Online TV – Facts, Links and Survey

Instead of studying for my upcoming finals (especially that pesky stats class….), I figured blogging would be much better.

Topic today is Online Video, which I think, as a burgeoning industry, is at a fascinating intersection of consumer demand and owner monetization. I’ve done a couple projects on it at school this year, and I just read two great articles that made me think some more. (Note: by online video, I’m referring to studio-owned digital streaming video, like you’ll find on Hulu or ABC.com- I’m not talking about user-generated content on YouTube which is another horse entirely.)

To kick-start the conversation, I wrote a quick survey I’d love your response on- just click on the link and fill it out: Online Video Survey

Now that you’ve filled it out, there are two articles I found really interesting. One was on Lifehacker; the other was written by DeVer Warner, another Darden student, on his blog.

1. What Would Make “Virtual Cable” Work: DeVer has a really insightful blog post on making virtual cable a viable alternative to traditional cable TV.  Two thought-provoking extracts below but definitely read the full post:

  • Comparable subscription charges: “The key to making this content available may be comparable subscription fees for cable channels as well as subscription fees for broadcast content.  I believe another way to juice the deal would be to show a minimal amount of ads, sold via the provider’s own sales force, with a compelling revenue share for the biggest content owners.”
  • Real-time as well as on-demand programming: “Users must be able to experience the programming that is best viewed live – sports, reality, awards shows, etc. – live (more on this in another post here).  If that portion of the cable experience can be replicated, a virtual cable service can begin to differentiate itself by making everything on demand as well.”

2. Going Without Cable: Lifehacker’s post is a comprehensive guide to going fully online for TV; no more cable. The post covers places to find content (studio owned websites, aggregate websites like Hulu (partially owned by the studios), subscription sites like Netflix, pay-per-show models like iTunes, etc.) as well as the delays to view shows, the pricing associated with these models, etc.  This is interesting because we are seeing TV-watchers go fully online now. These aren’t people who don’t watch TV, so they don’t mind only tuning in once a month to see an interesting show online. These are people who watch streaming digital studio content on a daily basis. The latest comScope report showed the enormous rise in “minutes watched” on Hulu since last year, so despite lacking the changes DeVer mentions that would make online TV truly competitive, it continues to grow.

No conclusions in this post- just wanted to bring some of the interesting discussions up. I’ll continue this tomorrow with some analysis.

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