Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Video Insider: Big Thoughts: Digital Hollywood's Impact On The Small Screen

Big Thoughts: Digital Hollywood's Impact On The Small Screen

I recently participated in the latest installment of Digital Hollywood in Santa Monica, Calif. Somehow, whether it's my chic New York sensibility, or lack of style, I always find myself out of sync with the dress code for these events. When I'm looking snappy in my Gimbels corduroy suit and checked flannel shirt, the rest of the assembled are e dressed in faded jeans and expensive button downs. And, when I arrive resplendent in khakis and blazer, everyone else has received the memo "Back to suits and ties." This past trip, however, I found myself in harmony with the collective seriousness of the crowd, decorated in contemporary suits, sans ties L.A. style.

Yet, while I looked the look, I couldn't walk the walk. Marching to the beat of Ezra Pound's injunction to make it new, the crowd pounded the last nails in the coffin of old media led triumphantly by the charge of online video.

In Hollywood, there's a weird hierarchy where aspirations sometimes trump accomplishments. Lacking an online film deal in the works, I was content to sell my old media television advertising wares to all who would listen.

The good news is that in the video revolution that hasn't happened yet, advertising escapes, prospers and lives in harmony. I repeat my question of "Who pays?" to support all this expensive distribution. But Digital Hollywood isn't the place for these conversations -- it's the place where dreams are made and a plastic badge can make you a producer.

I arrived back in New York contemplating that in a few years the Western canon of music could be held in the palm of your hand. I keep discussing this assertion, because experience in developing technology, taught me that delivering video to and playing it out of local storage is far easier than the network based isochronous play-out of high quality, 30-frames-per-second video.

It turns out I'm probably a bit further away from that dream than I thought -- it seems you can buy something online touted to be the largest record collection in the world containing about three million records and three hundred thousand CDs. My back of the envelope calculation suggests that the collection would the equivalent of 1.1 petabytes. Even with the ten-gigabyte disk drive arriving in 2013, it's more than I could juggle. Interestingly, just tackling the collected works at the Museum of Television and Broadcast, gets me to about 1.2 petabytes -- still not the world in a grain of sand. Lastly, my rough calculation for U.S. movies, assuming we made about 600 to 700 movies a year for the last 80 years, comes to about 1.9 petabytes.

Now, in the words of Don Rickles, please don't send me letters -- these are estimates meant only to demonstrate that large is still large.

We are still safe from USB Flash drive Armageddon, but not as safe as we might believe. Those four petabytes, while not portable, project to cost less than $10,000 by 2014. The big question that remains is not about online video versus traditional distribution methods, as cost and capacity will force most viewing to be local, the big question will be about consumption -- how do we satisfy ourselves amidst those petabytes, for sometimes endless choice leads to endless heartburn.

Seth Haberman is founder and CEO of Visible World, a leading provider of targeted television advertising solutions. Visible WorldÂ's suite of intelliSpot services enables advertisers, agencies, and media companies to customize and deliver addressable, interactive, and measurable ads. Prior to founding Visible World, Seth was the CEO of Montage Group.

Video Insider for Wednesday, May 13, 2009:

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