The Death of TV – Part 3 – The internet saved the TV star

When all the users were happily downloading music and video from each other before big industry started slapping them down with anti-piracy writs a large proportion of them were using a peer-peer program called kazza. It efficiently distributed the load (peer-peer). The creator of the program then went onto use similar technology to create the biggest public VOIP system which is used worldwide for users to chat to each other (SKYPE). Niklas Zennström the creator of both these programs then began in late 2006 to work on a project known simply as ‘The Venice Project’ . On January 16th 2007 the brand “Joost” was revealed to the public, and private testing on the Joost program began. Joost uses peer-to-peer based secure streaming technology to deliver high quality video over the internet.
Joost the first global TV distribution platform which ties together content providers, advertisers and users together and integrates some of the best bits of new web technology.
Joost is revolutionary, you can search for TV programs the way you would normally use google, while watching a program you can chat in real-time to other people also watching that program – If you fancy using instant chat to talk to your friends – no problem, that facility is there too. Content is interactive, if an advertiser wants to link content being shown on Joost direct to another web site they can offer added pop-up graphics which directly link the user to the content they want to get to. Even better – adverts can be targeted by country, and eventually users, based on viewing history. Joost is still experimenting with advert placement – micro adverts (5 -10 second slots) are currently being tested. These adverts are placed at the start of every other program, to initially cover a screen which would be otherwise just be saying the world ‘buffering’. the program immediately following the advert then has a interactive image-tag which will pop-up for a few seconds at the bottom – left had side of the screen – Clicking on the advert will allow users to go directly related Joost content or any other web connected activity. whether it’s applying for a credit card, taking atest drive, or purchasing an item online.(see below)
Joost has already had significant buy in. On May 1st Joost officially launched with advertising from 32 major partners. Wrigley, Coke, HP, Intel, and Nike and many more, content providers and networks such as Warner Bros, Viacom, and CBS have added $45 million worth of funding into the network, Joost is an incredibly hot property.What’s even more interesting is that there are talks to embed Joost into set-top boxes and mobile phones – delivering a magical mix of web functionality and broadcast tv. It’s the perfect mechanismTraditional broadcasters are fighting back, they never saw the Joost threat coming let alone the speed , and in the UK the BBC is desperately trying to catch up, with added content and a revamped mobile player, which includes mobile phone playback. Already trying to catch up the BBC is currently working on streaming technology and trying to broker a deal with all the major UK networks to provide their content over streaming technology. However it’s already begun to syndicate some of it’s content into Joost, and other programs such as Fifth Gear, Aardman animations, various cbs, warner, and music channels, are making sure that joost isn’t short of content.Joost might be one of the most popular streaming technologies but it’s not the only kid on the block. Veoh is trying to combine the best of both worlds with having downloadable content, as well as a streaming client. While you’re watching live streaming TV or flicking between channels you can also be downloading high quality movies – they’re also planning a mobile based client too.

But what about those existing channels that people are used to are they destined to die off? There is there an efficient streaming mechanism to revamp all the channels that people are used to and update them thought streaming to enable banner adverts and interactive content. This may be the mechanism that BBC, Channel 4 and iTV use to try and retain market share. The system is called Zattoo, and it’s currently undergoing beta testing – there’s a formidable amount of content partners signed up already with 50 free channels that includes itv1, bbc world, mtv, cnn and Bloomberg. It would be relatively simple to re-brand it as a UK player and distribute on cd or download to all uk TV license payers. benefits to broadcasters are of course – no infrastructure costs, highly personalised banner adverts and user history, and a global audience.

Finally we have paid-for-advert free online TV network like ‘in2streams’ – they rely on subscriptions to fund their content, and in2streams has built up a formidable amount of content which includes top rated shows like Heroes, Frasier, Battlestar Galactica, Friends, Father ted and Doctor Who.

One of the biggest companies benefiting from the proliferation of the new streaming technology is Google, through YouTube – already Apple, and the BBC are using content from YouTube and Google to increase the content available on their set top boxes and media players. Apple are providing YouTube content on the move through their iphone, which in turn encourages more users to post up their own YouTube content, which generates even move traffic. YouTube have just released another new feature that allows direct uploading of content recorded on mobile phone. They’re also testing on online video editor with help from Adobe – the ultimate goal being to enable their users with as many ways and tools possible to add their own content and creativity to their vast video archive, and it’s all free content – YouTube doesn’t have to pay a penny.

When Dove aired the new advert during the American super bowl they spent more than $3 million dollars on a 45 second slot and it’s estimated that they had XX views. When the Dove ‘Evolution’ film was uploaded to YouTube it struck a cultural nerve, and drove 3 times more traffic to the campaign for real beauty website than the Super Bowl ad did. Cost of advertising on YouTube to a worldwide audience = Nothing. Brand awareness = millions.

The content wars have already begun as media formats converge. What’s been fun has been watching the large corporations get caught off-guard by the rapid adoption of internet technology. I can’t conclude these articles – the Jury is still out on what formats will win through. What is important is for people within the industry to stay constantly aware of which direction the tide is turning, more than ever before.

>> Matt

Update:
Just got onto the Zattoo European Beta, i can confirm that the streaming quality seems just as good as Joost when viewed at full screen, with lower bandwidth demands, there’s a screenshot below, there’s only a few seconds delay behind live TV. So far there aren’t many interactive features, but It would certainly make sense if the bbc and ITV networks adopted this program do distribute their channels.

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