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Theoretically yes! Especially now that even Comcast and Verizon have started to talk about broadband connections that zap data back and forth at speeds in excess of 100 megabits per second. As the speeds increase, the ability to call up niche content will theoretically be faster […]

Theoretically yes! Especially now that even Comcast and Verizon have started to talk about broadband connections that zap data back and forth at speeds in excess of 100 megabits per second. As the speeds increase, the ability to call up niche content will theoretically be faster than a blink of an eye. From Joost to YouTube — the future is full of video, says The Modesto Bee.

“We’ll move from a world of 300 channels to 3 million” predicted Michael Liebhold, a senior researcher at the Institute for the Future, a Palo Alto think tank.

While it is easy to get carried away in the euphoria offered by broadband nirvana, I would like to temper such unbridled enthusiasm. Between 300 and 3 million stand such pesky problems such as expensive infrastructure to store and serve up this video content. Of course, there is also that damn problem: can video content made for a handful of people actually make money?

Fears that consumers will abandon cable in droves to watch online videos may be overblown, said Bruce Leichtman, head of Leichtman Research Group in Durham, N.H. “Television already works pretty darn well,” he said. “The Internet will augment and complement television. To think it will replace TV is where people are getting carried away.”

I concur — maybe not 3 million, but 3000 would be more like it. After all, who wouldn’t want a dedicated channel of Monk episodes. Or, for that matter, BBC do-it-yourself shows.

  1. “We’ll move from a world of 300 channels to 3 million” Who needs channels with such speed? A good search engine and a personal EPG will probably be enough.

    “can video content made for a handful of people actually make money?” Does Amazon make money on books published for a handful of people?

    I do agree that it will probably take longer than most broadband evangelists want us to believe; TV indeed works so “pretty darn well”

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  2. Broadcast and cable TV won’t disappear entirely, but it will fade. Why? Targeted advertising will be the internet advantage. When advertising on the internet, ad-buyers will be able to buy demographic segments, age groups, even zip code with exactitude. Furthermore, integration may make it impossible to fast forward through the ads. Regular TV can’t compete with that.

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  3. In the near term, broadband TV seems to be a complement of traditional TV instead of a replacement.

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  4. Does Peer produced TV really need to make money for its producers it just needs to convey the story or message .

    http://www.futureexploration.net/fom/2007/07/what_filmmaking_looks_like_in.html

    For profesionaly produced content they need viewers to watch and hopefully they will have sponsors or advertisers viewing thier content .

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  5. Biggest problem in this potential transition — finding what you’re looking for.

    Video search still sucks.

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  6. Arno, IMO you might be confusing distribution with content. Amazon does not produce intellectual property…It’s extremely difficult to sell intellectual property to people at a profit unless you control barriers to entry to a) prevent the emergence of new competitors and b) limit the awareness of competing products on the part of consumers. It’s Econ 101 – in a hypothetical environment in which perfect competition exists (the web isn’t that far from it–almost anyone can make an internet video, record their band, or start a blog), firms make zero economic profit.

    Wagster, regular TV has reach. Targeted ad buys can obviously be very effective for marketing specific products or services to a specific group of people (esp. when based on behavior, which has much higher predictive validity than demographics), but what about generating awareness? To market products that everyone buys (e.g. toothpaste, laundry detergent, cereal) you need a mass reach vehicle – internet audiences and ad delivery formats and technologies are far too fragmented to allow for this to occur effectively in the short term IMO.

    Then to Josh’s point, do you really want to spend the time searching though 10,000 “channels” on the web for something you’d like to watch for an hour or two before you go to bed? Even if video search were perfect, do you always know exactly what you want to watch before you sit down on the sofa? Further, what’s to say that–even if you did–everyone else’s idea of (God forbid) “romantic comedy video” AND “takes place in NYC” AND “has a scene in a diner” as expressed by PageRank or its equivalent among 30,000 results is really what you had in mind all along? How do you quantify an emotional experience without allowing Google to give you a continuous MRI or to put an RFID-equipped computer chip in your brain? Does this mean that we do need gatekeepers after all?

    Not that the above implies I disagree w/ the notion that online video will eventually supplant regular TV FWIW, but as they say, it’s difficult to make predictions especially about the future.

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  7. @ David: I see your point and one of the difficulties with the Long tail is that it is actually based upon retail when it comes to monetization and not so much on content (production and/or aggregation). Making money with content especially deeper down in the long tail is diffcult, but just as it will find an audience, it will find advertisers. The more niche the content, the higher the value of the audience. So all in all it still might be good business, as long as you have the scale.

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  8. [...] NewTeeVee Can Broadband Replace Old TV, Cable & Sat TV? « Om Malik makes a few good points in this article. As online video develops, it will not supplant television or movies, but will augment it. (tags: video entertainment new-media) [...]

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  9. [...] speedy broadband connections, Internet TV is not ready to take on broadcast, cable, and satellite, Om wrote on NewTeeVee yesterday. He’s mostly right. But he asks, “can video content made for a handful of people [...]

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  10. [...] there money deep in the Long Tail of content? When I recently commented on a post on NewTeevee I got to think about making money deep into the long tail of content. As [...]

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