Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"New" then "Next" then "Integrated" Media

Proponents of the digital age first began calling their creations "New Media". And when it had been around for a while they opted for "Next Media".

Cause we all know it's going to be the next big thing.

Never mind that government funders still insist that it's "Experimental", nor that everyone is still struggling to figure out how to make it stand out or even stand on its own, not to mention devise a model that will ensure it can pay for itself let alone make a profit -- it's going to be the next big thing.

Trust us on this…

This week, the digital gurus and shamans and former stars of TED were at Banff and BAFTA spinning visions of the future and hopefully inspiring those who will be at the forefront of a new digital age of creativity when it finally arrives.

Some of us have been listening to these promises for a decade.

Meanwhile, somebody at Google decided to stop waiting and just put it all back on television.

Google TV will roll out in the fall. More likely than not it will be initially banned (though just euphemistically labeled "unavailable") in Canada.

Yet, its arrival signals that those working in the digital sphere may need to further rethink the manner and make-up of their content.

And those of us used to the way things have been done in television might have to do the same.

Google TV will seamlessly integrate analog (television) media with the digital offerings of the internet. You'll be able to surf channels and websites at the same time, clicking from the CBC to Youtube to Sportsnet to Facebook with the same ease you used to rotate a 12 channel tuning knob.

But you'll be able to do much more than that.

You could Twitter your reactions to a news story as it plays out live while downloading one movie and DVRing another. And all that will be possible without simultaneously using a laptop, iPad or smart phone.

If you get bored by the football game NBC is broadcasting, you can switch over to play the Google Android version of John Madden 2010, perhaps with the same two teams, even implementing the game plan the real life coaches couldn't get to work.

Read email during commercial breaks. Open eBay and check the price on that cute T-shirt Sheldon is wearing on "The Big Bang Theory".

Maybe you want to watch the photo stream Mom is posting from Bora Bora while listening to the score of "South Pacific" on Blip.

Perhaps you just want to read a book or magazine from a digital library.

All possible without turning on -- or even owning a computer. All you need is the TV you already have and a Google box.

The arrival of Google TV suggests that couch potatoes, web heads and even people who don't know Google has become a verb can safely remain on the couch without missing a damn thing those crazy kids are doing in the basement with a digicam and a cross-platform.

It makes you wonder how many people will feel they really need to own an iPad, or pay for streaming video on their smart phone…

Or subscribe to ALL those specialty channels.

Is there anything on "TVLand" that isn't somewhere online?

But more than that. If you can produce a season of "The Guild" for less than 6 figures and it's just as funny as "Two and a Half Men" which is edging into 8 figure territory per episode --- are we going to see a lot of downsizing in TV budgets?

Of course we are. Along with further audience fragmentation, inattention and disinterest in sitting through commercials.

Will people watch the same Charmin ad run for the umpteenth time on Global or use that 30 seconds to kill a troll in "World of Warcraft"?

And that means…

At what point does a show creator begin to wonder if the monetary difference between being on Fox versus Funny or Die is worth the aggravation that comes along with making a bunch of studio suits and network executives happy?

What happens when some amateur model on Myspace starts trending larger than the sexy starlet a studio has spent a fortune grooming?

Will there be a time when milking a Farmville cow is more enjoyable than "Little Mosque on the Prairie".

Sorry, bad example.

Suffice to say that the disruptions we've seen in our industry may be far from over. And whatever models the Next Media creators have been tweaking might need another adjustment to take the new hardware into consideration.

Luckily, we've still got 3 months before this turns up in people's living rooms…

That should be enough time to come up with a strategy, shouldn't it?


deborah Nathan said...

It's what I've been waiting for ever since I read my first PK Dick novel. Wonder how long it'll be banned in Canada?

Anonymous said...

Well, its taken awhile, but my prediction of about 20 years ago that one would be able to recall a line of dialog from a TV show or movie, search for it, then watch it, is coming around. Ok, this doesn't account for those pesky "rights" issues, bureaucracy, etc. I think this is what is holding up those flying cars, actually.

Oh, and I also kinda invented the mp3 player back in high school when, daydreaming in German class and staring at my pencil, I thought "wouldn't it be great if music could come out of something this size" ("portable", back then, was a boom box that played cassettes). I have to start writing these things down.

Deborah: I don't think the question is "how long it'll be banned in Canada". Rather, "how long before its hacked". My prediction will be days, if not hours.