Sunday, June 21, 2009

LAZY SUNDAY # 76: iPredict

This week I watched three different television news services, CNN, CTV and Newsworld all run segments in which the anchors were awed by the Twitter–ed uprising in Iran. They marvelled at the ability of a repressed population to get around the brutally restrictive practices of their government to share information and get their stories out to the rest of the world, achieving what these organizations could not.

The parallels to Canadian television were boggling.

And while I was struck by the fact that none of these guys were spending their airtime on the real news happening in Iran or even trying to overcome the Twitter advantage in covering it, I also realized that they were missing the next big story.

We don’t need TV news anymore.

And that’s not because most of it has devolved into predictably argumentative talking heads and watching airliners that aren’t really in trouble make uneventful landings at foreign airports.

Whether your “Smartphone” is an iPhone, a Blackberry or Pre, you can now install Apps that let you read newspapers, listen to radio from all over the planet, get video directly from Youtube or Reuters and receive Tweets on where the next rally against oppression is happening.

I’ve got an App called Feeds on my iTouch that allows me to read every blog, news or sports website I follow pretty much wherever I plop my butt of an afternoon to get a cup of coffee.

I don’t need to wait for the top of the hour, the 20-20 updates or try to hang in for any breaking “news at eleven”. I get what I want where and when I want it.

And I get it on the same device that gives me traffic reports for the specific section of road I’m driving, warnings on where the speed traps are and maps that pinpoint the best local pizzeria.

That little device sits unobtrusively on my desk, providing music when I write, tracking for something I’ve shipped, games I can play while I’m on hold or talking to somebody boring and that beeps when I’m supposed to be leaving for an appointment or so I can get out of that boring conversation.

I can’t remember the last time the TV in my office was even on for any other reason except watching dailies.

Over the past month, Canadians have been deluged with pleas to save local television as networks bartered with regulators over how much local news they’re prepared to provide where and when.

But maybe that’s all just so much ancient history. Maybe we’re past needing our television networks to even attempt providing the news. More and more it seems that be the story local or of international importance they can’t do it justice anyway.

Maybe we should just let them concentrate on saving themselves by providing the series, movies and specialty shows that apparently make them all of their money and continue delivering it to those large stationary boxes in the corner of the living room.

But then…

I can already download most of the shows they broadcast and all of the movies they won’t be able to show for up to a couple of years to my mobile devices and zap them to the TV from there.

Major League Baseball even has a new App that will bring me live television broadcasts direct from any of their ballparks.


Maybe we don’t need TV networks anymore.

And why should I have to purchase bundles and search around for their channel or even access their online portal for content when I can just Google “Bill Cunningham” press a link and download his latest from iTunes, Netflix, Amazon or maybe directly from him?

And if we don’t need TV networks anymore. Maybe we don’t need cable companies either.

Jim Shaw, maybe you ought to be nicer to those Superchannel guys. They could be right behind you in the line to get into Alberta’s next job fair.

While I know TV isn’t going anywhere for a while, this week’s events have made it clear it’s stale date is being rapidly pushed closer.

And all the rhetoric of needing to “monetize” the internet and mobile services before they become a competitive system that can employ us creative types sounds more hollow each time a new App is created to deliver something else to that smartphone.

I’m predicting that in the future you won’t pay for a specific film or web offering, you’ll simply pay for the dedicated App that allows you to view it.


I just successfully monetized the internet.

Excuse me while I set up a bank account in the Caymans to handle the royalties you all owe me.

But seriously. Can you make a profit at 99 cents a movie purchase? Why not? If your potential audience is everybody in the world with a smartphone and there are no distributors and exhibitors taking 60% off the top, trust me, that system’s making money for us creatives.

Think about it.

Because the guys below are going to become very wealthy doing just that.

And pray for those people Twittering from Iran.

And enjoy your Sunday. 

1 comment:

Cunningham said...

Thanks, 'Dad.'

After reading this from Google Reader, which does the searching for me, I really have to say I enjoy living in this future. It's far more cost-effective for both sides of the equation.

Now excuse me, I have to go collaborate (via the web, natch!) with some of my writing partners.

Happy Father's Day!

PS. I'll get to work on that New Pulp Media app.