The audiences of today are technically savvy. When it comes to a media like TV or video, most know how to get what they want, when they want it… and will watch it on the device of their choice. Much of the file sharing technology used to make this possible, such as bit torrent, has been under direct attack by Hollywood under banner of Piracy. But in many aspects, Hollywood is trying to kill the very thing that it has created.
If anything, the last 50 years of TV and advertising has taught us that when we want something, we want it NOW. We live in an on demand world where most anything can be found, bought and enjoyed 24 hours a day from anywhere–we have infinite choice.
But now, the very viewers that have been trained to have it their way, right away are being told: „No, you may not watch until we say… when we say… where we say.“ and „This video is not available in your country.“ Why? Because the current distribution channel no longer works.
Take TV for example. A TV show is produced, paid for by advertisers that want eyeballs seeing their ad. The show is scheduled for broadcast and people watch–everyone is happy. Now enters a technology that allows the broadcasted show to be recorded for later viewing and the advertising is almost always skipped over. Then the show is encoded and shared for free using another technology, specifically bit torrent. Now many, many more people are able to download this TV show, and watch whenever they want, on what ever device they want and for „free“.
Of course this is also known as Piracy, and Hollywood has spent an enormous amount of money fighting this technology. Perhaps piracy should not be feared and fought, rather harnessed. After all, a downloaded TV show using a file-sharing technology like bit torrent can enjoy the widest distribution, and the most eyeballs possible. And what is more, this hyper-distribution system gets more efficient the more it is used. How does this work in the market place? How does Hollywood make money with free?
Here it is important to remember that the #1 reason to create a TV show is: Get Viewers. But how can money be extracted from the viewers that are downloading a TV show for free? It’s not money the viewers are providing, it is the eyeballs–the money comes from the same place it always has, namely advertisers.
The question now is: what will advertising look like in a hyper-distributed TV show that does not have commercial breaks, is watched all over the globe and on many different types of devises? Advertising in a hyper-distributed system will be covered in a following post, but in the meantime, how can you imagine advertising will be embedded into downloaded TV shows?