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Cable Technology Feature Article

November 19, 2012

Digital Television is Positioned to Grow

By Shankar Pandiath, TMCnet Contributor

Digital television offers endless entertainment videos that already existing online. Despite this, entertainment and film studios are still busy figuring out what innovation to make, while the viewers are search for where to find it and advertisers estimating how to pay for it. In simple words, Internet television is where cable network was in earlier days, stated Dawn Ostroff, chief of Conde Nast’s new Entertainment Group.

The cluttered and rapidly developing world of online entertainment videos reminds Dawn Ostroff of everything that was made for cable television to kick start during the 1970s. Hence, Ostroff can easily connect today’s rapidly developing Internet television to its predecessor cable television.

Recently in the UK and Europe, a new Internet television service launched as part of a major $4.2 million project led by the University of East Anglia. The service, SeaMe.tv, was created by the SeaMedia project and content includes short films, discussion shows, music and documentaries. The site is made up of three channels: Music & Entertainment, Student Life & Work and The Issues & Impact channel.

As Ostroff stated to The Verge, the way people watch television today is changing, and this growth is surely going to be in the digital space largely. And only few can disagree with this staggering fact.

When questioned how the Internet television will look like, Ostroff remarked that in today’s scenario, it is a complete hodgepodge of weird webisodes, broadcast reruns, aggregation-based newscasts, low-fi dramas and occasionally polished mini-documentary from a renowned daily journal. She told The Verge that digital television is lower budget, less ambitious and shorter than the standard TV programming designed particularly for the bigger screens in the living room. The content that is available on Internet TV today is only a discreet reminiscent of all that people saw in the earlier days of cable television.

Decades ago, everyone was unsure about what to put in the three dozen channels of cable television. From streamed articles to small town original soap operas staged on homemade set, ‘narrow casting’ or The Babysitting Channel, much of these cable TV experiments can be found on Internet television today as well. However, it is hard to speculate what sort of videos will win out over Internet. According to Ostroff, most of the ‘made-for-Internet TV’ will fade away closely if it fails to attract eyeballs and dollars in this increasingly competitive market today.

Investments on Internet video advertising are estimated to rise from $3 billion to a whopping $9 billion by 2017, according to a study by renowned research firm Forrester (News - Alert). At the end, Internet television might end up looking more like broadcast and cable TV.

“There will be more focus on more niche shows in order to carve up the audience even further, but I think they will continue to need big events,” Ostroff said. “You’re never going to be able to get a big audience, a wide audience, by doing niche content.” It is expected that onset of players such as The Huffington Post (News - Alert) and Conde Nast will make things more interesting.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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