A sofa is way more comfortable than a chair. Naturally, if given a chance to watch your favorite programming from the comfort of your loveseat, you would do so. But typically, you grab the remote and your choices include the TIVO list or TV's live offering. Now with the introduction of AppleTV, Boxee & GoogleTV into the consumer's living room, you'll be able to dial up ANYTHING on demand; whether that is Facebook, Primetime's hottest, or even a YouTube video. Even better, you no longer have to deal with crackling computer speakers or huddling with your ten co-workers to watch that viral video everyone's talking about. Instead, go home, turn on your television, log onto your favorite video portal and finally catch Lost from the very beginning.
Connected television sets will advance programming options from hundreds of channels to thousands overnight. Like all industries, this game-changer will create quality through competition. The playing field will be leveraged with the opportunity to share long-form web sensations in the consumer's native viewing environment. More options translate into enhanced viewer control.
Fear not: web content saturating your TV does not imply a decline in quality. Production costs have dropped significantly over the years, and a lower barrier to entry has created a level playing field. FOX's House shoots on an HD camera, but so do indy TV teams. Small production outfits are utilizing the same equipment as the big boys. Moreover, celebrities are willing to experiment on the web. And with audiences responding to celebrity and non-celebrity-driven material alike, quality content remains the deciding factor.
The definition of "network" is also evolving. Websites like FunnyOrDie.com become programming choices like NBC and FOX. With the networks and the web alongside each other, what rises to the top is truly... the best. As VHS rentals in the '80s opened new distribution paths for indie movies, web-enabled TV will fuel an innovative market of content from independent television producers. With all these choices, you will now be able to customize your evening line-up more than ever.
Independent producers are at an advantage. There are no focus groups or Vice Presidents giving "notes" and censoring creative material. The middleman is gone. Independent production teams will write, produce, and publish their own content for a larger audience than ever. What you see is what they wrote. For web series 'Road to the Altar,' no one said an inter-racial couple wouldn't fly. The process happens rapidly -- production teams can conceive, shoot, and post at will. WebTV is expected to enjoy this unfiltered process and the result will be edgy, more personal storytelling.
Thus far, the web's short-form programming has aimed to satisfy the world of the laptop. If you needed five minutes to decompress after a meeting, we'll provide the laughs. The web audience is a discerning one, providing critical feedback at a keystroke.
The web is a formidable playground for our web saplings, and while in their infancy stage, we can gauge audience feedback and interact with fans. The collective independent television community seems excited to stretch their legs into a long-form arena and aim at tapping into your primetime experience. With access to play in your living room, web programming will surely thrive by allowing us independent producers the opportunity to open up our stories and fully explore our characters.
While we await the lifting of those floodgates, check out www.WorkingBug.com, and trust we'll be coming to your living room soon.
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