This Television Will be Revolutionized

MEDIA | Services like Google Video, Apple iTunes are changing the way we consume TV programming. Is it the death of TV as we know it, Ask Ahmad Humeid.

Rocketboom Amanda
If you want to get a glimpse of the future of TV just go to Once there, you will see a woman ‘presenter’ sitting in front of a wall-mounted map of the world (like the one at schools). She, Amanda Congdon, presents the daily three minute Rocketboom ‘show’, mostly reading a script and showing still images or video clips taken from the net. It cannot get simpler than that. The show features internet and blogging news and other ‘stuff’. Apart from Amanda, Rocketboom has just one other team member Andrew Baron, who writes and directs the show.

Ok, so now you might be thinking that this is some hobbyist experiment: two people with a camera putting up video clips online. But when Rocketboom recently created an
auction on eBay to sell a one-week block of advertising on the show, fetching a winning bid of forty thousand US Dollars, the media industry raised its collective eyebrow.

In the auction, Rocketboom said that it reaches a minimum of 130,000 people per day and each day’s video, over the course of several days, receives over 200,000 complete views. This guarantees a minimum of 1 million views for the advertiser, who turned out to be an ATM and photocopying servicing business.

Rocketboom exemplifies the trend that many believe will lead to the destruction of the current TV model. First, with online distribution of video content becoming more and more viable, who needs transmitters and satellites? Second, while elaborately produced shows will always find an audience, there is nothing stopping a guy and a girl with a consumer-grade video camera from launching a show that gets the attention of tens, or even hundreds of thousands of visitors. And third, since when have advertisers had to bid for ad space? Haven’t they always had the upper hand over publications and stations, demanding discount after discount?

If you’re still not impressed by the little Rocketboom story, what about Google Video? Increasingly, I’ve been getting mail from friends pointing me to this or that funny video on Google Video. Recently I’ve been watching the notoriously funny and obnoxious Borat videos on Google. There is a ton of video content out there already and Google is definitely positioning itself to replace the airwaves. Anyone can apply to upload videos to Google, be it professionals or amateurs. You don’t need a site or worry about hosting costs. Google is the new ether!

All of this is not lost on the traditional TV industry. One place they’re going to guarantee a place for themselves in the age of digital distribution is Apple and its iTunes and iPod platform. The iTunes store now features Music videos, Pixar shorts and select NBC Universal, Sci Fi Channel, USA Network, ABC and Disney television shows, downloadable for a certain fee.
This is clearly where things will go with the spread of services/devices like TiVo that record TV show for you on a hard disk for future viewing (without the ads if you want). No wonder that media professionals I’m talking to, even in the Arab region, are predicting the death of the current TV model in five to ten years!

Talk to young people, and you’ll notice that many of them watch less TV and are spending more time online. Viewer habits are changing. Distribution is changing. Even advertising is changing. This might spell disaster for some in the media business but also represents a tremendous opportunity for others. And it enables a guy and girl and camera to create their own media!

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One Response to “This Television Will be Revolutionized”

  1. Wael Says:

    Amazing… vlog is a very powerful concept and soon i believe its going to be a major source of entertainment.. but it take much time and effort and technology than a regular blog can take.

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