The agreement unveiled by ON Networks and AT&T yesterday isn’t just about web shows moving to TV, it’s another step toward seamlessly integrating your web video and television watching experiences.
To refresh, ON Networks will provide four of the online shows for use on AT&T’s (T) U-verse IPTV and HomeZone satellite services. At first blush, this is no big deal, since depending on how you look at it, there are already a few ways for online shows to make the jump from the Internet to the TV.
You can have a video podcast up on iTunes that gets downloaded to your PC and transmitted to your TV via Apple TV (AAPL) (or similar set-up). This, obviously, requires a PC, a transmitter and a TV (and you still have your cable or satellite box if you watch regular TV).
Last month, PodShow content was added to TiVo. This removed the computer from the equation and better integrated watching web video into your regular TV watching lifestyle — if you have TiVo (TIVO).
The ON/AT&T deal, however, takes us another step forward.
The four shows ON Networks will provide to AT&T will appear in the on-demand section of the service. No downloading. No transmitting. No additional boxes. Just scroll through and select it like you would any other show on cable or satellite.
For now, all that web video content is relegated to sub-menus within sub-menus of your main television service, so it’s hard for the average person to even come across it, never mind integrate it into current TV watching habits.
But content deals are actually ahead of the curve when it comes to future television experiences. At some point, everything will be on demand, and the need for dedicated channel programming will go away. Web video companies will have the upper hand because that’s the only environment in which they’ve ever existed.