Web enabled flat screen TVs are here. The technology to bring web videos to those TVs is accelerating and it won’t be long before web show producers will be able to make their programs as accessible from the living room couch as any NBC, ABC or CBS program.
You’ve probably already heard of Internet TV. But, have you considered how technologies are converging in ways that will revolutionize multimedia journalism?
There are some key changes in several critical areas that are leading to this revolution. One is in the affordability and accessability of professional level production equipment and software. Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro video editing programs are becoming standard in many non-broadcast newsrooms. Video cameras capable of producing the highest quality video are more affordable than ever. Journalists, thanks to industry trends, are acquiring multimedia/video skills in droves.
Where video is more generally concerned, dramatic changes have been taking place in terms of the distribution landscape and consumer trends.
Content creators (i.e. journalists) have three distribution networks for video:
- mobile devices
- and the Internet.
Web video hosting service providers such as YouTube, Brightcove.tv, and Blip.tv (to name just a few of the more prominent ones) are mobilizing to help web video producers bring their content to larger audiences. I spoke with the folks at Blip.tv and they’ve already made upgrades to their dashboards that enable anyone who has a free account to upload their video and distribute it automatically to YouTube, TiVo, Twitter,Vimeo, iTunes, Facebook, Yahoo! Video, AOL Video, and in the not too distant future to networks like NBC. Whereas Blip.tv is focusing on show producers, Brightcove.tv has begun to focus on business owners. They are encouraging businesses to develop video strategies that embrace this new video distribution landscape.
It’s about this concept of Total Potential Audience, TPA as Blip.tv calls it. It’s the idea their audience doesn’t all watch video in one place or through one medium. Some people watch at home in front of their television sets, others on Facebook and still others who get their videos on iTunes to download and watch on their portable media players.
Individual news organizations must develop a strategy to reach their TPA. At my newspaper, we started by posting videos and our weekly public affairs show online. We also partner with a local public television station to get the show on public access at no cost to us. We are still working on our mobile delivery, but our show is accessible on iTunes, thus making it available to MP3 users and iPhone owners.
All of this squares with what’s happening with our audience. Viewership for online video viewership continue to rise as surprising rates. Technology that brings video to smart phones, hand held devices and portable media players like the iPod is driving a sea change in how people watch their favorite programs and movies. As consumers acclimatize to the new and varied video distribution networks, and develop new viewing habits, the line between broadcast and Internet video will blur and eventually disappear.
As I’m so fond of saying, the implications for journalism are profound.
Individual bloggers are proof that even the smallest operation can tap into the Internet to disseminate content to huge audiences worldwide. News organizations can and should position themselves to create rich, local video content and use the emerging distribution landscape to get those videos out to the potential audience that they just aren’t capturing through their current distribution (i.e. print subscriptions and a static web site).
We have to go TO our audience instead of waiting for them to come to us. Sure, we can tout the merits and traditions of the printed word. We can even pimp out our web sites and obsess over the page views. But, we’ll miss out on so much more if we don’t embrace the changes in technology, integrate video into our media organizational structure and distribute through new and exciting channels.