Bill Gates announces the death of (network) TV at CES : New gizmos, Gadgets gazette Blog

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Bill Gates announces the death of (network) TV at CES

Bill Gates announces TV deathThe death of TV, really? Quite possibly, yes. Microsoft didn’t say that of course, but if you put all the pieces announced tonight together, you come to a pretty obvious conclusion rather quickly. Network TV, at least as we know it, will die.

Here are the puzzle pieces, see if you come to the same conclusion I did:

At tonight’s CES 2008 Keynote, Microsoft made a big announcement: they’ve got 1 million set top boxes for its Mediaroom. This is 6 months ahead of schedule for Microsoft. They’ve done this pretty quietly now, but at this rate they are adding 2 IPTV subscribers every minute.

Making TV yours
Let’s say you love Nascar and follow a particular driver. With Microsoft’s partnership with NASCAR, your Mediaroom can enhance your viewing pleasure by filtering content about your favorite driver. Maybe instead of following the cars around the oval, you get to see how your team does in the pits. Sports are the easiest to make a quick connection on how powerful this kind of added value TV is but how about politics? Microsoft is working with CNN for election coverage, again with Mediaroom filtering content to your taste.

Xbox live
With their 10 millionth user, the Xbox gaming community is huge. But it is more than that, tonight Bill announced a new partnership with MGM, ABC and the Disney Channel to bring content to the Xbox live community. The Xbox live community access to on-demand content is growing by leaps and bounds

Back in May, Microsoft bought online advertising firm AQuantive for a whole heap of cash ($6 billion). Bill reiterated again tonight how committed Microsoft is to becoming an advertising company as well -ala Google.

Here is how I piece this all together. Consumers have become DVR addicted, proving they want on-demand programming. There are just so many hours in a day to watch TV and consumers show a preference in getting to chose that content. Microsoft is getting dangerously close to moving away from network content, perhaps servicing their own ads where there used to be the networks or local stations. Microsoft will one day not need programming from the major networks, heck I bet threading together a “today’s best” YouTube channel would get more viewers than some stations. With all these pieces Microsoft has the potential to be even more powerful. With advertising support, Microsoft could even become a studio of sorts.

Many of the concepts aboves are still in “scenario"stage and on display at Microsoft’s booth.


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