Virtual worlds and the future of TV

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by: Dominic Basulto

In the Sunday New York Times, Dave Itzkoff explains how and why TV networks and cable stations are experimenting with virtual worlds such as Second Life.

It's all part of their attempt to remain relevant for young audiences, while at the same time, making TV-watching a more social experience. In some cases, they are creating virtual avatars to interact with consumers, and in other cases, they are hiring companies like Electric Sheep to build entirely new worlds for viewers of their shows. In a best case scenario, argue technologists, virtual worlds like Second Life could become a complementary technology for TV:

"…If the wildest dreams of some very excited technology developers come true, virtual reality might finally be the medium that unites the passive experience of watching television with the interactive potential of the Web. If that happens, the television industry — which has not been particularly speedy in adapting to the Internet revolution — sees an opportunity not only to recover lost ground from online competitors but also to take a lead, and in so doing create an entirely new environment in which to influence and sell to its audience. “You want to be in this because you know, as a content provider, that this is where the future is going,” said Quincy Smith, the president of CBS Interactive. “I don’t look at it as science fiction. I look at it as the future of communication.”

If TV killed the radio star, maybe Second Life will save the TV star?

[image: A virtual screening room in Second Life]

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