Web TV vs. Broadcast TV, Part I
December 1, 2008 11:43 AM
I’m in Chicago as I write this, in town visiting family for the holiday. It has been an incredible time. As today’s Digital Dish is published, I’ll be flying back to Los Angeles (weather permitting—it’s been snowing all morning!), then catching another flight for meetings on a Web TV project.
The way Web TV is packaged is a little different from traditional shows, which makes this meeting an important one. As I’ve said a million times in past posts, I’ve wanted to create Internet TV shows since 2005, in addition to the broadcast project I’ve developed this year.
Having now worked on concepts for both platforms, Internet and broadcast, it’s interesting to see the differences.
Web TV is obviously a lot easier, and I appreciate the wide bandwidth for launching projects. The audience isn’t quite as built-in, but it takes virtually nothing to create and launch a show online, or to maintain a production budget. The market definitely has become Hollywood’s now, as producers and creators find room online for pet projects. That has meant the quality and creativity have been raised by leaps and bounds these past few months.
I, for one, love it. What’s going to move Web TV ahead is an experience that mirrors what users are already familiar with.
With the exception of past productions like “LonelyGirl” or “Kate Modern,” I’m not sure it’s exactly happened. It doesn’t mean there isn’t still room for talented amateur producers armed with a digital backdrop and a Sony Xacti camera. But it’s an A game more than ever now. I’m excited to see everybody rise to the challenge, because ultimately, this kind of stuff will spark Internet television forward.
As a viewer, the second that viewers see a host playing with his hair, making faces or rolling his eyes in an online show, they seem to check out. It makes me glad to see online TV evolve.
I’ve constantly found myself no less in love with the traditional broadcast process. All those moving parts that keep me up at night, the network executives who seem so hard to satisfy, the standards and the sky-high bar—I admit I secretly love it. It’s like taking on the black diamond run for a skier or snowboarder. You’re wound up out of your mind, but the run is still awesome.
There’s an expectation of quality that goes beyond average. For an entrepreneur playing in the TV space, it’s an enormous (and exciting!) challenge—even if one wipes out.
Here’s what I wonder, though: As Web TV slowly matures and potentially proliferates, will it make broadcast development and production any easier? Only time will tell. I can’t wait to find out!
P.S.: By the time I finished this article, my flight in Chicago was badly delayed. I’m now skipping that leg of the trip and heading straight to the other city I’m scheduled to land in. Ah, holiday travel!