the future of media…looks just like the past but different

fred wilson talks about the future of media and what he thinks it will take for video to be successful on the net. fred, i respectfully think you’re drinking too much web 2.0-laide on this one.

i will posit that the future of media is found in the past. the advent of every new form of video delivery has started in the same place – porn. this is followed by a lot of failing attempts to get people to pay for marginal crap, which is finally followed by a few ballsy guys like the rupert murdochs who place huge bets on super high value content like box office movies (HBO).

i worked at TCI in the early 90’s on the 500 channel initiative. we were trying to put together a seemingly valuable new set of channels that would make consumers want the new digital set top boxes (and pay more). we mostly failed. turns out that song 500 channels and nothing on was pretty true.

fred, how many times do you ever watch a rerun of any show? you tivo the new series of the office, not an old ‘i love lucy’. the problem isnt that goog wants to charge $1.99 for it. free wouldnt help either. nobody is going to watch it either way, especially when you add the download.

the big winner will be the ability to watch all kinds of freaky porn on your tv. that’s the first killer app of IPTV. this will one day be followed by a ted turner type who places a billion dollar bet on creating a commercial supported tv station on the net that initially provides something like HBO with branded, obviously high value content. remember it took HBO almost 20 years to create their own content. that’s because nobody was going to ever know to watch it.

this leads to my biggest lesson in consumer media – past, future, present – and that’s that it’s all about brand. in a world of 500 channels all you can hope for is a brand. that’s why we tried launching channels around branded mags and topics like auto channel, outdoor life, golf. in a world of 500,000 channels the importance of brand will be total. brand also means celebrities. that’s why we backed E! entertainment – i’ve also called the stalker channel.

3 thoughts on “the future of media…looks just like the past but different

  1. right on, Mark!
    it’s about brands — which are simultaneously aggregators, filterers, AND creators of content.
    cable programmers do this very well.
    broadcast networks, generally, don’t.
    record labels, essentially, can’t.
    and yes, broadband video plus user-created content creates a new opportunity.
    the good news is that you can build an audience _much_ more quickly today than in the early days of cable.
    sure, there’s clutter, and there’s competition.
    but there’s a road to daylight, too…

  2. SpotRunner: How Search Killed The Video Star Part II: Broadcast TV Stikes Back?

    Broadcast advertising is a dying business . . . as would most of the blogosphere would like to posit. Driven by
    1. rise of performance based advertising models
    2. legitimatizing of direct marketing (highly correlated with pt 1)
    3. shift of eyeballs…

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