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The Cody Blog: CW on RM: This Revolution Will Be Televised

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

CW on RM: This Revolution Will Be Televised

This Revolution Will Be Televised

09/12/2006 12:48 PM

Lost in the hubbub about Apple's upcoming announcement, which will almost certainly include the availability of downloadable movies at the iTunes store, is this press release that hit my inbox this morning:

"Blip.tv today announced it is bringing its best user-generated online video to the television through a partnership with Internet video-on-demand service Akimbo. User-generated content is quickly moving from the computer to the TV screen, and blip.tv is leading the way."

You see, as I've been writing for the past few years -- and really laid out in this column -- the video content business is being completely turned on its head by two facts. First, there is no longer a capital-intensive barrier to creating content. Second, distributing content is becoming entirely free.

That's exactly what this deal between Blip.tv and Akimbo make reality: the distribution channels to putting end-user video content on people's home televisions. Slowly, to be sure, it is happening. And that is as revolutionary a development to the entrenched media business models as any change the Internet has brought in the past 10 years.

The major content creators (read: Hollywood studios) have had a symbiotic relationship with the networks that push their content over the "channels" that you get on your TV. They charge the end user a sickening amount per minute of watchable TV by bundling hours of unwatchable crap with hundreds of unwatchable channels.

Just as the music label and distribution model has been ruined by the unbundling of songs from entire albums, the TV model is facing the writing on the wall. The content creators and content distributors have made hundreds of billions of dollars using these models since the first TV show was broadcast in 1941. Uh-oh.

In the next few years, we're going to see successful "television" series made by "users" who will create entirely new paradigms of programming. You might call YouTube.com's Lonelygirl15, which James wrote about in his must-read "Blog Watch" yesterday, the first shot across the bow in this new shift. This is rather ironic, given the recent reports that she is a creation of Hollywood's big Creative Artists' Agency. (Full disclosure: I have affiliations with them.)

When these series get legs -- and they will -- they'll sometimes be picked up by the major studios and/or outlet channels. And other times, often by the creator's own choice in order to stay outside of the "system," they'll be distributed by companies like Akimbo.

While Apple's rightly going to focus on Hollywood content in its announcements today, it too will eventually become a distributor of user-generated content. Google will also benefit from this coming trend. So will others.

The Hollywood content owners and creators will continue to benefit from the explosion of their addressable market, as more and more of the world's population comes online and new outlets for their content continue to explode.

Who will suffer? The guys who own the pipes that have centrally controlled what content they push on their customers. They can't stop the revolution, which is a term I've trademarked exactly because they can't. CBS, Viacom, even the Fox assets inside of my new News Corp. purchase -- they are on the wrong side of this slowly but surely coming paradigm shift.


Blogger Hector & Barrie said...

Dude it sounds like a revolution is about to begin! Cant wait "viva la user created content"

9/12/2006 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger Hector & Barrie said...

Cody, this was my dream since like a year ago.
creating an online market-place that would serve as a platform for a variety of independent artists. Musicians, filmmakers, visual artists, designers, and writers would be able to showcase and sell their work. Dont post it on your blog it was for you to read lol. You can email me at guerra.hector@gmail.com so you can tell me Im either dead wrong or I stumbled uppon something cool (my wife thinks the idea sucks)

9/12/2006 08:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Jim Bergsten said...

OK. Now that I've calmed down a bit...

Look. The point of this "revolution" is not to deliver content, it's to RESTRICT it. You won't be buying a movie, you will be renting it under increasingly restrictive terms. If iTV has any innovation at all, it will be a foolproof way to count the physical viewers so they can each be charged.

And I'll only broach the subject of provider "content editing" (remove that pesky politically incorrect content), and insertion of innumerable "commercials."

I also think this "equal access for everybody" is illusory -- some content is just going to get more attnention than others, laregly based on economics. Hey, I write and perform too, I sure wish it were otherwise.

If this new utopia allowed you to watch anything ever recorded any time you want, in its original form and resolution (regardless of price), I'd be all for it.

In our present culture, it ain't gonna happen. Sorry.

Got myself all churned up again.

9/13/2006 01:09:00 PM  

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