Lately, I was having a talk with Ibo on all things digital (tv), trying to outline the future of audio visual media (being humble is not always a virtue). Let’s put it like that: the whole apparatus is changing. Question is: where to?
It always makes sense to start with a user centric approach. How are people accessing their AV-media? Basically, we’re either talking about receiving broadcasts or on demand access. Do we have to define linear broadcasting? Probably not. TV channels are aggregating content and deliver it to your home, using a scarce ressource called available spectrum/bandwith.
On demand might need a bit more explaining. As on demand isn’t just a technological nirwana to be reached in the near time future, but accessing an archive to choose something to watch. Which might happen to be a part of your own VHS-collection, a DVD rented in a store, or a download or stream coming via any broadband pipe.
If you think I’m overdoing this, get this: New York Times – Microsoft Moves Into Video Download Fray.
(Let’s not get into details. While users will be able to keep television shows, movies can only be rented for a 24-hour period. The videos will not be playable on other devices and cannot be burned onto DVDs, but the online service will keep track of purchases so users can log in to watch their videos on a friendâ€™s Xbox, does a bit sound like a sure recipe for disaster to me – if you do not restrict your target group to paralegals working for IP lawyers).
In the end, IPTV sits smack in the middle. As IP is the telco-equivalent of the Blob. The end user/consumer/viewer couldn’t care less. In a perfect world, he plugs, he plays. And doesn’t have to think about walled gardens, net neutrality or even the device he’s using (do you care about the specs of your VHF tuner? Do you switch between VHF and UHF? Only if your tv set is 500 years old and still black and white).
The only thing he cares about is a moving image. It’s the emotion, stupid. That’s why content finally could be king. As the bottleneck of aggregation and distribution is vanishing. Could be, because: only in fairy tales, kings do not have to earn their living.
OK. Next stop: the content value chain.