Commercial Broadcasters and the Internet: A Series of Posts

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by: Alain Thys

This is the first of a few blogposts in which I intend to focus on broadcasting and the internet.  They will be short posts as I don't want to rehash the usual stories, yet try and raise a few questions that haven't yet been covered elsewhere.  In the end, I'll probably bundle it in a report (if you want a copy, drop me a note).

If you want to have a look at real media innovation, these days public broadcasters are the place to be. 

Being euro-centric, think of the BBC, throwing hours and hours of classical music online.  Holland's "Uitzending Gemist" which is a portal where literally hundreds of hours of series, documentaries, talkshows, music programmes, etc. are available for viewing on line.   Ketnet Kick in Belgium, which increasingly starts blurring the lines between TV and PC, to the point it's hard to tell which-is-which.  And there is also that gorgeous phrase "martini media" (anytime, anywhere, anyway) which was actually coined by the director interactive of the BBC in describing their future vision.

Critics will point out that the reason they can do this, is exactly because they consider some of their government-money sponsored programming to be, well "public".  This while  the producers that supply Googlewood have to work hard for their money and carefully protect it from abuse by the rest of us unsavory internet consumers.

I would, however, argue there is also another reason .  This is that the management of many of these so-called "stale" public services actively promotes creativity and innovative thinking and provides adequate budgets to those who need to be creative.  And think of it, with 20% of European media-consumption time online, this makes sense.  On-demand viewing via IP is a reality and with TV, PC and other devices converging, the time to experiment is now.

I wonder when commercial broadcasters will follow suit?

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