Monday, March 10, 2008

Serving Up Television Without the TV Set

Terrific article in today's New York Times looking at the growth of online video usage. One of the most interesting stats, that one in four internet users watched a full length show on the web over the last three months. percentages were slightly higher fir the 18-24 demo at 39% although I am surprised that these numbers are not higher, given that the group is internet users and the question is not, what percentage of TV viewers watch a full length episode on the web. And while it is interesting to note the percentage that have watched, i would also be interested in knowing when and where they are viewing full length episodes on the web. Is it primarily in the office or at home, during the day or at night.

Quincy Smith of CBS Interactive makes an interesting comment in the article, "The four and a half billion we make on broadcast is never going to equate to four and a half billion online.” In a separate article, he made this point: developing interactive programming for the Web is not about migrating shows to tv, he pointed out. It’s about designing smart programming for a new type of medium.

I love this comment. The web should not try to replace TV, it should enhance the experience. CBS has invested in sites like Wallstrip and Moblogic to provide more content to increase the value of the space. And while they can and should offer current and older tv programming, it should not alone define their web and tv 2.0 strategy. Cross platform synergy and interactive experience becomes their goal.

And while no one has come up with the right answer yet, it appears that CBS has successfully reached the user so far. As broadcasters have the deep pockets, it will be fascinating to watch the moves they make to make online profitable.