Friday, September 08, 2006

Internet vs. "Traditional" Media

Jerry Brito argues today over at TCS Daily that the Internet will cause the demise of "traditional" or mainstream media, citing social, technical, and economic forces:

Watching television is a passive activity. To be entertained, you don't have to do much more than turn on the TV and surf until something good comes up. If there were no channels to surf, only thousands of programs you could call up on demand, how would you know what to watch? Even if shows are available for download online, consumers appreciate the effortlessness of a boob tube with its preset package of a couple hundred channels.
This is quickly becoming VERY untrue. No one likes to channel surf - mainly because there is no filter to separate good content from the bad. Only word-of-mouth can help people decide what to watch. On the Internet, Netflix- and Digg-like recommendations will bring new programs to viewers' attention. Add time-shifting with TiVo to the mix, and channel surfing will go the way of the cassette tape.
Delivering high-quality live video over the public Internet to massive audiences is not yet technically feasible and may never be given the architecture of the Net. Moreover, Internet video streaming does not compare to the clarity and quality of a traditional television picture and it is also is very expensive to originate.
That's very shortsighted, especially given rapidly expanding fiber-optic networks across the world. Soon, there will be no difference between content delivered over traditional cable and IP - in fact, IP options will be able to provide much more HD content than what digital cable can provide today.

At some point, there are only so many hours a day that media and entertainment can fulfill. And if Internet-enabled options are more attractive than traditional television, it's going to take away from mainstream TV time.

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