Unbundled content is the road to the future

I want to tie a couple of stories together for you today, in hopes that we all can get a glimpse of the future together.

Nielsen is reporting (via MediaDailyNews) that July viewer ratings for adults 18 and older were considerably higher for ad-supported cable networks in using local people meter technology versus that of written diaries in July 2004. The controversial new technology is used in the top six markets.

Nielsen says the difference is in the increased accuracy of the meters, and I’m sure the cable nets are shouting for joy. The new meters show nice numbers for specific cable shows, like USA’s “The 4400” and TNT’s “Into the West.”

It’s significant to note that people jump all over the place these days to find programming, and that the sources of these programs are not only getting better every year but they are many and varied. Digital listings help us find what we’re looking for these days, and so what we have with TV is more Media 2.0 than Media 1.0. In other words, we rebundle the various bits of programming that these channels offer in a way that suits us. That’s Media 2.0, and the remote helps us do that.

Now, let’s look at another interesting piece of news. Lost Remote is reporting on new “ridiculously cool things” that the new TiVo Series2™ box will provide when connected to a user’s home network.

“Including getting select TV shows and programming via broadband to your TiVo box… [and] games, streaming radio, podcasting, and more.”
So TiVo will now bring broadband content to your TV set in addition to cable TV. This is the same option that will be provided by Microsoft through their new XBox360 later this year, only it will include a gaming console and the most powerful home computer to come down the pike.

The general drift is obvious.

1. We’re already knowledgeable about finding what we want in a seemingly infinite entertainment and information universe provided by cable TV.

2. Broadband TV is about to enter the living room on a technologically level playing field.

3. Any business that currently functions in an aggregated distribution fashion is in trouble, because technology is moving us to a place where we won’t need middle-men anymore. If I can get “The 4400” directly from the studio via broadband “on demand,” why will I need USA? If the studio can feed “Spiderman10” directly to my home theater, why will I need to go to the cineplex? This will be a source of conflict in the entertainment industry in the years ahead.

4. Unique, creative, and extremely inexpensive-to-produce broadband shows will compete with the big boys for eyeballs, and I believe this will also occur at the local level.

5. New business opportunities will exist in terms of providing filtering mechanisms and aggregators for people at home. We have all this now with the blogosphere, which is another reason I think it’s important for local media to get involved with their blogging communities.

This won’t happen overnight, but there’s clearly a pattern for those with eyes to see. Unbundle, folks. It’s the road to success in the future.

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