BBC vs CBS
CBS is loving YouTube
and claims that the video network is helping build their TV viewership. So, downloading = more watching
right? Not so fast. A new ICM
survey done for the BBC suggests that 43% of Britons who watch video from the internet or on a mobile device at least once a week said they watched less normal TV as a result.
So, which is it?
In the survey, one in five people who watched online or mobile video at least once a week said they watched a lot less TV as a result. Another 23% said they watched a bit less, while just over half said their TV viewing was unchanged. Some 3% said online video inspired them to watch more TV.
Here's my take:TV viewership is in decline
: I don't think that the fact that the internet is eroding TV viewership is up for debate. It is pretty clear that internet use competes directly with other media for "share of attention." What is up for debate is what these numbers mean.Ask the right questions
: Of course people who watch more online video will watch less TV. There are only 24 hours in a day. But, what TV do those folks choose to watch? Are they influenced by what they've seen on the internet? Are they more likely to check out a show that they've seen/previewed online? Do they tell other people about what they've seen.Video networks create value
: Video platforms like YouTube and Revver work, and they drive viewership. Clips for shows work better than ads, and the social networking and viral distribution aspects only serve to amplify their effect. Look at the CBS numbers. Look at the buzz. It adds up.It is inevitable
: The worst thing networks could do at this point is bury their collective heads in the sand - like the music industry did - and watch their business slowly evaporate. For a while, it looked like that was happening. Today, with CBS's Innertube and YouTube efforts, the platforms launched by FOX, ABC, NBC, and numerous other efforts, I'm cautiously optimistic, at least in the US.It is all about control
: So much of what is happening in today's media landscape is about control. It started with the remote, was accentuated by the VCR, has caught fire with Tivo and now is exploding: Those who were watching are now creating.
Networks must keep some control of their content
: The streaming platforms being launched by the networks will be incredibly valuable to all involved, if kept under control. ABC lets folks watch Lost and other shows once they've been broadcast on TV, but you can't access the shows from outside the US. That's a good thing. A few Championship football games will be simulcast here in the UK in 2007. You can download a few free shows for your iPod. And so on. I've a lot more to say on this - and a ton of examples - but I just don't have time today.Networks must lose control of some of their content
: I think hackers represent a very marginal risk. Will some people find a way to hack and download the shows? Sure. Will a few of them turn up on some P2P networks or other places the networks would prefer not to see happening? Of course. Is it the end of the world? Hardly. It is almost a good thing. Call it digital hacker flattery or something. There is no shortage of examples of free content leading to massive popularity and resulting in sales. Learn to harness that power, and you win.
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