Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Old Jargon Just Doesn't Fit Anymore

As we move into the brave new world of digital media, someone is going to have to come up with new jargon. For example, MediaScrum will be at NAB next week - that is, the show sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters. Who are the members, you ask, of the NAB: why, radio and television stations. Those media upstarts - cable and satellite companies, other media organizations, international broadcasters, equipment manufacturers, and their ilk - are welcome to become Associate Members, otherwise known as the children's table at Thanksgiving.

NAB2006 bills itself as the World's Largest Electronic Media Show. I'm not yet quibbling with that description - I'll let you know what I think of it after spending next week with the Broadcasters and their Associate Members. "Electronic Media," however, encompasses more than just Broadcasters. Interestingly, last year, Electronic Media magazine went in the other direction - it changed its name to TV Week.

In any case, we'll have to come up with a new term for our new medium. "Broadcasting"? It implies an FCC license, Heaven forbid. Also, I thought the essence of the new medium was narrowcasting. "TV"? Too limiting. "Video"? No, sounds like my neighbor's Super-8 vacation film. Any suggestions out there?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Apple Is Disintermediated - Who Needs iTunes After All?

Disney has announced that it is making several of its hit shows available on the web, free of charge: It's been an interesting progression: Apple sells music on iTunes, Apple provides video on iTunes, video providers realize that people don't necessarily want to watch video on their iPod, video providers distribute content directly to their users via the web.

A lot of people are having their ox gored, but they are being polite about it for now: local stations and cable networks - who benefit from off-net syndicated programming; cable MSOs who want to capture the on-demand market through their cable systems. It remains to be seen whether all of the publicity surrounding Disney's latest move will generate additional interest in their programming - and create more value for their shows at every step of the value chain: DVDs, syndication, etc. - in the near- to medium-term. After all, I don't think that there is a very large audience for watching TV programs on your PC - yet - and there is also some work involved in finding the programs, etc., even if you could port the programs from your PC to your TV.

Nonetheless, it's one more significant step in revamping the old business model. Stay tuned - or logged in, as the case may be.