What does the Capitol Broadcasting and Decisionmark Apollo Project mean to the future of local television?

February 6, 2006

Simple. It means local broadcasters can start to embrace the Internet as a viable way to reach their viewers. In the end, that is all local broadcasters really want  — to reach their own viewers. As Jim Goodmon put it at our joint press conference last week, “Our viewers can get us with an antenna. Our viewers can get us on cable and on satellite.” He went on to add, “They ought to be able to get us over-the-web.” His point: however a viewer chooses is how they ought to get his signal.

Brooks Barnes of the Wall Street Journal broke the story of our alliance with Capitol Broadcasting the morning before our press conference in a story entitled: As TV Networks Use Web, Affiliates Seek Piece of the Action. Like when WRAL became WRAL-DT in June of 1996, the Apollo Project with WRAL is poised to be the catalyst for changing the way broadcasters interact with their viewers. I am proud to count WRAL as the first local television affiliate in the nation to TitanCast.

Announcing the TitanCast Technology

Jim Goodmon is right. Viewers should be able to get his signal however they choose. That’s why, nearly a decade ago, we started building a technology to replicate a local television station’s over-the-air signal over-the-web. The technology is in place. The data is in place. The precedent has been set. The patents are in place. Let’s do it. It is time. Here’s my pledge: By the end of 2007, we will have every local television station in America TitanCasting. Broadcasters and viewers can meet on the Internet and we’re going to make sure that happens.

How does a station TitanCast? Simple. Nothing happens with the TitanCast technology unless a viewer is actually entitled to the content in the first place. Because our technology rests squarely between a local station and its viewers, only those households which could otherwise receive the content over-the-air are able to receive it over-the-web. The Internet and local broadcasting can co-exist.

Here’s how viewers and broadcasters will meet on the Web in the not too distant future:

Point, click and watch – FTTH (Fiber To The Home) has already reached speeds of 100 Mb/s in Japan and Korea. We’ve seen various trials in the U.S. reach the same speeds, and it is safe to assume that consumers will continue to demand not only more speed but more content over-the-web. The ability for a viewer to point, click and watch local television is as certain as death and taxes.

Point, click and download – TiVo taught us that viewers would record shows to watch later. The Apple/iTunes deal with ABC taught us that viewers would use the web to download their favorite shows. Our TitanCast technology will ensure viewers can go to their favorite TV station websites and download their favorite shows. Perhaps it will be free with ads. Perhaps it will be a monthly fee or a per show fee, I don’t know. What I have said is, let’s let the market decide. As long as the right content is reaching the right viewers, we’ve made a huge leap in the right direction.

Point, click, record and download later — That’s right. TiVo without TiVo. Apple without Apple. Google without Google. The Apollo project with WRAL sets the stage for recording your favorite shows and then downloading them later. And why not? The TitanCast technology was designed to bring broadcasters closer to their viewers and vice versa. Why should viewers have to buy a separate device, or pay their cable company for a DVR, or pay Google $1.99 when broadcasters have everything we need to let viewers decide what, when and where to watch?

TitanCasting essentially will make every IP-enabled device a television. TV’s are becoming PC’s and PC’s are becoming TV’s. Convergence is upon us, and while for some it came too fast, that cannot said about us. TitanCast stands ready to usher in a new era of television.