I call myself an Internet TV producer and marketer. I tag posts about this field with this phrase. .
A couple of days ago I’ve realized that this is a grave mistake.
Every art form imitates its predecessors. The first narrative films were not a lot more than a play being captured in film. Only when creators realized the power of editing, films storytelling evolved to a separate art. First photographers orchestrated their shots that same way as painters. and so on and so forth.
Today, we have the ability to produce video in low cost and distribute it independently. So what do we do? we try to do TV shows, in a shorter format.
Look at most online video magazines such as Gigaom Show, Rocketboom, Webbalert, as well as online drama such as Something to be desired. Is there a real difference between these shows and regular TV, besides length and distribution? in other words – can we take, as is, an episode of Rocketboom, and see it on the TV screen without losing any element of the experience? My thought is – yes, we can. Can we do the same thing with a film? no, we can’t. Why? Because films in theaters have attributes that extend our suspension of disbelief, and give us a different experience. I believe that we all agree that it is not the same thing to watch 300 at home or in theaters.
So what are we doing basically? We are treating the Internet as a non regulated distribution system, that does not affect the content itself. It is only a transport layer, just like when I order a book I don’t care if it is delivered by car, plane, or ship – when I get it is still a book.
And that’s why we can call this type of work Internet TV. Another reason is that it is easier to explain other people what it is. This is just like TV but over the Internet. Yipi Kay Yay…
So what’s the big problem?
We promise something that we can’t deliver in two main aspects:
1. When we use the term Internet TV, we say that viewers can get the same user experience as in TV. But it is far from being true. Internet video content is still not as simple to consume as watching TV. It is a fact. when we say Internet TV, we create an expectation for simplicity that is simply not there.
2. When we promise Internet TV shows, viewers expect the same production value that TV shows have. we all know that we are far from it. Besides Prom Queen, I didn’t see any show that get to the same production level as regular TV. Again, we promise something we can’t deliver.
Other terms, other problems
Ah, ok, so we are Vloggers. Really? Are we just a blog in video? Does it mean that shows are partially personal, with ability to comment, etc? And does it really help to call it vlog, and start to explain what is a blog and then that it is in video? What about web video? Well, we are not only over the web. When I watch a show in Miro, it is not over the web in many aspects, especially when people perceive web as things that are accessible only via a browser. and I don’t even start talking about watching shows in a media center…
Why is it important?
People who know me, know that I hate useless debates. But this one is important in my opinion, in at least two aspects:
1. The way we define ourselves creates expectations from our viewers. We need to find a way to set the expectations between the sides
2. The way that we define ourselves set the boundaries of our creation. When I think about Internet TV I think about TV shows. This medium has a lot more to offer. We just need to find the way to utilize it. naming it affect our thought, and we don’t need to read 1984 to know that….
Open and honest – I don’t have any. I believe we need to
redefine define the medium and its boundaries. What is your opinion?
There is also a discussion on this topic in Yahoo videoblogging group, under the topic “Do we affect users’ expectation by the way we define ourselves?”