In this age of hyper personalization, where DVRs are at our command, ready to playback the latest escapades of Vinnie Chase & the Boys, who needs live TV. Unless it is live sports extravaganzas, say NBA finals or SuperBowl (or Wimbeldon Tennis), television is no longer […]

In this age of hyper personalization, where DVRs are at our command, ready to playback the latest escapades of Vinnie Chase & the Boys, who needs live TV. Unless it is live sports extravaganzas, say NBA finals or SuperBowl (or Wimbeldon Tennis), television is no longer what appears on the TV Guide grid or on the hour.

On the Internet, Live TV is even more irrelevant, which is one of the reasons my ex-colleague Business 2.0’s Erick Schonfeld is bemused by all the fuss over LiveStation, the P2P TV offering from Skinkers/Microsoft.

On the Internet, does live TV even matter any more?….The Internet is the ultimate on-demand television system, where the choices of what to watch and when have no practical limits. The concept of live TV almost makes no sense in that context. Why limit your audience only to those people who can tune in at a certain time? …. live TV will be a liability on the Web unless those streams are also stored for later viewing.

Unless you are stuck in office late at the night, and desperately want to watch World Series Baseball, there will be few opportunities to actually consume Live TV streams. Okay! Maybe if you can’t do without an Entourage fix while traveling to say, Tel-Aviv, you might need live TV streams. But will there be enough of an audience to justify the costs involved. I am in Erick’s camp. What do you guys think?

  1. one word Om:

    chew on that.

  2. http://investing.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?rpc=401&type=entertainmentNews&storyID=2007-07-07T233018Z_01_N07240555_RTRUKOC_0_UK-CONCERT-MEDIA.xml&WTmodLoc=HP-C11-Ents-2

    as you see, the demand always meets the supply with live video (see the men’s basketball NCAA tournamant as well)

  3. Om, I’m with you. I think it’s another instance of the techies making something possible that nobody actually needs. The logical evolution of what we used to call television is the time-shifted, place-shifted, profile-curated IPTV arena we are in the process of happily thrusting our way into.

    Apple TV and similar apps will get it onto our home theatre screens. Certainly these screens will still give us access to live programming where live is an imperative component of the content’s appeal and, as a previous comment stated, when interactivity is factored in.

    But LiveStation exists, I fear, only because somebody decided it was possible.

  4. Stuart Gannes Monday, July 9, 2007

    Your sports caveat is more than a caveat. Live sports – especially those that people bet on – is a very big category. From Olympics to Tour de France, there is a distributed audience for every sport when it’s live. Once it’s over you can read about it.

  5. I totally agree with you Om the only real money to be made in live intent TV is sport and mostly due to betting and the revenue that can be derived by taking a cut of the betting revenue from legal gambling if you have the broadcast rights .

    Travis Kalanick the CEO of Red Swoosh wrote a great blog post why Live p2p is currently not worth the investment and points out there is only 3 categories where live makes sense …..that is sport ,events and news .


    Live Sport is what powers sites like Myp2p where you can find a schedule of most live sporting events including the Cricket (Im an Aussie …Om loves the cricket also ) and Tennis as well as sports that get blacked out regionally like Baseball all distributed over live p2p usually on Chinese based streaming p2p networks .


    So there is money to be made with live p2p streaming but it should not be your only revenue stream and it should be additional to your on demand offerings .

  6. Live TV, in some aspects, is a thing of the past. But the present and future are not yet fully sketched out. For example, Live TV helped define an agenda for our day to day lives – in some ways, this tied us down. On Demand TV liberates us, but puts in new demands. Was it episode 23 or 25 of that soap that I watched 4 days ago ? Nopes, actually, i’ve seen them both..maybe it is 34 or 35 even. Gosh, stored TV makes me look at those ads for memory improvement pills. I never had to worry about this when there was good old Live TV. I always got the latest (yeah, there were repeats, but they were latest too – or in the right sequence)

    In other words, On Demand TV should still evolve a bit so that it’s really usable. Current interfaces are not smart enough.

    Suggestion : You might want to do some usability analysis on current on-demand TV systems for this wonderful site you run.

  7. Do we really need it?

    In a totally unscientific test, let’s look at the rest of the
    stories immediately after this on NewTeeVee. How many are events, news or sports – content that would suit live broadcast?

    Live Earth’s Live Video – live.
    NewTeeVee events – events.
    YouTube Meetup in NYC – event.
    Morning headlines – mixture, n/a
    Friction.tv – on demand.
    Skinkers article – not counted.
    Frontline – news content.
    Live from Iowa: sports, already live.
    BBC – news content.

    So out of 8 stories (excluding the Skinkers story):
    2 are already live
    4 are content that suits live – events and news
    2 are on demand.

    so 6 out of 8 are candidates for live streaming.

    If live isn’t important, why do so many people watch live sports? How many “on demand bars” are there versus “sports bars”.

    The desire to watch live events / sports as they happen won’t disappear just because on demand content appears on the PC.
    There is a significant amount of live content that belongs alongside it.
    People will still want to keep in touch with their “tribes”. e.g. those defined by the soccer team they follow, their national news, Olympics, local news, Glastonbury, Live 8, Live Earth etc.

    Live is different and complimentary to on demand. and you notice I’ve explicitly not mentioned scheduled broadcast programming (aka linear TV).

    Let’s let the market decide!

    LiveStation (Skinkers) Team
    (p.s. I love NewTeeVee :)

  8. Consumers will tell us whether or not they want the service and are either willing to pay for it, or willing to have it be supported via commercials. The viewers decide if it will work from a business model, not us. If the technology does not get adopted into a viable business, then who cares what the technology can do.

    Some content that is niche, like sports and news has a shot, but those will not reach a wide audience, which I think is ok as it’s about the quality of the people you are reaching first, before you think about the quantity.

  9. Hi Om,

    In my post over at last100, I state the case for live TV over the net. Call me romantic, but I miss those communal water cooler moments, that live (or near-live TV) can bring about.

    The biggest issue therefore, isn’t live vs on-demand, but the way Internet TV is crippled by territorial rights restrictions. The water cooler is becoming increasingly virtual and global, and yet, Net TV’s world rights issues, fly in the face of this.


  10. “This is Liz Gannes.”
    “And this is Jackson West.”
    “We’re reporting live from Mountain View where YouTube leadership has launched a surprise takeover attempt of the executive suite at Google. Thousands of YouTube users have already moved to support the take over, saying that something must be done to stop Google’s transformation into an Orwellian panopticon.”
    “Our coverage of events here will remain live throughout the day and night as the conflict unfolds. Please stay tuned.”


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