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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

TV: Publish or Perish

To their credit, the television networks have relatively quickly moved from selling programs for $2 a pop to showcasing some of their episodes for free and taking in advertising dollars. This is an important small step that misses the bigger opportunity that was indicated by the way the online music market grew.

As the YouTube and P2P numbers show, many thousand if not millions of people are watching video content online, and much of their viewing is either clips or full episodes of shows. While ComedyCentral is the most aggressive in making highlights of its shows available online, the rest of the networks mostly leave it to the YouTubers to (illegally) post and share highlights from their favorite programs.

For example, Sunday's Emmy program featured a few funny bits that NBC is not making available online, but thousands of people have watched via YouTube. That's ad revenue gone out the window, and NBC (which has had more people watching SNL skits online than live) should know better.

The parallel with the music download industry is obvious. People started burning and sharing music online, but the music industry waited several years before offering their content for download online, and they have yet to recover. Similarly the technology to record and post video clips couldn't be easier, and it will continue no matter how many times the network semaphores wave the copyright flag.

Soooo, the networks should take the best of their content and post it online and include advertising. If fans of The Office knew that clips of the show that they wanted to show their friends were always going to be on NBC.com, they wouldn't bother with searching YouTube. The horse is out of the barn, and advertising supported clips is the only way to profit from it.

Or, they can partner with Blinkx, which has the largest stable of licensed video content and is partnering with used-to-be search engine Lycos.

By Jason Dowdell at 02:36 PM | Comments (2)


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