Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The Broadcasting Rossetta Stone

I seem to be caught in a twilight zone between old broadcasting and new broadcasting.

Today I had a conversation about a hex based protocol that works over serial ports. It's technology from the ninetes that was bleeding edge in the eighties.

And, as this year's IBC fast approaches (ping me if you're going), the chasm between the old hardware world and the new cloud based world is yawning.

The trouble is, you can't throw away tens of millions of dollars of investment in hardware that has been totally usurped by nearly free web based packages. 

Part of the problem is that the industry retains people of my age who grew up with the hardware. Part of the problem is that the new technology isn't as dependable. "Frame accurate" is a virtual cncept in the internet TV era where "keyframe accurate" is the equivalent.

But the real issue the industry is facing is storage. Storing all rushes an average production company produces in a month today  would have taken all of the storage available in the world a couple of decades ago. And even today, digital files are far more expensive to store on current online and nearline technologies than tape was. Indeed, the digital files are still laid off onto tape, but as digi optical storage from hard drives.

In almost all areas, the internet has made things cheaper, but video is an area where this hasn't happened. No one can make any real money from YouTube since they have to spend a massive amount of money on lawyers and storage. For every minute of video that gets a million viewers, i reckon that there are nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine mnutes that get fewer than one hundred viewers. And all that storage has to be paid for and has to be online. So they'll pay you $1 per thousand viewers if yu're lucky. 

 Yes, Psy is subsidising all those corporate videos that no one watches apart from in clickshops in Asia.

Still YouTube has, perhaps on the coat tails if people like myself and Ian Blaine, redefined broadcasting. But not so that you'd notice in the parts of the industry that are falling into the sea, or should I say, the cloud...