Why Web TV?

My boss asked me to write some blurb on Web TV. Which I did. Turned out I was answering completely the wrong question, but I kinda liked it anyway, so here it is.


Ask a teenager what they think of when they hear the word “video”, and you’re more likely to hear about MySpace and YouTube than Eastenders. Video is fast becoming Web TV, and conversation about the web is becoming a conversation about video. Convergence is too small a word. This is an earthquake.Think of what happened to the music industry when file sharing hit. Think of what’s happening to telecoms now that VOIP is hitting. Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Nothing you know is right
The technology, the business and the users are moving so fast, that keeping up is a fulltime job. Nightmare or opportunity? Well, US startups in the Web TV space have raised an average of $1.96m VC funding per day in the last fifteen months. As Alan Kay put it “the only way to predict the future is to invent it”.

Fallacy #1: Content is king
We’d like to think that users will go for quality when they choose what to watch. Yet today half of the top ten most watched videos on YouTube are amateur: people lipsynching to songs, babies laughing, a guy playing a guitar. A fad, or something we’d rather not face up to? Either way, a challenge to communicators.

Fallacy #2: Our people are here to work
Of course they are, but if your people are listening to podcasts, sending video messages, reading blogs and checking their Facebook karma on their way to work – and they are, believe me – can you really expect them to pay attention to a monthly chief exec email and a talking head videocast once they get there?

Fallacy #3: All video commissioning comes via me
Chances are that you, right now, have a video camera in your pocket and editing software on your computer. What’s stopping you make a video today? Well, if your employer is the one stopping you, and you make your video outside of work, then the best of your energy, engagement and talent is going elsewhere. Which seems like a waste.

Fallacy #4: Our network can’t take it
Sure it can. You just need to be a little more imaginative about how you use hardware, software and content. One size doesn’t fit all, true, but everyone has a right size. Give it them.

Fallacy #5: Our employees wouldn’t get it
Give them a chance to surprise you. They will.

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