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Published on April 24th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson

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Predicting Stunning Internet Video Growth Doesn’t Mean It Will Happen





There was a post headline that caught my eye earlier today where it said that “Industry kingpins predict stunning growth in online video“.

What the post was referring to was regrading some testimony being given to a Senate committee from “kingpins” like Barry Diller, a former Hollywood studio and television bigshot, Susan Whiting, vice chair of television ratings organization Neilsen, Blair Westlake, vice president for media and entertainment at Microsoft, and Paul Misener, vice president for global public policy at Amazon.com.

Across the board these big shots all said the same thing the future looks incredible for the growth of online video, or in the words of Westlake “..we are only in the early innings of the beneficial changes that consumers that yet to see and experience”.

That’s really nice sediment, except there is one big problem with this idyllic believe in an online video world exploding forth to the benefit of all.

It won’t happen.

Both Diller and Westlake did manage to take off the rose colored glasses long enough to point to two separate issues, major issues, that this kind of video future is facing.

Diller’s point:

“We cannot compete in the world with the 16th or 18th best communications infrastructure,” he said.

Westlake’s point:

But he stressed that universal access to high-speed broadband was “the single most important issue shaping the future of video.”

Both those seemingly different problems actually point to one problem – the carriers, they are the major bottleneck towards any kind of “online video explosion” future. Actually there are two with the other coming from the content producers like television networks and movie companies but the problem they cause is not the one being addressed here.

You see there is no incentive for the carriers to change the current status quo, especially as long as shareholder’s hold more sway over the company than the consumer or even the technological future of the country.

Most definitely the communication infrastructure desperately needs to be improved but again, why bother when the carriers can maintain what is already in place and continually maximize the money being made of the consumers by creating a false market of scarcity – bandwidth scarcity. Create tiered plans, institute download caps, lobby politicians to crush any localized plans for state or county broadband installation.

In other words make themselves the only game in town for which we pay a premium price for less than the service 18 other countries in the world get.

It might be nice to dream about unlimited world-class broadband access and the ability to stream video wherever and whenever we want; but the simple fact is that as long as the US broadband carriers continue to control politicians the way they do, and shareholders matter more than consumers or the US’s place on the world stage then this idea as put forward by Diller and others is nothing but a fantasy.

A nice fantasy but a fantasy all the same.

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About the Author

Steven has been around the tech world long enough to see most of the stuff we think of cool happen before which leads to a certain bit of cynicism that has contributed to him being known as the cranky old fart of the Internet. Besides sharing some of the goodness that he finds with you here at 42x you can also find him curating some digital goodness at Winextra (tech type stuff) and Rotten Gumdrops (for your daily dose of WTF).



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