Packets of Entertainment

Packets of Entertainment

The marching zombies of convergence took another stride forward today with the mainstream launch of internet TV in the UK. Not TV you watch ON the internet but TV delivered OVER the internet — to a proper telly and everything!

What surprised me is the lack of insight delivered by the mainstream media. I haven’t heard any stargazing futuretalk about how we will receive all our media in 2050. Just the real basics of the ‘what’, the ‘who’, and the ‘when’.

What about the ‘why’ and more importantly, the ‘how’?

Does the general public really only care about what movies they will get and how much each one will cost them? There’s a comment on materialism in there somewhere but it is more the lack of curiosity that saddens me. Or at least the lack of curiosity assumed by the media.

This is another step change in the way we consume media; part of a new media ecosystem that will not just change the behaviour of consumers but all media producers and distributors. And of course their money men: the advertisers. This is cool technology, combined with pop culture, combined with big business. Surely there is a bigger story to be told than just this product launch? All it takes is a bit of imagination. Or at worst, to ask the opinions of a few of the forward thinkers out there who understand the changes that are about to happen.

I don’t count myself amongst that prescient number, but I have listened well enough to see how things are shaping up:

Anyone with Sky Plus will tell you that it completely changes the way you view television. The timeshifting aspect doesn’t only enable you to be more selective about what you watch and when. It allows you to take more risks with programming. Something on an obscure channel at 1am that takes your fancy? Why not record it? It’s free and easy, and if it turns out to crap you only have to watch five minutes and delete it. I discovered Mythbusters this way, and it is now my favourite show (yes I am a true geek).

Now imagine that instead of the 100 or so channels you have through sky, you can access the output of every wannabe director and star on the planet with a broadband connection and a digital camera. Now combine the output of every YouTube auteur with the complete history of all programming. Ever. That’s a lot of content.

So you need to be able to search it effectively when you’re looking for something. Or even better have a system that learns your tastes and actively searches out content you might like — just like TiVo.

This is the future.

Sky Plus + YouTube + Broadband + Google + TiVo = TV 3.0 (sorry, somebody had to do it)

What gets really interesting is this:

1. How do trends form when everyone is watching their own individual TV channel?
2. How do the producers find funding when they have a potential audience of 1?

Answers on a postcard please. There are plenty of them out there.

Of course this applies to all media, not just TV. I’m not saying there won’t be a market for books, CDs or newspapers, but everything will be available too through our own unique and universal media source.

Surely the mainstream media could take time to whip up people’s imaginations about its own future?

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This article is by Tom Cheesewright. This post forms part of the Future of Business series. For more posts on this subject, visit the Future of Business page.

Tom Cheesewright

Futurist speaker Tom Cheesewright is one of the UK's leading commentators on technology and tomorrow. Tom has worked with a huge range of organisations across a variety of markets, to help them to see a clear vision of tomorrow, share that vision and respond with agility. Tom draws on his experience to create original, compelling talks that are keyed to the experience of the audience but which surprise and shock with unexpected facts and examples.

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