The Revolution May Well Be Televised

Joe Trippi wrote that the revolution will not be televised. Perhaps it will be, but not in the manner in which he referred. The Chicago Tribune bills it this way:

“…a blurring of the distinction between the TV screen and computer monitor, and yet another blow to free viewers from the tyranny of network schedules.

What they are talking about is the recent marriage of Google and CBS in their attempt to create a major new broadcast network. From the article:

“Ultimately, we will be living in a world of the smart television … where you can do anything from the television or the PC via one device,” said Robert Routh, a media analyst at Jefferies & Co. “This is the first step in the convergence that has been talked about for years by major media companies.

“I think it’s going to be much sooner than people expect,” Routh said. “All of these technologies, with the exception of digital television, have come dramatically faster than anyone anticipated. … Cable modems were ubiquitous in a matter of no time.”

For me, cable modems are the ultimate clincher. While we have the historic family home in north Alabama, I’ve had to rent an apartment in the Highland Avenue area of Birmingham due to the escalation of local political activities in which I am involved. In addition to rent, I have to consider the cost of utilities like telephone, bandwidth and television signals. The lowest cost solution for me was clearly a cable modem and VOIP. I’ve taken a junker box (E-Machines, if I remember correctly — not that it matters, anyway) and thrown a $49 TV card into it for my primary video source for cable television. I already owned a large monitor designed for computer presentations for mid-sized audiences, an old SoundBlaster card and plenty of speakers. While my television and Internet are already significantly integrated, Google just added to the mix:

“For video producers and anyone with a video camera, Google Video will give you a platform to publish to the entire Google audience in a fast, free and seamless way,” Google co-founder Larry Page said in a statement.

The involvement of CBS, which will sell commercial-free reruns at $1.99 a pop and share revenue with Google, is the latest entrepreneurial move promising to alter the relationship between TV viewers and TV networks.

While the business world is rightfully looking at the decent 70-30 split (the same split I’ve successfuly used with medical practices) on revenue-sharing, I’m looking at the political angle. The first quote I used from the Chicago Tribune article only gets half the picture: The new Google product may not only free viewers from the “the tyranny of network schedules”, it may free us from the tyranny of the networks altogether.

As a former Campaign Manager/Communications Director for two recent Libertarian presidential campaigns, I just gave the new service a shot with some of our old television commercials. The two Russo advertisments were already uploaded (by whom, I don’t know); I just uploaded a few Badnarik commercials. They are currently in Google’s verification status, but will likely be approved before most of you read this article.

To check out the Libertarian stuff already out there for free viewing, simply visit this link. There are a lot more more libertarian videos out there (but not yet on Google), ranging from the Pollie Award winning Steve Kubby ad to the ubiquitious local cable access spots people e-mail to me daily.

While they’ve not yet approved my entries, Google’s guidelines seem clear enough. If you have the rights (I used the Campaign Manager and Communications Director authority angles) to the video, you can upload it for the world to see. While I have friends on Yahoo’s front pages, I have no inside scoop as to how Google will take my upload requests. Based on my previous positive experiences with Google News, I expect a satisfactory outcome.

The most time consuming part of the process for me was remembering my Google login and password. For those of you with the rights, let’s get those videos out there for the world to see. Unless they are stupid, Google is hoping to make megabucks from this venture, and they will deserve it if their new project works. By the some token, they may be freeing us from the near monopoly and clearly collusive power of the major video media networks — which would be a major revolution in the world of communications.

A Related idea from Mike Horn:
To carry on the thought of blurring the lines between TV and the computer monitor here is a flash animation generated by the “Museum of Media History,” a fictional entity from the future which explains “Googlezon” and its release of the system EPIC. From the EPIC 2015 transcript:

The “Evolving Personalized Information Construct” is the system by which our sprawling, chaotic mediascape is filtered, ordered and delivered. Everyone contributes now — from blog entries, to phone-cam images, to video reports, to full investigations. Many people get paid too — a tiny cut of Googlezon’s immense advertising revenue, proportional to the popularity of their contributions.

EPIC produces a custom contents package for each user, using his choices, his consumption habits, his interests, his demographics, his social network — to shape the product.

I learned about this simple presentation, released in 2004, while working for a local newspaper. It made all the reporters and our editor very uncomfortable.

Flash animation: EPIC 2015

9 Comments
  1. I was actually reading an article on the up-and-coming Google ventures before I saw this post. Your on top of sh*t Stephen that’s for sure.

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0%2C1895%2C1908998%2C00.asp

    I think it’s interesting how technology can help shape the future. So are you imagining the sharing of commercials promoting libertarianism, debates? How could we benefit the most from this? With the MSM continuing to ignore 3rd parties, it’s all that much more important that libertarians take avantage of every new tool available to us. It would be nice if everyone had fiber optic in there homes already. :o)

  2. Another article speculating on Google’s strategy:

    http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20060105.html

    January 5, 2006
    A Commercial Runs Through It
    Google’s Grand Plan to Take Over TV Advertising
    By Robert X. Cringely

    “…If I’m right, Google’s current business will have been nothing more than a great test-bed for what will turn out to be their real business, which will be IP-TV ads. Program choice is just the Trojan horse that will be used to sell this to the viewers; the essence of the IP-TV buildout is the fully domesticated consumer.

    Far scarier, of course, is that Google will be handling all political advertising, and wil eventually be helping networks customize their news offerings, too.”

    I replied:

    “If we have to get into a bidding war over early voting period and election day time slots if and when we finally raise enough funds for television advertising, we will effectively be shut out of reaching voters via
    ‘broadcast’ means.”

  3. If we’re smart, we’ll grab this tiger by the tail. It reminds of the Republican Party’s (I think that’s correct) campaign domination because they learned to effectively use information mailers, name lists, target-groups, etc. The LP could follow that campaign model utilizing this new platform.

  4. I much prefer the media in the much more open environment of the Internet than controlled by the five big television networks, as there is virtually no monopolistic power on the net.