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Summary:

The instant and on-demand desires of a bunch of geeks is going to change the television game, and the revolution has already started, says The New York Times. They point to MythTV, an open source PVR technology, Bit Torrent and Videora, a software I pointed to […]

The instant and on-demand desires of a bunch of geeks is going to change the television game, and the revolution has already started, says The New York Times. They point to MythTV, an open source PVR technology, Bit Torrent and Videora, a software I pointed to a month ago.

We have to try as an industry to get ahead of this and give the audience an attractive model before the illegal file-sharer providers meet their needs,” said David F. Poltrack, CBS Television’s executive vice president for research and planning. “The clock is ticking on this.”

What is the most interesting part of this whole article is television industry’s response. They seem to be a lot more proactive in trying to get ahead of the technology instead of fighting it like the music business. It is interesting, in a way that they know how these technologies can kill the DVD sales, a highly lucrative line of business.

There is something two-faced about what the television industry is saying. A couple of days ago, there was a fantastic front page article in the Wall Street Journal about how Comcast and Television content makers – aka big studios – were at odds over the download and video on demand. The money grubbers down in LA don’t want to do it, because they are still hanging on to advertising-supported over-the-air broadcast model. In comparison, since most of the cable channels like HBO and Showtime are premium channels, they are more than happy to have consumers get this shows on demand.

I do have to add a word of caution – the users of these technology are relatively small, compared to the total television watchers, and we might be looking at the early adopter market and perhaps reading too much into it. Having tried Bit Torrent, and more recently Videora, I know getting shows requires patience of a saint. It is enough to turn-off the mainstream users. But if there was a way to make it easer and simpler, we could see some major activity here. After all it took four years, and iTunes to make downloading music a mainstream activity. (Is Exeem the answer? NY Post think it is a major headache for studios. )

Fred Wilson: the emergence of content that is being shared and downloaded that comes from the viewers themselves, the “citizens media” as Jarvis has coined it. Vlogging and video sharing sites are cropping up like crazy and my guess is that the viewers time will be split between new community built content and the holywood produced stuff like the Simpsons and The OC.

  1. A comment for Wilson and Jarvis: Steve Case.

    User content, mostly hot-talk, is what built AOL pre-internet, and its awesomely profitable, tic.

    Om, losing their AD revenue is not the primary reason for what’s holding content guys back from VOD. They’re also waiting for the arrival of RBOC video network.

    Content players want to play distribution channels against each other, or better yet they want to wait and own their own distribution, ala ESPN Mobile.

    There’s not much difference between VOD and downloading from the Internet, so if that’s the choice for content, they’re much better off waiting for downloading services they control. Plus they can keep 100% of the revenue and get distribution for FREE.

    So Brian Roberts, wouldn’t you do the same thing?

    PS. A typical In-Demand payout split is 5% to InDemand, 35% for MSO, 60% to content.

    Alex, I’ll take 100% over 60% any day.

    To sum up the current showdown between content and distribution, the distro guys are killing themselves, and there is alot more distro power coming to market than killer content.

    What would John Malone do?

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  2. Charlie

    could not agree with you more. they are trying to play the waiting game but given the track record of bell companies and their big bet on microsoft, i am worried that whole thing is not going to show up on time. by then the whole illegal thing is going to take off. anyway lots of food for thought here.

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  3. New search engine launched to find torrents.
    http://www.MadTorrent.com

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