that doing two things at the same time for me is the definition of half-assed.
But I watch very well, I learn and I try to bring you all here what I pick up.
Good luck keeping up with it all, forewarned is prepared only if you take notice and do something about it.