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Left Coast / Right Coast: We’re bombarded with content

One of the things the explosion of the Internet has brought to us is a bombardment 24/7 of content. What do I mean? Content is all that “stuff” we see not only on our TV, desktop computers and smart phones, but unfortunately everywhere we look.
Mike Gold living the dream in the Pacific Northwest. Photo credit: Nancy Gold.

By Mike Gold, a retired entrepreneur "living the dream in the Pacific Northwest."

One of the things the explosion of the Internet has brought to us is a bombardment 24/7 of content.

What do I mean? Content is all that “stuff” we see not only on our TV, desktop computers and smart phones, but unfortunately everywhere we look.

I challenge any of you to drive anywhere and not see advertising in just about everyplace we look. For example, just look at Community Transit buses. Over the last couple years, they’ve even gone to putting a full bus sized ad on one entire side of the bus – windows included!

Now that kind of advertising is not attached to what I will call “entertainment content.” That being any kind of (most often) video programming. With the advent of 300 cable TV channels, we have as a society – created the demand for a humongous amount of this type of entertainment.

On broadcast TV, where in most cases the content is paid for by selling commercial advertising, the ads are particularly jarring (at least they are to me). Just how much advertising for soap can you withstand? Me, not very much. Thank goodness we have a remote that allows me to mute the sound.

On many cable channels, the programming (entertainment) is still paid for by selling commercial advertising. But the premium channels (ex. HBO, Showtime, etc.) are ad free. But you have to willingly pay “extra” for those channels. Never-the-less, you can truly see entertainment, either ad free or with ads around the clock.

Now this does not include internet-based television such as YouTube. Over the past few years, even though YouTube (now owned by Google) receives over 300 hours of video every minute, YouTube (Google actually) figured out that some viewers would willingly pay for watching that content. So, while every episode of Seinfeld is available on YouTube, in most cases they ask you to pay to watch each complete episode (while you can watch specific “takes” of a Seinfeld episode for free).

What this has created is an insatiable demand for entertainment. So, companies such as Netflix ($15 billion alone) and Amazon TV are each spending billions of dollars a year on creating original content.

In fact, many people have cancelled their cable contracts in favor of two distinct services.

One, which is still free, uses a conventional TV antenna to watch the “free” broadcast TV channels.

The second is subscribing to specific Internet based streaming services. (Ex. Netflix, Amazon TV, and a half dozen new streaming services now coming on-line.)

Disney is one example. The theory being that a company like Disney “owns” so much original content – that it would justify buying that as a stand-alone premium streaming service. (Frankly, I can only stand so much Mickey Mouse Club.)

In fact, one casualty of these new channels is that both Netflix and Amazon TV are both losing agreements for lots of the content they now broadcast – as these new channels who own a lot of original content chose not to “renew” their agreements with these two streaming services. There’ll be a lot of fallout in the next few years over these colliding services.

Several companies have developed 3D glasses which are fed from the Internet. So, if conventional TV is insufficient, you can slip on a set of these glasses (very cumbersome – in my opinion) and be surrounded by video programming, gaming, etc. I simply do not trust these new devices as while you’re wearing and interacting with the content, you can easily walk off a cliff.

Last, as if we do not already have enough choices, there is a new set of channels ready to launch. One is called Quibi and another is called go90, which has already failed and shut down.

Both these (and others to come) are aimed at millennials – and mobile platforms (smart phones, etc.) The idea that these folks will subscribe to a service so that they can watch either original content or “made for Quibi” content in small snippets on their smart phones. So, God forbid, a millennial should not be able to watch TV for the 30 seconds they are at a red light behind the wheel.

Quibi has major backing – from Jeffrey Katzenberg (of Dreamworks SKG fame) with ex Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman as its CEO – so clearly some major players are backing these new channels.

I only wonder when this will cease. So, if I want to sit on the toilet for a peaceful few minutes I don’t have to watch any content.

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