Internet TV is one of the most important development in the world of television and media in the last 10 years. The ability of creators to shoot and distribute shows in a fraction of the budget needed just 5 years ago is certainly a disruptive force in the industry.
However, this market is still a niche, with low viewership compared to traditional media. This is a double edged sword – on the one hand there are a lot of opportunities to capture the market, but on the other hand, without getting money flowing to this industry, most of the players won’t survive – and we will miss this opportunity for good.
So why aren’t (more) people watching?
When talking with close circle of friends and colleagues, I got answers that can be divided to two main categories:
1. It is not simple enough to watch Internet TV
2. There is nothing to see
Drilling down the first category, I’ve encountered questions such as: what the hell is RSS, what is the difference between channel and a show, what are all those buzz words (UGC for example), and why can’t people just open their TV and watch this content like the rest of the shows out there. Another important issue raised was that there are many shows, and viewers don’t really know which ones are good.
Companies are trying to answer some of these questions – content discovery and AppleTV are good examples. However, on the semantic side, we are doing a very bad service to our potential viewers. I am developing a longer post about this topic, that I hope to publish soon.
The second category is much more complex in my opinion. While we can find common language rather easily, and companies are developing technologies and approaches for content discovery, content development poses a major obstacle to medium adoption. What is our target audience? We have a lot of shows targeting technology geeks and cooking lovers. The reason is simple – geeks are open to watch quality content in their subject matter in new mediums, and cooking shows answer two important needs -they have a clear market, and can be produced in relatively low budget. But what about approaching other segments? When will we have Sopranos, Prison Break, and Heroes level of shows, in Internet TV only production? Will this content increase online viewership?
In other words, what are the main barriers of Internet TV adoption? Technology, clear language or the content itself?
Tomorrow, 12th of June, in Podcamp Europe, I am doing a brainstorming session discussing all these questions, at 1500. If you are in Stockholm, drop by (free entrance) to voice your opinion. Feel free to leave comments on this post, and help us enrich the discussion.
UPDATE – see discussion results here.