How TV Will Become the Ultimate Open Content Platform
POSTED: Thursday, December 07, 2006
FROM BLOG: Micro Persuasion – Steve Rubel explores how new technologies are transforming marketing, media and public relations.
Since the dawn of the medium in the 1950s, big media has had a stranglehold over what you watch on your TV. However, that’s all about to change. A perfect storm is brewing. A-la-carte programming, branded entertainment and peer-created content are all coming to your TV in glorious high definition – all brought to you by the letters IPTV.
This is going to be one of the most important media trends over the next five years. The rapid pace of change will not only turn TV into an open content platform, but it will radically shift how advertising dollars are allocated and how the entire ad industry operates.
Despite the ever creeping presence of the Internet into every part of our digital lives, TV is still hanging on strong. According to a report published by Jupiter Resarch earlier this year, the two are neck and neck as measured in time spent – though the Net will eclipse TV soon. This will only accelerate the evolution of TV into an open content platform that more closely emulates the Net.
My own feeling is that both TV and the Internet will remain popular. One will not replace the other. From a pure viewing experience, big screen TVs clearly provide a more superior experience to watching video on a computer or a mobile device – particularly with the rise of HDTV. However, more and more TVs are going to connect to the Internet directly via specialized devices like Apple’s ITV in addition to your cable or satellite box. With this, your TV open up to thousands of content creators, pro and amateur.
As we look ahead – say three years from now – TV viewing will become even more fragmented. But make no mistake, IPTV is going to make television even more relevant in our lives than it is today.
The open TV platform will comprise of four key sources of content: network programming via your cable/satellite provider, a-la-carte shows sold directly to you by networks/studios, branded entertainment developed by major marketers and consumer generated content piped in via RSS. Let’s take a closer look at the prospects for each.
Network Programming – The TV networks, be they ABC, NBC, CBS, etc. or more specialized ones like ESPN and The Food Network, will continue to be a force in a more open, IPTV world. However, they will face increased competition from the very advertisers they covet as marketers produce their own programming and go direct. The nets will need to buddy up with advertisers to co-create branded entertainment programming to keep them in their fold.
A La Carte TV – Pay as you go TV platforms like Apple’s iTunes and Microsoft’s Xbox Live (an Edelman client) right now are experimental. Consumers like the option to time and place shift content and catch up on shows they forgot to DVR. However, a la carte TV will evolve dramatically in the months and years ahead. Studios will sell their shows to you without the networks. At the same time, the nets will use IPTV to test pilots – for free – in an effort to find the next big mega hit to put on the schedule.
Branded Entertainment – A lot of branded entertainment programming lives online right now. However, as TVs get a direct pipeline to the Internet, advertisers will invest heavily to create their own programming and bypass media. The institution with the most to lose or gain here (depending on how you look at it) are the ad agencies. They will have to transform themselves into hip, content shops that perhaps steal refugees from the TV networks and studios.
Peer Created Content – As we’ve seen time and again, we love to watch people like us. This is not just all about YouTube. It dates back to Candid Camera and America’s Funniest Home Videos. The trend is evergreen. However, RSS feeds are going to find their way onto your TV set either from your cable/satellite provider or via IP-connected devices like Apple’s ITV, Xbox, Slingbox or TiVo. The user won’t know that the RSS is even there. They will be able to browse through thousands of shows created by individuals and subscribe to them on their TVs. Many of these will be ad supported. Most will be free. Some that are more successful will require micro payments to view.
So to sum up, TV is going to be fine, thank you. But it will look nothing like it does today and it will be open to all of us.