(Online TV) Freedom is on the March: NBC, ABC Deals Make More Shows Available Online
In what may be coincidental but is nonetheless interesting timing, stories involving both ABC and NBC making broadcast shows available online (at least for an increment of time after the show premieres on television) have caught the buzz over the last 24 hours.
ABC’s deal with AOL locks in distribution via AOL and features advertising embedded during shows, with no cost to viewers. The NBC deal allows people to stream shows for free for one week after shows premiere on the broadcast network. Advertising runs on shows and can’t be fast-forwarded through.
So, what have we learned here?
* Television isn’t just rushing to get online. It’s scrambling.
The days of massive traditional audiences watching TV distributed by networks on a television set are in their last throes. The networks now get this and are hell bent on finding new ways to get eyeballs in front of their shows.
* The future of television is online, free, and ad-supported.
Some people might pay $1.99 to download shows on iTunes (guilty here, when I went away for several weeks and my DVR forgot to record Lost!) but for most, they’ll sit through short, sweet, and relevant advertising.
* People are online and want entertaining content.
This is the most powerful force of all. The audience is there, and there’s a marketplace for quality entertainment content. That race is on at warp speed to fill it.
* Return of the TV?
Just for kicks, think about this: wouldn’t it be wild if the traditional TV, powered by the DVRs (digital video recorders) that networks despise, actually made a bid for people to return to their sets because it allowed people to fast-forward through commercials?
* Check the trends.
Here’s what we’re looking at: traditional TV will figure out more ways to advertise in-show (thanks, TiVo!), online TV will figure out the revenue model (think short pre-rolls, mid-roll, post-roll that allow interactivity if the user desires), and much much more content available online than ever, including original offerings such as Quarterlife.