The Future of TV and Movies
I’ve been saying for awhile now that television as we know it today is on its way out. With major networks putting their shows online for free and on iTunes for $1.99, the Internet is the future of video distribution. The TV itself might not go away as we still need a screen to watch everything on, but I think traditional broadcasting and the big media moguls’ days are numbered.
There’s a few reasons why this will inevitably happen. One reason is because of the insanely hectic schedules that people have now. No one has the time to religiously watch shows during the standard time slots anymore. TiVo and On-Demand were baby steps towards what is the grand Internet video paradigm of “anything I want to watch, whenever I feel like it, without having to remember to record it.”
Another reason for the shift is because the Internet knows no bounds. Currently, there is 3 hours of primetime per night and only 5 major networks. There’s a time limitation on the amount of premium content that can be shown, which makes it very hard to get into those few spots as an artist, but also makes it so networks can charge huge amounts of money to advertise during those shows. As Terry Heaton said in a paper of his, “Why pay a $500 CPM for a television ad that estimates the thousand people when an online ad will honestly deliver those thousand people? It makes no sense.” A $500 CPM rate is unheard of in the online world (a $20 CPM rate is pretty good online), yet television shows garner huge dollars for untargeted audiences. That money is headed directly for the Internet once the business world realizes the power of online advertising, and it will be spread among a much wider range of content providers while being targeted specifically to the viewer of the show.
Another major benefit of the Internet is exposure. In the old model, even if you’re an amazing actor, director or cinematographer you still have to jump through hoops and might never be able to make something that people see. With the ability to create and post all the video you want online, it’s up to you to make sure people can see your creations instead of some suit with no creative talent at all. However, that begs the question of how does an aspiring artist market their work without millions of dollars behind it?
That is the real question, and it is currently being answered in a variety of ways. Creative marketing techniques are coming out of the woodwork by the creative people behind the works themselves. My favorite example of the new school of Internet marketing is a feature film put together by Arin Crumley and Susan Buice called Four Eyed Monsters. They made the film by putting $100,000 on their credit cards and posted the entire film on YouTube for anyone to view. However, they made a deal with Spout.com to receive $1 for every new user they created for Spout. So far they’ve made $35,443 from that revenue source. They also made it possible to download DRM-free, high quality versions of the film for $8, and you can also purchase extra materials as well. I threw down $8 for it because the first 20 minutes of it I watched on YouTube looked great, and I’m sure several others have out of the 724,198 people that have watched the YouTube version. Even if only 2% of those people purchased it, they’d make a profit just from that.
The technology is also driving the democratization of video. Miro, formerly known as Democracy Player, came out in its first public preview today and it looks amazing. It already has over 1,400 channels of video and all of it is free and created by independent filmmakers or organizations that support free video. It utilizes BitTorrent for downloads so there isn’t server congestion for popular videos. It even searches all the major video sharing services like YouTube and can save them to your computer. All I have to say is…
This is the beginning of the revolution.