Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Together, we glimpsed into the future.

I thought you might like to know, it looks like we were right.

Last August, I wrote to you about the impending death of traditional broadcast television.

I suggested that, once you can plug an internet cable into your television, broadcast television will become the Tasmanian Tiger. Extinct.

Extinction will come because, in an internet enabled world where you can watch content you want at any time, why should you be 'told' by the broadcasters what to watch? The traditional TV broadcast schedule becomes irrelevant.

And so do the traditional broadcasters, unless they evolve.

My suggestion was that, in this new world, the traditional broadcasters will have three main roles:

1) commissioning new original content (i.e. pay creatives to make original shows that they have exclusive rights to);
2) curating a catalogue of programs that they offer on demand (e.g. channel 7 will become the home of reality television shows that they buy in bulk from Producers); and
3) uploading their shows online.

Much quicker than expected, Netflix in the USA is doing just that. For the uninitiated, Netflix is a subscription service where you can watch movies and TV shows legally online for a monthly fee. Business has been booming, as viewers in the USA have embraced subscription 'content streaming' services over traditional 'hard' media, like DVD's.

For a while now, Netflix has simply been buying existing content in bulk from film and TV producers, or making exclusive content deals with major producers like HBO (who make favourites like Sex and the City, The Sopranos, The Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, Deadwood, Six Feet Under, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, and True Blood).

Now, Netflix has decided to start commissioning original content.

The reason is obvious.

If you make the TV show, and it is a major hit, then you have the exclusive right to show it. Anyone who wants to see your TV show, and this could be millions of people, has to subscribe to your service to get it.

Netflix is leading the way into this revolution. First with streaming of movies, legally, to replace traditional DVDs. Now original content.

Watch for the major broadcasters to follow or fall.

If only we could predict lotto numbers this well.

- - - - - - - - -