I'm Here To End The Show

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Few doubt that we’re on the verge (if not already in the midst) of major changes in the way people watch video.  The last 5-10 years of mobile computing freed consumers from their couches and enabled video consumption in places never before possible.  So far technological changes raise more questions than they answer about viewing habits, engagement, and the creation/distribution process in general.  Mobile is still acceptingly new and unpredictable so marketers are not necessarily stressed about it, they’re still in discovery mode.  Mobile seems to be complementing traditional living room video consumption not replacing it. 

Basically unchanged for 60+, the magic sauce of video content accessibility through the living room is now one step closer to titillating reality.  Getting consumers to adopt change with this previously minimally touched screen will uplift the media landscape into something spectacular for viewers and for the industry.  By the way, connected TV’s, DVR’s and cable companies have not even come close to the right formula.  In fact connected TV’s are like web1.0 where the special sauce is more like the mobileweb2.0 (we’re on the right path but still have one or two more failures ahead).

The internet didn’t affect time spent with video in the living room, it only altered the creation process of content.  Even with the Youtube’s of the world the distribution process remains the same. Yes, you hear the cord cutting rumors here and there but there are mostly exaggerated reports by over caffeinated and overzealous scaremongers.  As I mentioned before mobile computing is complementing living room video not replacing it.  Why am I even writing this article then?  I’m writing this now because the distribution component of the equation is finally poised to drastically change.  Discovering online video content is still too hard and cumbersome for most consumers.  Nobody wants to search through 4 different apps, a Netflix, Hulu, and 500+ cable channels, people have their habits and without a new technology to organize ALL VIDEO consumers will not change.

Two recent developments: 1) the approval of Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility and 2) Motorola Mobility’s announcement of DreamGallery (a platform for the management of the distribution of TV and other video content in what Motorola calls the world of the networked DVR [nDVR]), detailed in the linked article by Gerry Purdy, got me thinking that we’re closing in on the golden path.  Read his article, great stuff.  Mr. Purdy writes,

“We’ll still pay $150 per month, but we’ll now have access to more content (which could be overwhelming), and we’ll have a user experience through software that will make searching, identifying, discovering and enjoying content easier than ever before.”

This specific point caught my attention because it all comes down to the money $$$$.  $150 cable bills are already hurting many people’s pockets but that isn’t all, the advertising economy underlining subscription TV is a massive elephant that’s become ingrained in the larger telecommunication economy as a whole.  Changing the business models will not be easy and this ugly underbelly of content distribution needs to drastically change.  In addition the $150 cable bill needs to become more justified.  Do I really need my 500+ other cable channels if I have an organized, streamlined, and intuitive web distribution software and hardware at my fingertips?  Just take a look at Mircosoft and the Xbox.  How about mobile carriers?  Google wants to make the smart phone the living room video catalyst but mobile providers will have to lift bandwith caps on their data plans.  I do not want to choose between constant updates to my Facebook wall and channel surfing.  I definitely don’t want to pay more for this privilage either! 

We’re living in interesting times and I can’t wait for the day when the fragmented video world is made whole for my viewing pleasure.  We should all keep in mind that there are some deeply ingrained consumer habits and business models that need changing first.  Our utopia will not exist without some big players on all sides of the isle making some significant strategy shifts.