News Flash: The Brits just kicked our butts

May 2, 2007

One of my very best friends is a Brit named Paul Cogdale. No matter what we’d talk about, Paul would start sentence after sentence out with “At the end of the day…” A couple years back, at the end of the day, Paul moved back to England. I’ve only seen him a couple of times since.

I couldn’t help but think of Paul yesterday when I read a story in the Wall Street Journal entitled, ITV Unveils Broadband TV Service. You see, Paul and I always had the debate over whose country was vastly superior over the other. It didn’t matter the topic, though if we were talking Cricket, I gladly conceded. I just don’t get the point.

Well, yesterday it became more than Cricket. The Brits have won the race to bring over-the-air television to the web. Game over. Why? Because ITV is the U.K.’s largest commercial terrestrial broadcaster (think ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC) and they are going LIVE on the INTERNET. While we don’t have to summon Paul Revere just yet, there is something important unfolding here. ITV has (and rightly so) recognized that broadband penetration has exceeded over-the-air, and in many cases, cable penetration. Good for them. The British have won.

Yesterday I fielded a couple of questions from Industry types asking me, “Why don’t we just use TitanCast to put all of our stations up on the web?” There is a long answer and there is a short answer. The short answer, ironically, is to ask the same rhetorical question in return, “Why don’t we just use TitanCast to put all of our stations up on the web?” Good question.

At the end of the day, we should use TitanCast to put all of our stations up on the web. Why not combine the two most powerful mediums on the face of the earth…wait…in the universe? The answer is to do an exact air-to-web broadcast replication of over-the-air broadcast signals. We do that. We invented that. With TitanCast everyone wins.

In the States we have the network-affiliate distribution model which ensures territorial exclusivity. This is a very good thing. It essentially means that TV stays FREE. So then the question begs, what happens if a person takes their laptop to another market? This is both a legal question and a philosophical one. Should we care? Probably not, especially if it means, at the end of the day, that our 2,000 FREE over-the-air broadcasters lose out to upstart dotcom media entrants.

Still, the notion of a person picking up their laptop and traveling is quickly becoming a moot point. We cannot ignore the fact that the vast majority of emerging devices are location-aware. Location-aware means, for example, that your devices, i.e. laptop, PDA, and cell phone are GPS-enabled. That means when you combine TitanCast (exact air-to-web broadcast replication) with location-aware devices you can deliver TV…LIVE TV.

My hat is off to the British. Well done… Jolly good… At the end of the day, the Brits won. In England over-the-air broadcasting and over-the-web broadcasting are now one and the same. Good for them. That is the way it should work. As for Paul, he is probably sitting in his flat right now tossing back a couple of pints and watching his favorite television stations over-the-web….LIVE. He’s probably watching Cricket…