Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Beyond the Tipping Point

Seventy two per cent of Americans now connect to the internet using a broadband connection, up from fifty seven per cent a year ago according to Nielsen/Netratings.

We're now well beyond the tipping point, or the critical mass that it takes for Web 2.0 - and TV 2.0 - to be considered a mainstream medium.

As the announcements of new services from content owners and networks come thick and fast, the next big trend is likely to be the move of corporations into the space as they launch their own channels; it took a good three years for corporates to get with the dot com boom and for the critical max of online world to be worth the attention of big business.

The use of online video by corporates is sparse. The most common application seems to be in financial reporting, where companies such as Cantos provide bespoke services. However, the hubris of the Boardroom takes over and the content of the video is usually made up of dull monologues - talking heads, in TV terms (or 'talking deads' as a friend of mine once called them), just when a company has the opportunity to present an exciting visual impression of itself. But, mea culpa. Narrowstep's precursor, Web Channels, a company I formed in the mid 90s, was possibly responsible for this as we did the first few financial broadcasts for companies such as Orange, AstraZeneca and Lloyds TSB almost a decade ago.

Then there are the corporate launches and the odd TV commercial and corporate video thrown in for good measure.

But, with a mass audience the stakes have been raised and corporations are going to have to grasp the video medium with both hands if they are not going to be left behind, as many were with the rise of the world wide web.

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