Broadcasting on the Internet

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Jeff Jarvis rightly takes NBC’s new NBBC veture to task saying,

The internet is not about broadcast. It is not about you telling me what to watch. It is not about you making the selections for me. I have that power now. You just don’t know it.

Fred Wilson, meanwhile, praises the effort because NBBC is sharing the wealth with content creators and distributors. His vision of the future of media is to...

1 - Microchunk it - Reduce the content to its simplest form.

2 - Free it - Put it out there without walls around it or strings on it.

3 - Syndicate it - Let anyone take it and run with it.

4 - Monetize it - Put the monetization and tracking systems into the microchunk.

I don’t think Fred really read the details on the announcement. He’s excited that he can show The Office on his blog, but NBBC won’t allow that. He thinks he’ll get a share of the revenue for showing NBC clips, but that’s not in the plan. He thinks NBC is opening up, but this is a case of same thing, different pipe.

NBBC gets a failing grade on every one of Fred’s four points. They’re trying to build a walled garden. Lazy Sunday on YouTube scared them because they lost control over the distribution. "In the future, when we have a Lazy Sunday clip, NBBC will make a lot of money on it."

This venture shows that. They’re deciding what content I can see. "NBBC is going to keep a distance from the hottest trend in online video — programs created and uploaded by users. The company wants to work only with established producers."

They’re deciding where I can see it and how I can consume it. "NBBC is not going to allow the programs it distributes to be inserted on personal blogs or Web pages."

It’s microchunked—for now. "NBBC will distribute programs under seven minutes. Over time, it may experiment with longer programs."

Broadcast networks are about lead-ins—making Scrubs a success because it played right after Friends. Microchunking is about quality—making Scrubs a success because it’s entertaining and smart.

NBBC’s "longer programs" are going to mean that the great Lazy Sunday video is going to be embedded in a group of other videos so NBBC can force-feed me a couple of videos they want me to watch before I can watch the one I want to watch.

Sure they’ve got the monetization down, but if I can’t create the content and participate, what’s the point? To help existing media companies find new revenue streams for existing content?

howard Lindzon
September 13, 2006 12:45 PM

some great arguments - will update my post with your link

Chartreuse
September 13, 2006 1:11 PM

Great points Adam. Unlike you, I skipped the details (because I know the devil personally) but if they were to open it up (which they will have to do)I think it can be huge.

Mr Angry
September 13, 2006 8:36 PM

I think you've hit the nail on the head with openness. If NBC tries to control access this thing is dead in the water. I still think Revver has a lot of potential, user created content, payment to original creators. They need to fix a few things but I'm interested in how their new "1.0" release goes.

Dreamschooner
September 19, 2006 5:09 PM

It's always interesting to watch major players in industry try to out "viral" the grass-roots organic players. Groups with unique agendas will always reveal that fact, while the genuine article truly connects to users everywhere. People can smell an "angle" and more and more they're running away from it. They want independence and choice. So NBC can peddle their own stuff, but is that where people want to watch it, exclusively? Maybe, sometimes... but probably not.

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