Saturday, 10 May 2008


This is the year that Google says that they are going to sort out YouTube - get it working commercially and evolve it. This is also the year that Apple is making a (second) challenge for the moving image as well through AppleTV - hoping to recreate its success in music with film and TV. It will take at least two years for the impact of these efforts to be felt within the the traditional TV and film industry. Of these the weaker of the two appears to be TV.

With AppleTV you can now watch podcasts, and Youtube in your living room, on a big TV screen whilst sat comfortably on the sofa. In the States you can now download films and TV shows. On AppleTV via YouTube, I've watched various podcasts, Korean breakdancing, a lecture on neuroscience on, and some of my favourite music videos. And there is now a real balance between user generated and professional content - but the line between the two is increasingly blurring.

Going forward I expect the heart to be eaten out of traditional TV as its business model moves towards a pay per click model - this is what Google excels in, and what it will bring to TV. Traditional TV will be confounded by this. Also YouTube will move from just hosting clips to full length productions. This will open up additional opportunities for content producers and also for commercial breaks (a great new advertising opportunity for Google).

But perhaps the biggest change is already here, which is that rather than having to sit through hours of rubbish traditional TV, I can jump from one piece of content I like to another piece of connected content I like. The network algorithm connects interrelated content for you in a way traditional TV has never done or could never have dreamed of. And so in the same way that I can connect with friends on Facebook I can now connect to networks of content. I thus no longer need traditional TV channels, and the importance of amateur and professional content producers increases - particularly those who can align in grassroots networks. TV content becomes a small world, and develops its own social graph. Add to AppleTV personalisation features such as saving data, and reviews and ratings and the world starts to change rapidly.

This is interesting - as content that was once 6 degrees of separation away from me comes in closer. Grassroots advocacy becomes more important than scheduling, as the videos most watched rather those placed prime time top the ratings. In this world not all viewers are the same, as the most contagious viewers - the influencers - count for more. The domino effect of all these changes is currently inconceivable, not only to the commercial structure of the industry, but to our socio-cultural fabric. When actual viewing and responding matters more, I suspect strange things will start to happen.


Anonymous said...

Your point has been reiterated in a recent New York Times article. DVRs, like AppleTV, threaten the way ads are sold. "In recognition of the growth of DVRs, many television networks" have, according to the NYT, "converted to a new ratings metric for buying and selling ad time that includes shows watched within three days of the broadcast." If shows watched via DVRs (or web and mobile streaming), can be accurately measured, then there's no reason why traditional TV firms won't be able to tweak the way they sell ads -- and sustain their revenue streams.

Anonymous said...

I like AppleTV as well, but I keep hearing from digital guys that TV is dead, when TV advertising revenues are going through the roof at the moment

Tony Effik said...

I didn't catch the NYT article, but it sounds like an interesting model. My only problem with this model is that it sounds experimental and peripheral to the core business of the TV Company. The big decisions will be around moving the whole company to this new world, and it’s not that the traditional TV companies won’t get it, but like the music business making the change will feel too cataclysmic culturally and financially for them to bear in the short-term.

Tim Noble said...

Great Blog.

Don't suppose you know where a boy can get hold of a marketing plan template at all do you?

Tony Effik said...

Hi Tim

The classic template is the Phillip Kotler one. Also worth checking with the Chartered Institute fo Marketing.

Not sure how they work in the current media landscape, but look out for a future blog. I'll try and tackle this issue.

Thanks for reading