Friday, 9 May 2008

Is the Long Tail the wrong tail in IPTV?

This week, the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) convention took place in San Francisco, where the impact of digital media on the music industry was the focus. The group, which represents music retailers, including record stores and e-tailers, discussed how trends such as file sharing and the rise in the power of the consumer has changed the way the general public consumes content. Initiatives such as Radiohead’s album ‘giveaway’ last year and Coldplay’s recent fee downloadable single has showed that free downloadable content can work side-by-side with traditional retail methods.

In relation to IPTV, it was highlighted on the
Telecom View website that the industry will not really become mainstream unless distributors and marketers include the channel as a tactic rather than something to fight against, much like the music industry has (to some extent). Therefore, distributors would release content via video-on-demand services at the same time as DVDs – rather than viewing the medium as an afterthought. Blockbusters will continue to be the main attraction for viewers. However, we think that the main strength of IPTV is its almost unlimited capacity. Storing content for niche, micro audiences is key and high volume of downloads for this type of media will result in the success of IPTV, not the huge number of downloads for the latest Harry Potter movie. It’s often easy to forget that IPTV can be much more than ‘regular TV on the PC’. The technology can allow us to interact with programmes in a variety of ways never seen before.

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