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March 17, 2004
Alex Ben Block of TelevisionWeek has an interesting article on television in the era of TiVo (Push Comes to Pull). He clearly recognizes that television is switching from a form of "push" media to "pull" media:
From the dawn of modern broadcasting until today, television has been a push technology. That means a network aggregates content and then markets it. It in essence "pushes" programming through a pipeline to the consumer, who then chooses where to spend time and money.
....Instead of programs being pushed to consumers through scheduling, advertising and promotion, the new order is to have programs "pulled" out when the consumer is ready.
Block's analysis is lacking, however, in what "pull" media really means. For example, though he acknowledges that consumers will "pull" the media they desire, he still believes that distributors will retain the most clout:
Another problem is how to make it easy for consumers to sort through thousands of program offerings. It seems clear that at least in the early years, there will be no single method. There will be video-on-demand sold one show at a time, and subscription packages that offer unlimited VOD selections. There will be "free" VOD, which will include teasers for paid shows, extended commercials and brand builders like a gardening show from the Home & Garden channel.
No mention whatsoever of consumer-based collaborative filtering. Personally, I record for later viewing what my friends, family and trusted reviewers recommend. Push your VOD all you want - it won't be terribly important to me, unless recommended to me by people I trust. Moreover, unless something is truly compelling, I'm going to skip the ala carte menu and go for an all you can eat option.
He keeps talking "pull" but I keep hearing "push":
That is where metadata becomes important. It is a crucial source of intelligence for marketers in what is called the "last mile display," the final step before the consumer makes a choice. It becomes the code that determines how and where the program info is displayed (by title, brand, genre, affinity to other programs), the pricing, the spin of the synopsis (toward specific groups or interests), and what is displayed on the program guide.
If television truly becomes "pull" what are the marketers doing there puching pricing, spin, etc.? Where are my fellow consumers providing their views so I can make an informed decision?
What also of allowing consumer-created content into this network of "pull"? No mention whatsoever. In time, television's pull is going to be severely limited if much of the innovative video content available on the web isn't integrated nicely into the distribution of standard broadcasting fare.
Interesting view of the future of television, but give me a broadcatching feed anyday.
via JD Lasica
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