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Interactive Video

Is the Napster-moment for television getting closer?

The last few years content distribution channels multiplied. Not only in number and different types of devices, but also in contact moments. Media got portable and on demand.

Podcasting’s greatest victory probably is that it created a new model for the next generation radio. It is giving people the power to time-shift broadcasting and making access to these broadcasts connection independent.

New generations portable videoplayers, mobile phones, pda’s and game consoles are standard enable to store, exchange and play video files. Bandwidth is ready for it, the only problem so far seems to be the access to desired content.

People want content. They might be satisfied for a while with amateur content, but in the end people want professional produced content. They want content they can talk about with friends, complex narratives, series, actors. The public doesn’t care if the content comes from a TiVo, obscure Russian mirror website or online store. Most of us just want the right content as easy and fast as possible. This content needs to be fair priced and honest.

Since peer to peer networks the relation between media and its customers became vulnerable, the owner and producer isn’t the only supplier anymore. When the price is exorbitant high or the customer is being bothered with strange right management solutions, he or she can and will get the desired somewhere else.

iTunes was the backbone of the iPod. Not just to present easy content to the buyers of an iPod but also being able to convert the distant mass of record companies into selling music online. It is not likely that iTunes will get the same control over video content.

Television has one big advantage to music and this is product placement. This almost obsolete mix of advertisement and content is impossible to break. The content is the advertising.

Volvo did a great job last year with its life on board project. And how about the impossible-to-open Zero Halliburton suitcase in the television series Lost.

The problem of product placement? People need to believe in what they see and product placement puts pressure on the credibility of a story and the intentions behind the events happening on screen. Another problem of sponsored content is measuring the results for advertisers when files are send into the world. And there is local regulation, not everywhere product placement is permitted by law.

Yesterday TiVo’s announced that it will make its service compatible with PSP’s and iPod’s. This looks a lot like the services Napster once provided. One place to find everything.

See also:
1) Harvard Offers Course Video Via iPod
2) Will entertainment content become more valuable as the methods of distribution multiply?
3) iPod DRM faces another reverse-engineering challenge