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Friday, August 18, 2006

 

Current.tv doing better than expected http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/entertainment/4122019.html

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, August 18, 2006 permalink View blog reactions
The Houston Chron has a short piece about Gore's Current.TV project, noting that it is making a profit, and more importantly:

But the media landscape has shifted in the past year as video-sharing sites like YouTube.com revealed an audience for viewer-created entertainment. Current has since led the industry in the commercialization of that concept, with its viewers creating ads for its leading advertisers. Half of Toyota and Sony's commercials on Current are made by the people watching them, giving advertisers a window into the mind-set of the coveted younger demographic.


Why is this newsworthy, you ask?

 

Remember that Current.TV initially only went to 17 million homes; It's now in 30 million homes. Further growth is inevitable, and significant considering that YouTube's entire registered user base is only 6 million. And all the hype about the media center aside, people still watch more TV than they do videos on the internet.

The article addresses this point directly, but then goes on to make a mistake in my opinion:

But while Current may have been ahead of the curve on this trend, the next challenge it confronts is tougher: Many in the channel's targeted 18- to 34-year-old demographic may not be able to afford the premium-tier service of some digital cable systems, where Current is carried. Critics continue to ask:

Is Current focused on the wrong medium?

Current "caught the (viewer-created content) trend early, but it is kind of surfing by them," said John Higgins, business editor at Broadcasting & Cable magazine, a trade publication for the television industry. "These guys (at Current) had all the right ideas and all the same machinery in place that YouTube did, but they didn't quite do it. Lightning struck 10 feet to the left of them."

Hyatt said Current is trying to position itself as the thinking person's YouTube — a "premium offering" where the best of user-generated content will gravitate to TV.

Part of Current's strategy is rooted in the belief that while YouTube may be serving up 100 million videos a day to 6 million visitors, the 18-to-34 set still watches and appreciates a lot of television.

But while that age group watches an average of three hours and 55 minutes a day, that's far less than older folks watch.

The over-50 crowd sees nearly six hours daily, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Yet, in another sign that media consumption habits are unpredictable, the audience for short videos may not be as young as perceived. The highest percentage of YouTube's audience is between 35 and 49 years old, according to June measurements by Nielsen/NetRatings.


However, those 18-35 year olds are in households that overlap with the older demographic. And, the false competition with YouTube that the article tries to insist on is not neccessarily required; YouTibe's revenue stream is totally separate from Current, one could easily see Current do a regular Best of the Web segment from YouTube. YT would get free advertising to a much larger audience and Current would get content. Theres nothing inherently adversarial about the two markets.

Why Current matters is because if the idea takes off, it becomes a true video-blog arena where anyone can have their say. TV does have better penetration than the web. The key to an informed public debate is people, debating in public, and there's simply no better medium than television.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.