What's on TV? [Wikicommons]

OTT is NOT "Democratizing Television"

Posted May 12, 2016
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Like everyone else, I get notices from LinkedIn of things that are happening there.

Congratulate Bob on his new job.

Joe would like to connect with you.

Stuff like that.

This morning, I got a notice that Zach Weiner (who I don't know but probably have a connection with) had posted an artilcle by Colin Petrie-Norris, CEO fo Xuma (who I also don't know and whose company I had never hitherto heard of), entitled:

A New Way to TV: How OTT is Enabling the Democratization of Television

Well, that is something that grabs my attention right away.

I am all for the Democratization of Television.

However, once I read the article, which you can read here for yourself, it was both disappointing and deeply enlightening.

Disappointing because Mr Petrie-Norris believes that demcratizing television means allowing anyone to watch whatever they want to watch, whenever they want to watch it.

To me, this is not a 'democracy'.  

I mean, it's about a 'democratic' as the Democratic People's Republic of China.  You get to vote, but only for the candidates we select for you.  Likewise with OTT. You get to watch programs when you want, but only the programs that 'we' have made for 'you'.

Democracy this is not.

Let's call it non linear dictatorship.

The notion behind a 'free press' is not that you get to read whatever newspaper you want whenever you want to read it.  The notion behind a free press is that you get to PUBLISH whatever you want, whenever you want to publish it.

Now THAT'S what I call a Democracy - at least a Democracy of television.

But TV doesn't work that way, and it doesn't want to work that way. It has no interest in hearing from you. It wants you to be passive consumers of its content (linear or on demand, it's all the same).  We make it.  You watch it.

This is important.

The new technology, particularly of smart phones, has put broadcast quality cameras, edits and 'share' capacity in everyone's hands.

Everyone now has the power to MAKE CONTENT, not just watch it.

Now there's a revoution.

There's a democracy!!!

Of course, not everyone is going to be the next Steven Spielberg.

But some will.

Some will.

That is, by the way, where great writers have come from in the age of print.  Not employees of McGraw Hill, but people with a story to tell sitting at home with a pencil and paper.

Now, the iPhone replaces the pencil and the video replaces print.

What will the democratization of video result in?

I have no idea.

But my bet is if you unleash a few hundred million people to create TV shows on their own, which they can do, the odds are you are going to get a few that are a damn sight better than what we have now.

That, Mr. Petrie-Norris, is what a democratic revolution looks like.

Not video on demand.



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