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Did You See That Great Commercial Last Night?

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

As I was running errands on Super Bowl Sunday I realized I didn’t feel the usual rush to get home. This was not because I’m not a football fan, but rather because I knew if I missed the first couple of commercial breaks, I could see them online at any number of websites on Monday. Some of the spots that aired during the game even directed you to their web site. This got me (among others) thinking, what is the future of TV and TV advertising going to look like with the Web? Apple’s iTunes has fundamentally changed the music business, will another application do the same to TV?

Fortunately, The Atlantic that arrived in my mailbox a few days later had a great article addressing this topic. Michael Hirschorn begins his article with Apple changing the way we buy music and he quickly transitions over to TV, noting he works in the industry. He raises some interesting points, primarily that TV should be around for the long run, but that it is up to the TV industry itself to change the definition of TV if they want to remain players in both content and distribution.

In the short term, bandwidth limitations will prevent satisfying web based video offering for anything but short form videos, such as TV spots. In the long term, TV networks need to bring more Web functionality to TV rather than invest in creating more bandwidth online. With the switch to digital and HD broadcasting herein the USA due in 2009, the next generation of TV’s could begin to include Web applications in their hardware. The options are varied and appealing – from being able to click from an ad to a retail site to purchase a product (the next generation of shopping channels) to being able to access any movie or any show for a fee to watch at your leisure (the next generation of on-demand services).

I agree with Hirshorn in his wrap up … will the future look like TV with more interactivity or the Internet with TV included? The debate will go on, but the future of a billion dollar industry is up for grabs and whoever figures out how to make it simple and intuitive for Joe and Jane Consumer is going to be the big winner.

– Contributed by Todd Cameron
Image courtesy of Jupiter Images

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