Streaming Television — What Could Be More Exciting Right Now?
Yes, I know, the word “revolution” is pretty abused and over-used these days, but mark my words:
Exciting days are ahead of us.
Read this post to find out why.
Thank You For The Music
I remember being amazed by how quickly it happened for music. I’m old enough to have experienced what it is to buy music on vinyl (it was pretty cool actually!) and then I got to see the massive cd takeover. But from there, I’m proud to say that Sweden managed to play a huge role in events to come.
I’m sure many of you remember Jens of Sweden, the 128 Mb mp3-player with the sleek silver finish. And on top of that, the massive impact of The Pirate Bay (see the TPB AFK documentary), the proud Swedish P2P torrent site that arose in the wake of Napster.
Manufacturers started focusing on allowing for consumers to burn their own cd-roms. But pretty soon we all started to listen to mp3 without bothering about those plastic discs that scratched so easily.
And when we all thought that iPods would serve as the physical unit for our music libraries, Spotify swept in and basically made mp3 downloading unnecessary—as well as the need for physical storage.
Streaming The Night Away
Streaming content has been around now for a while for sure.
When I lived in New York, I was proud to be a Netflix junkie (check out House of Cards). In Sweden, we had Voddler and Headweb, but unlike Netflix who embraced bit-sized viewing with all of their television series and their monthly subscription model (same as Spotify), many of their competitors went for renting movies online, video on demand.
But the problem soon became apparent; the physical video store just wasn’t the medium to beat.
Monthly subscriptions for unlimited access to bite-sized video content is an amazing combination.
Bite-sized video content had already made Youtube the second largest search engine in the world, so by having Netflix unlocking television series and talk shows made the service addictive and you never needed to bother about paying for each time you wanted to see something, a key factor.
The Hook—Building Behaviour
As so many other users, I never got hooked by Netflix because of their movies. I got hooked on their television shows. And soon I turned to Netflix for all my television needs. And then, only then, I started to also watch movies.
Netflix does one thing particularly well (besides from creating their own series); they suggest what to watch next based on your viewing history, your ratings and your personal preferences.
But bite-sizing isn’t the only addictive element. Hulu Plus, another competitor on the scene, took a stab at what could be described as “passive viewing”. When you’re done watching your chosen video, another video starts playing directly.
Many use their television sets as a modern day campfires, playing in the background while you’re doing the dishes or folding your laundry.
As Netflix is coming to Sweden, they shouldn’t expect the nation to just idly comply with whatever video content they’re offering. Tech savvy Swedes are already familiar with Netflix through VPN tunnels like Unblock Us.
Because I’ve had the opportunity to try a new Swedish television platform, Magine.
It’s still in closed beta only for us Swedes (of course), but the initial response suggests that Magine is doing something the other’s don’t; they mirror what’s on television right now.
This strategy encapsulates bite-sizing, passive viewing, monthly subscription models for full access and browsable archives.
Active- or passive viewing doesn’t matter.
Sort of like TIVO, but cloud-based and with the capacity to realise HD (high definition) over 3G, doing for television what Spotify does for music today. If you’re in Sweden, I’ve got some invites left, just reach out to me by email.
“Does It Have WIFI?”
I actually don’t even own a television set right now (except from a projector).
But for now, I’m good with hooking up my iPad to the projector while streaming television content via WIFI. I will get myself a television set eventually and when I do, the first thing I will make sure of is that it has the ability to add apps for streaming wirelessly.
Because most television sets today, however sophisticated, only allow for pre-installed apps like Youtube, Netflix and Apple TV, but I want my television set to be able to do everything an iMac can do.
I simply won’t settle for less than that and I think the late majority in the adoption curve will catch us early adopters pretty fast this time around.
No More Little Black Boxes
I confess to being one of those people who has grown to love everything Apple. I don’t stay awake late at night to catch their new launches and I don’t post everything the company do or say on my social networks, but I do stay loyal to their products.
But I won’t miss the cute little Apple TV box. In fact, I never want to install another black television box in my life ever again. It feels like buying speakers that can only play sounds from one record label only.
So, yes. Television might be the most interesting thing in digital right now.
Okay, so we also have the Money Web fast approaching and that’s extremely interesting, too. But when it comes to my personal consumption of daily entertainment, since Spotify already has me covered when it comes to music, I’m looking to television to take it to the next level.
Changing The Game
What I want is pretty simple. When it comes to functionality and access levels, Spotify is the ultimate benchmark.
What I want for television is to be able to have everything tied my personal account, not to physical sockets in my wall. And I want to be able to just turn the television on and have it showing what it shows everyone else live, whether for passive viewing or live events such as sports or news.
But I also want to be able to watch television series like Game of Thrones and Sons of Anarchy at my convenience.
And, if it’s not to much to ask, I would also like to able to pay premium to get rid of advertising.
I think it’s perfectly fine to watch commercials when I’m viewing live, but when watching archived material, I would be more than happy to pay quite the extra fee to get rid of the advertising. Or, why not reinvent advertising as well by making it social? Now there’s a blog post for another day! :)
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