Built-in Chat for Online TV Gains Popularity But Some Still Skeptical of Online Video

Tech News Web 2.0

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) has no less than two articles out today on Internet video. The first talks of a new study that is skeptical of where it can go while the second focuses on built-in chatting while watching (see picture to the right). Let’s take a closer look:

The study in question that dogs Internet video comes from Convergence
Consulting; it states the following: “As it was a decade ago, the
Internet is once again being positioned as taking over the content
universe … but there are a number of cold, hard realities that
prevent broadcasters and cable networks from moving away from TV.”

The study’s number crunching found that broadcasters that air their TV shows online have seen only 5% of their TV base watching the online version. MTV is cited as one of the better performers with 15% of their viewers watching shows online.

Brahm Eiley, an analyst at Convergence Consulting, has this to say: “It’s not much of a business model to give up television at the end of the day.”

What I don’t understand is this false dichotomy of television vs. the Internet, as if you have to pick a side and never look back. Of course the TV isn’t going anywhere, but that doesn’t mean broadcasters shouldn’t take online videos seriously. Pardon the pun, but there’s a “convergence” happening here. Consumers are interested in the flexibility of seeing their digital media wherever possible, be it on their computer, TV, or handheld gadget.

Interestingly enough, the second article in the WSJ points out some strengths of Internet video. This week Disney’s ABC Family network launched an online video platform that lets users chat while watching episodes of its shows online. The service went live for the season finale of the teen show “Wildfire.” And the chat will be offered for more shows this summer.

Some examples are given of comments going back and forth on “Wildfire” like “I hope that matt and Kris stay together” or “dude seriously why was she walking along the side of the highway.”

The WSJ calls this “…a sign that online video is growing up, moving beyond 30-second home videos to longer programming that’s generating discussions and fan bases much like traditional TV.”

Whatever the case, I like viewing my content wherever and whenever I want. And both the Internet and TV have to stick around for that to be possible.

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