Thursday, March 13

Making Everyone Famous: YouTube On TiVo

Innovation doesn’t wait. It happens.

As major networks consider how they are going to bridge the content gap between broadcast and the Internet, the Internet is coming to some televisions.

TiVo Inc., largely responsible for the creation and popularization of digital video recorders (DVRs), will be adding direct access to YouTube videos via TiVo later this year. TiVo users will be able to search, browse, and watch videos on their television sets through their broadband connected TiVo DVRs.

“TiVo’s strategy is to bridge the gap between Web video and television and make as much content available as possible for our subscribers,” Tara Maitra, vice president and general manager for content services for TiVo, told The New York Times.

While this only represents single step toward convergence, there are some significant long-term outcomes.

• Marketers who are already establishing a YouTube presence can direct prospects to clips on TiVo television, increasing the pressure on networks to retain engaged fans.
• Amateur content creators will be able to expand their reach into a distribution platform that was once reserved for cable and broadcast channels. Well-produced content could find product placement and sponsors.
• A major overhaul of the rating system needs to keep up with changes as YouTube content creators could feasibly demonstrate better analytics against Nielsen reliance.
• Producers of network-cancelled shows may have an opportunity to consider going it alone if they believe strongly enough in their fan bases.

The move completely bypasses the concept of embedded advertising needed by networks. The move is bold, but there will be a need to step up consumer accessibility. There are 4 million TiVo owners nationwide; only 800,000 have the necessary broadband connection.

From TiVo’s perspective, it’s a smart move to stay viable as more cable distributors are offering DVR boxes as part of their services. TiVo’s other competitor in this space is Apple TV. However, there is more than one way to access television shows and movies from Apple iTunes and place it on the big screen. This cable will do it too.

There isn’t much room to argue the direction of television. If YouTube can find its way onto television screens, then why not Why not? That small step — and the ability to download Hulu content to other devices along with a better full screen picture quality — is all that is missing. Hmmm. Looks like convergence isn’t happening. It’s happened. All that’s left are the details.

It will happen. That’s how innovation works.



Rich on 3/13/08, 4:38 PM said...

Famous Last Words:

"We're going to let radio go in the tank unless we generate this revenue off the air." — Larry Wilson, addressing the the not so rosy side of convergence for radio.

erika on 3/13/08, 9:39 PM said...

It's alllllll moving so FAST! Welcome to the revolution. Let's hope our favorite networks see the writing on the wall and keep up.

Rich on 3/14/08, 8:46 AM said...


Absolutely, it is moving fast. Once innovation is adopted, there is no slowdown. It's the very reason YouTube exploded on the scene just a few years ago.

Some of the networks will; many, I suspect, on the same page. The only question seems to be if the shows that are on today will make it to the new space.


Chaffee Street Cafe` on 3/18/08, 3:34 PM said...

Who will be in charge of screening these UTube videos? It seems a bit careless and risky, as I have seen some recordings which made my skin crawl. I fear the dodgy videos will get through and youngsters will be blasted into adulthood, long before they should.

I can only claim I am happy to have had the childhood I did.

Rich on 3/18/08, 8:02 PM said...


Excellent point. You know, once Dexter was moved to prime time, I figured any notion of the television we watched as kids was gone for good.

There was something to be said for savoring the new Sat. morning lineup. Nowadays, you can only catch some of those programs on DVD and late night DVR planning.

Our kids love the vintage stuff better anyway.



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