Sunday, January 11, 2009

Is the future of tv online?

This is something I found myself thinking the other day. Here's a few reasons why on-demand is certainly in more demand.

BBC iPlayer was launched in December 2007. The target audience for this is 16 - 34 year olds. In it's first 12 months since launch, the BBC got a total of 271 million requests to view programmes through iPlayer. They got 41 million alone last December. And there's no reason to think the iPlayer won't grow even more. The BBC just introduced downloading for Mac and Linux users, as well as a special version for CBBC. And iPlayer was the number one fastest rising search term in the UK according to Google.

Next is Sky Player. Sky Player lets users watch all Sky tv programmes on their laptop or PC. Sky recently signed a deal with the BBC and Channel 4 so that it can shows some of their programmes. And it doesn't matter if you're a current Sky customer or not. Because you can take out a subscription package just for Sky Player. So you can get all the benefits of Sky tv on your laptop or PC. And if you are a current customer and sign up to Sky Player, you can get the very same package you have on your tv.

Social networks are also getting in on the act and MySpace has been the first to get involved. Later this year MySpace will be available through tv sets on the new tv application framework called the Widget Channel. This channel is co-developed by Intel and Yahoo. The Widget Channel will be available on internet-enabled tvs. Samsung is launching it's own range of these tvs in spring. This is part of the partnership they launched with Yahoo earlier this month.

MySpace users will be able to receive friend updates, read and reply to messages, receive friend requests, publish status and mood updates, see updates from friends and browse profiles and photosall all through their tv.

I think this is true convergence. A one stop shop that merges tv and online worlds. I wonder how far behind fully functional web browsing on tv is? Will broadcasters look at the possibility of launching tv shows online at the same time they're being released on tv? I heard rumours FOX was looking at launching tv shows on their YouTube channel.

Overall, , I can't these developments ever replacing traditional tv. But it certainly opens up a whole new world of choice and possibilities. And it's certainly exciting.

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