Will Internet overtake TV?

September 25, 2006

No matter how you slice it, the conventional television set is pretty sedentary.  Viewers sit in front of it, and can basically veg out.  The Internet is potentially different.  It allows users to create and/or comment on content.  And it gives users greater freedom to pick and choose the content they want to watch whenever and however many times they want. 

It’s still hard to imagine, however, the day when the Internet overtakes the TV as primary conduit of entertainment communication, the outlet that millions of Americans turn to first.  But that may just be starting to happen according to the following articles:

1.  Diane Mermigas, Democratic Party, Hollywood Reporter.

“Already clear in its nascent, exploding stage is that the Web video and text that the average Joe creates for consumption (and often endless replay) by an audience of one or millions — anytime, anywhere — will have an extraordinary effect on commercial media and entertainment worldwide, the extent of which cannot yet be comprehended. But many bright minds are trying to figure it out.”

2.  Sarah Lacey, Let the Web Entertain You, BusinessWeek.

“[T]he Web has become a hub of entertainment is no shocker, of course. What’s been more of a surprise is just how quickly and extensively the Internet is replacing traditional content over consumer electronics devices like TVs and PCs outfitted with media-compatible software and hardware. Computer makers like Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and software giants like Microsoft (MSFT) long hoped they’d play a bigger role with so-called media center PCs.”

Chicken Noodle Soup dance: how YouTube can help undiscovered talent

September 25, 2006

News:  Two teenagers from Harlem — DJ Webstar and Young B — have a recording contract with Universal Records after being discovered on YouTube.  The duo’s popular rap song “Chicken Noodle Soup” became popular at Harlem teen venues.  It even has its own dance.

Once videos of the song were uploaded onto YouTube, the popularity grew across the country, drawing hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube.  (More here

Analysis:  Discovering undiscovered talent provides a benefit to society.  To the extent technology like YouTube can facilitate the process, it should be applauded and cultivated.  The story of “Chicken Noodle Soup” is just one of many examples of YouTube helping to discover undiscovered talent.

As far as the rap and dance “Chicken Noodle Soup” go, it’s a fun tune, but not necessarily one of my favorites. 

Will copyright change YouTube, or will YouTube change copyright?

September 25, 2006

News:  Steve Johnson of the Chicago Tribune has an excellent article analyzing some of the potential copyright problems that YouTube might face if copyright holders attempted to enforce their copyrights on content being uploaded onto YouTube.  For now, most copyright holders (such as the music and movie industries) haven’t, although this could change.  As Johnson explains:

“NBC Universal digital content chief Jeff Gaspin said it doesn’t bother him that, for instance, almost every moment of the romantic comedy’s central relationship, between office-mates Jim and Pam, is now up on YouTube, some 15 videos of eight or so minutes apiece amounting, in total, to almost a mini-version of the Season 2 Two DVD set.

“If the Internet helps create buzz for us, great,” Gaspin said, reasoning that the Jim and Pam relationship could join TV classics like such as Sam and Diane (“Cheers”) and Ross and Rachel (“Friends”), but first viewers have to find out about it.

“When you take into account NBC’s moderate shift in stance, and, for instance, Comedy Central’s wink-and-a-nod at the proliferation of “Daily Show” and “Colbert Report” clips that users upload, you understand that many copyright holders seem to be deciding that the promotional value of YouTube appearances is more valuable than any revenue that might be gained by forcing users to the holders’ own Web sites.

“But others aren’t so sanguine. Last week, Doug Morris, CEO of the giant Universal Music Group, was speaking of YouTube and the less-copyright-dependent MySpace when he said, “These new businesses are copyright infringers and owe us tens of millions of dollars.”

Analysis:  Copyright is the 64 thousand — or million — dollar question for YouTube.  Part of its current success rests on copyright holders taking at least a “wait and see” attitude before running pell mell to sue YouTube for alleged copyright infringement.  So far, this “wait and see” attitude seems prudent for businesses, as YouTube generates a lot of free advertising for copyrighted material.  YouTube has the millions of eyeballs that copyright holders want.