Wednesday's panel on the State of Video on the Internet will look at what's happening in the Boston area that is changing how we produce, watch, and pay for video. Just as the move from analog to digital broke up The Phone Company, hollowed out Eastman Kodak, and upended the music industry, the Digitization of All Media promises great changes in video as well.
As happened in many industries, television first adopted digital technology deep inside its infrastructure, in the form of time-base correctors, titlers, and editing suites. As Moore's law worked its inexorable reduction in cost, the digital frontier moved out to the edge to encompass camcorders, DVD players, and televisions themselves. Along a parallel path, video became another data type sent over the Internet and more recently wireless networks, offering the potential to watch whatever one wants, anytime, anywhere.
Despite the fact that almost all video these days is created, transported and stored as bits, the worlds of broadcast television and the Internet are still largely separate, although this separation appears to be more arbitrary with each passing day. The most recent example is the dust-up between Hulu and Boxee. Hulu, a joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corporation, operates a Web site that lets people watch current television shows in a Web browser. Boxee is an open-source platform that can be loaded on devices such as Apple TV to allow Hulu content to be played on a conventional television. Apparently the companies that provide content to Hulu want to keep those two domains separate, and prevailed upon Hulu to block Boxee's access. The expected measure/countemeasure/counter-countermeasure battle rages on, but the content providers are fighting evolution. One wonders if they learned anything from the lost opportunity when the record labels refused to negotiate a business deal to provide content to Napster and sued them out of business, only to see BitTorrent taked their place.
In the meantime, people are watching more video than ever. According to the most recent Nielsen Three Screen Report, watching video on the Internet and mobile devices is increasing as well. Most interesting is that teens are the heaviest users of mobile video, young adults the most likely to watch on the Internet, and older people to watch conventional TV.
The advertising dollars are also shifting from conventional TV, radio, and print to Internet and mobile. According to BIA Advisory Services, local spending is rising for interactive advertising, although not as fast as conventional advertising is falling. This trend may affect local news coverage in much the same way that the shift in print advertising to interactive has affected the newspaper business.
We will explore these issues and more on Wednesday. You can register here. (Free)