The Revolution Will Be Webcast

DV By James Careless

Where Web video stands now, and how it will soon dominate digital content delivery.

Once a novelty, Web video has become a staple of video production and viewing. “Very, very close to 100% of the projects that we do today have at least one Web video component,” says Emmy-winning producer Michael Kolowich. Formerly with WGBH and the founder of ZDNet, Kolowich is president/executive producer of DigiNovations, a digital media production company in Concord, Massachusetts. “[Web video] is by far the dominant delivery destination,” Kolowich continues. “Even when we’re doing TV spots or live events, there is almost always a Web version that’s a little longer, more comprehensive, and tailored to Web audiences.”

So where does Web video stand now? What challenges does it pose for video producers and customers, and where is Web video headed? Here’s what the experts told us.

A Paradigm Shift?
In TV’s early days, broadcast was king. In the 1970s and ‘80s, cable and satellite TV began to take over, followed by the creation of Web video in the late 1990s. But the future is nothing less than “the transition of television distribution off of the airwaves and cable to delivery over the Internet,” predicts Andrew Maisner, the president of TV Pro Gear, a Los Angeles-based systems integrator that is currently building 12 HDTV Web video stations. “Within five years, the majority of Americans will get their TV via IP,” Maisner predicts. “As the cost of the elements of production falls and the cost of distribution approaches zero, thousands of special-interest, Internet-delivered stations will come into being. Because costs are dropping by magnitudes, these new channels can succeed by being very narrowly focused.

“Also, ‘choice is in,’” Maisner adds. “By this I mean that we will gradually change to a universe where we can view whatever we want, whenever we want, with or without commercials, via micro payment. For example, in the future, I will ‘tune’ in to watch the Lakers play. Before the images appear, I will be given a choice of seeing the game free with commercials or having my credit card debited 50 cents and seeing it without commercials.” read more...

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