Monday, January 11, 2010

Popup TV

Popup restaurants, sales, live events; in the content industry they talk about ‘windows’. A concept started in the sports and entertainments industry is working its way through many other businesses now, such as catering and retail.

There is one thing that temporality brings – the ability to charge. The release of films has long followed a temporal path that is now that is being challenged by technological developments. Movies have to go to DVDs faster than ever, and soon they will never touch a physical medium.

Look at music – a recorded performance is valueless and pirated. A live event has value. Recorded music has been replaced by live music.

My decade and more’s experience of internet TV informs me that this business is even more susceptible to this trend. Live sells. Live events have always been the single biggest driver for internet TV audiences.

Indeed, the lack of efficiency in exploiting temporality is probably the defining business model underlying TV Everywhere (the company not the cliché). VidZapper enables live events as well as on demand video, Rights Tracker helps define windows for content rights and Vidiactive makes content available on the big screen now.

Time is something none of us can control, and as such it has ultimate value. Time is precious and time is what content owners need to pay the keenest attention to.

It is sad to see how few sports events are available in near real time windows. This is a real business opportunity. But the long term value of these events is next to nothing. There is an unexploited long tail at work.

Time has a great lesson to tell to anyone involved in internet TV.