Sunday, March 05, 2006

Narrowstep - the TV on the internet company

Narrowstep - the TV on the internet company
Talk about well done! Why could traditional TV be in trouble? Because of upstarts like Narrowstep. Their tagline -- Reinventing Television -- is right on. I stumbled onto Cycling.tv about a year ago, and instantly fell in love. It was a "network" I could relate to. And most of all, it was a network I wanted to watch. Now they have further segmented their viewership, and enticed me to spend even more time with them, by dividing up the programming options to cycling, mountain biking, and triathlons. If only they carried Lost and The L Word, I might be able to walk away from traditional TV all-together!

What should really be of interest to advertisers, is that I actually "enjoy" the advertisements. Earlier tonight a Bianchi bicycle commercial ran. Because it was targeted towards my lifestyle and my interests, I actually listened in Bianchi's message. (Think about how many ads you really don't listen to!) Throughout the last year, Cytomax run a number of commercials on Cycling.tv. I'm fanatical about watching ABC's Lost, but I would be incredibly hard pressed to recall one commercial that ran during the show last season, simply because almost all have zero relevance to me. (Yes, it is much easier to target a cycling audience vs. a Lost audience, but that should be a reason for transitioning to a medium that allows for permission marketing.)

MSO's (cable TV companies) argue that a la carte, will reduce consumer choice. And that is to a certain extent true. But by the number of shows on TV that have little to no audience, that argument begs the question of--will anyone care? However, the fact that companies like Narrowstep are able to emerge and grow, without traditional distribution channels, is a testament to the argument that wanted content will find distribution channels and an audience.

Actually, traditional TV may not be the best source of distribution. As the internet increases the amount of content available to us, the need for TV/internet convergence becomes apparent. The best source of content distribution, is the source that will allow me to watch the Het Volk on Cycling.tv, followed by ABC's Lost.

What will be the distribution channel that aggregates traditional television content as well as internet content? I'm anxious to find out, but of course when that channel does finally emerge, TV Guide is going to have one hell of a tough job!

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