Every dog has his day

September 9, 2010

Remember 1999? Prince had immortalized it back in 1982. Monica Lewinsky was the big interview for Barbara Walters. American Beauty ruled the box office. Michael Jordan retired. Wayne Gretzky retired. A little company called Research in Motion (RIM) got us thinking about Blackberrys.

For me, 1999 was the end of a three year journey that had started when I first learned about Digital Broadcast Satellite television (DBS), more commonly known by the two companies in the market: DISH Network and DirecTV. Like any entrepreneur my journey started with a moment of invention, a pen and a napkin. By 1999 the DBS industry, major networks and local television affiliates were all using my technology.

Keynote speeches are tough. People expect them to be as much entertainment as information. Over the years I’ve had a few hits, a few near misses and one utter abomination. Through them all I learned two things:  1) I am not funny, and 2) when all else fails, tell the people what the future looks like.

Here’s the transcript from my 1999 talk entitled: The Entertainment Experience of 2010.

  1. The entertainment experience will be comprised of disparate content sources that consumers will combine and customize.
  2. In-home entertainment servers will manage consumer choice.
  3. The entertainment server will also be the data store for family audio and video assets.
  4. Consumers may never physically come into contact with their digital assets.
  5. The average household will be watching, on average, 12 over-the-air channels without the help of cable.
  6. Wireless IP delivery of content throughout the household will put entertainment content, synchronously, in every room. This content will be on-demand and interactive.
  7. Broadcasting will become two-way giving rise to better programming, more targeted ads and exact viewer metrics.
  8. Personal Video Recorders (what DVRs were first called), while becoming prevalent between now and then, will ultimately suffer the fate of the 8-track. IPTV will replace TiVo.
  9. Consumers won’t care about the source of the content that they consume, only that they can get it.
  10. When traveling, consumers will take their television programming with them.
  11. Out-of-market television will be combined with in-market advertising creating a shift in how stakeholders “share” eyeballs.
  12. Every second of video shot by local news teams will be made available worldwide. A market will be made for cutting room floor content.
  13. Market research, as we know it today, will give way to real-time and interactive viewer          feedback.

I don’t look so dumb today, but back then I remember the audience clapping politely and smiling sympathetically as I returned to my seat. The next guy up was going to talk about TiVo and that’s who they had come to see. Needless to say, his take on the future was a little different than mine.