Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What is the future of TV and visual media?

I spend a lot of money each month on my DirecTV subscription and it’s mostly for channels that I don’t watch.  In addition to my basic subscription, I also spend money on premium movie channels and on local channels.  If I were to boil down the channels that I actually watch all the time, it is surprisingly few from the 200+ channels that are available to me, so why can’t I just pay for the channels that I want to watch.

Shawn Conahan posts on the Intercasting Blog about some articles in USA Today:

Cable’s final frontier: People who want less
Tailored, ad-free TV gains ground
File-sharing Grokster plans to go legit

Here are Shawn’s main points with some of my own comments:

    1. People don’t want higher quality or more channels at a higher price.  I want to pay for the channels that I want to watch.  I want to search by program and not care about the channel the program is on as long as I have the ability to pay for unit consumption.  Although I have a HD plasma, I don’t have a HD tuner plugged into it because the tuner is expensive and the experience of HD just doesn’t improve the television experience that much for me.  I don’t want a TiVo box in my living room, I just want to be able to watch shows that I want to watch when I want to watch them; there’s no reason why I couldn’t stream the shows from DirecTV’s or Comcast’s hard drives; and, yes, I’m willing to pay for the privilege.
    2. People will pay for, and media companies will support, user-generated programming.  I’ve already said it above, but I’m willing to pay to watch shows and pay a little more if they are commercial free.  Video iPod anyone?  Read Shawn’s comments on what we are willing to pay to send a picture via a cellphone vs. what we are willing to pay to watch 1 hour of commercial-free TV and think about the paradigm shift.
    3. Media companies will devote massive resources to the pursuit of killing the illegal distribution of their content, which may be a good thing.  Just because the market is figuring out the new landscape for media companies does not mean that we as consumers should have to bear the burden of higher monthly costs and crazy DRM schemes so that media companies can fight the inevitable.


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