I am in a profession where I am always on the look out for that magic point in time, a place where in history we can say there is or was no turning back. I am referring of course to the switch from broadcast domination to global on-demand network. Quite a few people will say as soon as two computers were connected together that was the beginning of the end, some will say when a few TV programmes were shared freely, some will say when TV started to appear on mobiles. But all of that is technical and media centric. (As an updated tangent – perhaps it is the fact that advertisers are for the first time since 2001 in the US are reducing their spend on TV! Thanks Reinvent TV) A couple of factoids and news items that appeared over the past few days that have just sunk in and show that the switch is going to be people and content creator driven (the gadgets and delivery mechanisms are secondary – even if the roads are built, people have to decide it is worthwhile using them).
Fact 1: People in the UK are now spending more time online than they do watching TV – according to Google research. Report Techwhack

Their study showed that British Internet users spend an average of 164 minutes online daily. This comes to around spending 41 days on the internet in 1 year.
In comparison, they spend just around 148 minutes watching television. Men as expected spend more time compared to women. Google said that the men spent on average 172 minutes on the web daily, and women 156 minutes.

Fact 2: The two major broadcasters have announced the start of continuous streamed TV delivered over the internet. Times Article

From the Times article my old colleague Tom Loosemore:

Tom Loosemore, the BBC’s head of strategic innovation, said: “We want to offer live telly eventually and so this is clearly one area where we’re trying to help the UK internet become ready for that
“That’s the overriding objective – to see whether multicasting is a route where the internet can support live telly, because for a lot of people the internet is a really major media environment now.”
The BBC has already trialled an integrated media player that gave users access to seven days’ worth of archived programmes.

The strategy here by the most well financed content ‘manager’ in the world is too cover all bases. If people are spending most of their time now on the PC then make it easy for them to stream live TV to that device. Move to where the eyeballs are. Easy to do for a major force like the BBC, whose remit of course is to do exactly that. Not as easy for niche broadcasters of course who will be relugated I suspect to getting lost in a billion on-demand items in a few years time – unheard in the noise of a million content creators, mostly ‘people content’ – but there again doesn’t that mean after a few years of settling down the aggregator brands will still be dominant? Or will it be those who control the search and personalization 😉 That old chesnut.

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2006