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The Last Few Feet to the TV Set

by Eric Frenchman  |  
April 13, 2006

You've probably already seen the announcement, but Disney plans to offer many TV shows for free on the Web. Literally, this is the BIG news of the day...

even making the front page of the Newark Star Ledger. There are a ton of articles out there including The Wall Street Journal's Disney's Web Move Shakes Up Decades-Old TV Model, Ad Age's ABC Readies Non-Skippable Online Video Commercials, and MediaPost's Disney Launches New Site.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that Disney gained 26 cents, or nearly 1%, to $27.79 and wrote "the test marks the first time a broadcast network has made multiple prime-time shows available free online to consumers."
Wow, this is pretty exciting, isn't it?
You can read the articles for yourself and draw your own conclusions, but let me point out a few interesting factoids found in the above:
The ads will not be skippable and will be specifically designed for the Web.
The shows will be available for free the day after they air on TV.
The shows don't appear to be available for download devices so people that want to watch them on their iPod will still have to pay a fee up to $1.99 per show.
People that miss their favorite shows (and who don't have a DVR) can catch them on the Web for free.
According to Albert Chen, EVP of Disney-ABC TV Group, technologies for moving video between PCs and TVs are still too complicated. "We can certainly provide the content, but at the end of the day it's about how to make it easy for consumers."
In the same Wall Street Journal from yesterday, there was another article called Sony, Samsung Bet Big on LCD-TV Demand that you probably missed...but thank goodness, yours truly found it for you. The article talks about how Samsung and Sony are betting that the market for big TV (more than 40 inches) will grow sharply. Big TVs, HDTV, etc., are hot consumer electronics right?
Hmmm... let me throw a little cold water on the BIG Disney announcement. The TV shows and commercials will be retro-fitted for the Web, but the Sonys of the world are building bigger and higher quality TV. Doesn't something have to give here? (TV reference - I'm in this contest and something has to give, right?)
You know what I think? This is all about the last few feet to the TV box, and until someone figures out how to get great quality internet broadcasts on those big fancy beautiful TVs, this will be confined to mobile viewers. Sure, if you are traveling or stuck in an airport or a long boring meeting, you can catch your show on your laptop.
Personally, I'm betting that until you can get that last few feet to the TV set issue solved, this is all about shrinkage. When I'm home, I have my BIG TV set with a DVR and when I'm traveling I have the small screen.
Anything in between is just a waste of time for now. Enjoy the big announcement, at least someone is trying to move in the right direction.

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Eric Frenchman is an online marketing and advertising consultant located in the Great State of New Jersey and Chief Internet Strategist for the online political agency Connell Donatelli Inc. Since 1998, Eric has managed multi-million dollar online advertising and CRM campaigns for AT&T, DLJdirect, Harrisdirect, and BMO Investorline and is a recognized expert in online marketing and advertising techniques. In 2005, Harrisdirect was ranked as the 17th largest online advertiser in the US and in 2003 was recognized as Best Financial Advertiser. Eric Frenchman's marketing blog is located here:

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  • by karl Thu Apr 13, 2006 via blog

    Great post, and I concur, as someone with a 42" plasma and surround sound I really prefer to watch things there. I tivo everything I can, and will do anything to skip ads, even going to length of pausing live TV go do the dishes, and come back once i've got 15 minutes of lead time on the program. The one thing that has come close to connecting my laptop to my tv and HT is the xbox 360, essentially the xbox can act as a "media center" extender, russel beatie writes extensively about it here: I actually use a mac, so I use an little app called 360 connect which enables me to stream my itunes collection through my home theater via the xbox, so no video for me yet, but it was a landmark moment to listen to my itunes through my denon receiver streamed from my laptop. Obviously video will be the next step and I am looking forward to that. I hope that getting stuff online will enable me to "unbundle" my cable channels. When I saw CNN release HD quality video via their "pipeline" service for 2.99 a month, I'm thinking I would pay 2.99 per month per channel if I could pick the channels. Another Beatie post which is relevant is about the complexity of the home entertainment network: oh and this is the mac program for integrating with the xbox 360:

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