Posted by mobile phone:
Regular readers will know I have been wondering for a while now what it is that will get people watching TV via the web. The existing product is good, not perfect, but evidently good enough for an awful lot of people. To frame the question another way I have been wondering what will be powerful enough to get people to bother to wire up their TVs to the internet and switch away from their existing cable or satellite service provider.
The obvious answers are price and/or content – Skype did it in telephony with a free service and desirable content unavailable elsewhere would be pretty compelling.
The problem is that both of these are very hard to deliver on. The best content is expensive and it is tough for internet startups to compete with established providers who have much bigger balance sheets and can amortise the costs of programmes across a much larger customer base.
I’m gussing that this is partly why Joost raised so much money.
Little things like instant messaging and exclusive niche content will help as well, and these are also available on Joost, but somehow I don’t feel these will be enough.
Iheard a new answer to this question at LeWeb today (new for me anyway) was that it will be conversations. The idea is that much like blogs for text videos from outside the ‘fat head’ of content could be a force for change. The emphasis in these programmes is on content (message, meaning, viewing experience) over traditional production values. As such they are cheap to produce and can respond to each other in conversations, and even link to each other in video now with technology from Coull or Asterpix.
This sort of vibrant content is being produced in increasing volumes by the likes of Scoble (whose weapon of choice increasingly seems to be an N95) and Intruders.tv. It will only ever get a small percentage share of the market (although that could still be big in dollar terms) but it might be enough to kick off the behavioural change I was describing at the beginning of this post.