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Internet TV: An Important Discussion

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From left: Jennifer Feikin (Google), Ted Cohen (EMI Music), Jeremy Allaire (Brightcove)From left: Jennifer Feikin (Google), Ted Cohen (EMI Music), Jeremy Allaire (Brightcove)

The bigwigs of the media and entertainment industry met to discuss the future of television and the Internet at the beginning of the week. Their concerns are focused on the idea of user-created content and the hundreds of new video sites springing up on the web. The major shift seems to be from “How do we fight it?” to “How can we make money off it?”

This, in the end, might prove to be good for the user. The entertainment industry is going through a loss of control, which is making a lot of executives nervous. They fear being left behind by the technology and losing their gold from piracy. From ZDNet:

“You can’t set up too many rules right now… if you don’t let them play they will play anyway, so we have to figure out how to monetize it,” he (Ted Cohen) said. Rights are a complicated issue, he said, but the rights holders have to have the right “mindset.” For example, directors and producers making B-roll and samples available to the masses to mashup, and hoping that MySpace or YouTube users become unsolicited viral marketing agents.

Improved technology has shifted the power to the content; good content is what people want. Even though there are hundreds (possibly thousands) of little sites providing their own content, most of it is pretty bad. The networks have the money and the marketing to offer quality content; they aren’t worried about the competition from the user content.

In terms of what kind of video content works on the Web, Feikin said, “Come back in a year… the whole revolution is only eight months old. We really don’t know what will work. Today it’s short form comedy and video content, very PC-based.” Down the road, video will spread out to more kinds of mobile devices, and the “whole long tail of content” will open up, she added. At the other end of the tail, the entertainment industry is bring more longer form content, such as TV shows, to the Web.

[ADBLOCKHERE]The major advantage of the Internet is the niche market. All the little specialty programs that can’t survive on regular TV can find a pretty large audience on the Internet. Think about a cable channel like Discovery; it has about the same number of viewers as a video on MySpace.

There isn’t any immediate fear that the little people will take over, but it has started them rethinking the traditional models of everything. Again, I think this will only be a positive if crafty lawyers don’t think up something that no one has thought of yet.

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  • The internet TV is a different kind of audience, it’s also accessible to a wider audience. I am seriously wondering how these bigwigs are going to market this on a global scale.