Monday, October 13, 2008

TV shows now on Youtube

Youtube has just announced a major deal to start showing full-length TV shows like StarTrek with commercials. This puts Youtube in direct competition with Hulu, Joost, imdb, and a host of others showing tv shows over the web. Although Youtube's initial lineup is paltry, it shows a lot of promise.
The most exciting angle is the Tivo one. TiVo can access Youtube videos right now if the TiVo is connected to the internet. Since TiVo sits right next to my TV I don't have that PC-to-TV 10-yard gap. So, instead of taking up space on my TiVo, I can use Youtube's storage to host my old tv shows. But since I don't really watch old tv series, it doesn't mean a lot to me at the moment, but I can foresee in the not too distant future that first run shows are on Youtube which makes it interesting. It would help if TiVo could also access content.
What if all first run shows were available on Youtube?
1. I won't need a terabyte TiVo. In fact, I wouldn't need any disk space at all. Tivo will just get the shows on demand.
2. What is a TV network then? Independent producers could just make shows to go directly on Youtube without a network exec saying, "That will never work.". With production costs dropping, it's easier than ever to make your own tv shows and sell them on youtube.
3. Google, the owner of Youtube, would shake up the tv advertising market. Google would disintermediate a lot of advertising firms that specialize in buying/selling tv ad time. Companies could just bid for slots on tv shows just like they do for adwords. Also Google could target specific audiences on the fly with just-in-time advertising. Google can estimate your age (from your gmail account, past searches, etc) which would help, but they would be able to deduce your zip code, which tells a lot about you.
With a TiVo, Youtube tv on demand, and a fast internet connection, the world will be an interesting place. I can just envision Dr. McCoy leaning over the prone body of network tv, turning to Kirk and saying, "He's dead Jim.".

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