Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Providers

I'm in a reflective mood, so the industry that I helped reinvent is on my mind.

I disagree with Tim Cook that television is 'stuck in the seventies'. In the seventies I had three analogue channels in black and white. Now I have endless content available in full HD. I can pause, stop, watch and select to watch later.

What I suspect irks Cook is the way the rights holders behave. This has largely remained unchanged since the film making industry moved to California around a century ago.

There have been few companies that have really disrupted the TV industry. The big players 50 years ago are the big players now, from CBS and NBC to Disney. New franchises have appeared such as ESPN, Duscovery and CNN, but these are content franchises, not technical ones.

For an industry that is totally based on technology, its influence and value to the TV and film industries are, frankly, negligible, and maybe that's right. The technology is purposeless without the content.

And maybe that's where everyone from Project Venice to Kangaroo went wrong. It's not possible to reinvent television, but it is possible to reimagine it.