Paying for the Good Stuff

It’s the end of another year. I think we can all agree, 2005 was a year of broadband and rich media. Video is now on our mobile phones, iPods, and Web sites. There seems to be no end to the proliferation of video and other forms of streaming media.

Progress marches on at a brisk pace, and we have so much video to choose from. Here are a few resources to guide you to better video:

  • Blinkx.This is one video archiving player doing it right. It has over 50,000 clips of current content from a large number of top-notch sources, and its interface makes it easy to preview and select video.

  • Current TV. This is Al Gore’s pilot project to put information, and control of it, in the hands of the common man. There’s some great programming here, some you may never see on TV.
  • BlogTelevision.net. Here’s a great source of entertaining bits from the world of blogs.
  • Vidblogs.com. If you’re in the mood for some random content, this is probably the best way to get your vid on.

We have to face it, people will continue putting themselves on the Web, that just isn’t going away. In fact, it’s only going to get worse, and maybe that’s what we deserve as we proceed through this growth curve.

The coming year will also have lot to show us, and we can learn a lot from the self-made movie directors out there creating all sorts of dramas, comedy, and random acts of humanity for all to see.

Five years ago, many people were jumping on the Internet bandwagon and trying to make a fast buck during the boom. Parties were thrown, promises were made, tchotchkes were handed out like candy. In the end, we were left with a great access tool. Today’s video boom is a little different. Hordes of people are getting themselves in front of millions of other people, and we’re seeing a lot of bad images we didn’t ask for. It’s going to be less of a boom and more of an orgy.

But who’s going to pay for that TV without the commercials?

In the coming year, video will grow; it’s inevitable. What we haven’t seen are true ad models that have caught up with the amount of content now available free on the Web. Recently, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) set new guidelines for broadband video advertising online. Most of the focus is to create a level of consistency in how advertising is incorporated and presented in a video experience.

It’s great to see there’s some acknowledgment of the infusion of video into the Web, but these are only guidelines, not a panacea meant to monetize the format.

No one has a crystal ball to predict how the tab will be paid for all this content, especially when it’s interesting stuff. We must keep in mind that part of every revolution (or evolution) has some aspect of freedom incorporated in it. We should enjoy the free show. Free content, free unedited video, will always be, well, free, but when the really good content starts getting better, things will change.

One can never be bored by all that’s happening in the online space: new trends facilitated by technology, fueled by the masses, and shared by all will sometime, somewhere, have to be paid for. Until then, enjoy the show.

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