It's official - crappy reality TV has been replaced by reality, captured on your Flip™ brand camera!
You tube held their first ever awards show - YouTube Live, complete with Discovery Channel stars, pop (and anti-pop) music, ukuleles, breakdancers, vulgarity and lots more, all in a familiar MTV Music Awards-style format.
Now that YouTube has peaked, it's time for some of the verticals and startups to try again. A few years ago, all you heard about was Yet Another Video Site popping up every 5 minutes. Now I fully expect cable networks, magazines, radio stations, and companies none of us have heard of to adopt similar tactics -- most will fail, but a few will succeed, and we can stop subscribing to cable TV, because crappy entertainment, gossip, infinite programming and cheesey awards shows have now arrived on the internet too!
I expect also (more like hope) that there will be lots of directory services and lowest-common-denominator channels showing up, like the TV Guide of the web, the Home Shopping Channel (I guess SlickDeals and the like have gotten us part-way there), the religious video, and what have you.
One reason why we don't see more cable networks rushing to put all their content online in its full form is the on-demand nature of it all. If you want to watch the Sopranos, you're forced to watch what comes on a few minutes before and after, perhaps the entire show, and for HBO, especially the commercials for their other original programming and the movies of the month. This was an important way to hook the viewer into coming back.
However, DVRs and Tivo have killed that for people who don't care about watching it in real time, so why do prime-time schedules even matter any longer? Everyone made a big deal about Barack Obama breaking in to the World Series for his 30 minute commercial, but weren't people watching it on Tivo a few hours later, or the next day?
In the future, there will not be any possible way to grab the attention of that many people at once, unless we have another 9/11 (knock on wood). I don't even have to watch the Superbowl any longer, I can catch all the commercials on YouTube the next morning.
What do we do now?
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