Today I'm picking up and exploring a topic I've touched on before; what will be the shape of TV Networks in years to come.
Now I'm not pretending to have the answers, I'm just looking around and seeing what might happen. I do believe that wherever we'll be in 10 years, it'll be a mixed bag of options with the definition of a TV Network stretched out - maybe we should really start talking about 'TV Networks' as brands rather than platforms.
So today we have the likes of ITV, BBC, NBC, Fox which are mainly on TV, but also have some life as 'web TV networks' too. I still expect these kind of players to be the big boys for the foreseeable future. But just as happened with Fox in the States, or Sky in the UK, there is a distinct likelihood that a new player will come along that is so significant it'll shift the entire industry landscape.
Moving forward, I'm writing today for 2 reasons. One was the official Viral Charts number 1 video which had Eric Schmidt of Google describing what is web 3.0. In (mediaguardian style) summary, he's saying that "that Web 3.0 will be seen as applications.... will run on any device - PC or mobile, applications are fast and customisable, distributed virally through social networks and email..."
Now we've also just had the announcement Skype has added a new bit of functionality, video sharing via its phone software. Today you can share the kind of cute clips with your friends you'd expect to see on You Tube. Now when you factor in that the original 'Team Skype' (who still have an involvement with that business) are now the brains behind Joost, the idea of sharing a new episode of your favourite TV show with a friend, and that show getting 'ratings' by being virally spread through friends of friends via social networks doesn't seem like such a big step at all.
I've already talked about 'Is Bebo the new ITV...' on previous posts, following on from their première of the online interactive drama mystery 'Kate Modern. We have organisations like Vuguru backed by Disney man Michael Eisner specialising in web only video content. We have all the video entertainment platforms like Joost, iPlayer and Veoh garnering content and experience with longform TV shows on the web. We have the huge viral potential of social networks like Facebook and Bebo; I doubt there is one person on the open platform of facebook who hasn't had an attempt of a Vampire bite, or had a cream pie thrown at them.
All in all, my conclusion. Current TV networks will remain big, if not as big production companies like Endemol with big brands will be even bigger than they are today.
The likes of Joost and Babelgum will bubble and grow slowly for a few more years. As I've mentioned before, the biggest stumbling block I see with these web TV services is that most people won't want to download and 'run' potentially several of these kinds of programs from everyone like the BBC and Channel 4 through to several new players, each with a few shows that you fancy watching.
However, bearing other Microsoft developments in mind, I see the equivalent of your cable box or TV becoming your personalised iGoogle home page, or more likely your facebook, Bebo or even My Space profile, each having 'TV widgets' you've chosen, or the web company has chosen to allow on its network. These widgets will in effect be Joost, iPlayer or Babelgum - the complex viewing and library programs today run as stand alone applications.
They'll email you with suggestions of shows, your friends will tell you about shows they've loved - and you can either watch the whole show on the service (with adverts), or be shown a clip and be sent off to the 'broadcasters' station or application.
Five years from now we may have production company Vuguru premiering the first web only 'TV format' that has 50 Million 'views'. In 2017 the big hit show, the 'Heroes' of its year may well be premiered on Facebook, get 100 Million views globally in a week, with that audience returning as each weekly episodes are first 'aired'... and don't even get me started on non-linear formats and shows.
Happy summer weekend my readers.