The "digital divide" normally refers to the people who do not have access to the internet and the people who do. There is another divide that I have noticed very recently; the people who use the internet and the people who don’t where there is (almost) equal access. On two different occasions last week I was asked to explain to two different groups of people what You Tube is and what Podcasts are and what’s the difference between them and My Space.
There is a Survey:
Video sharing site YouTube has taken online viewing to the masses
The online video boom is starting to eat into TV viewing time, an ICM survey of 2,070 people for the BBC suggests.
Some 43% of Britons who watch video from the internet or on a mobile device at least once a week said they watched less normal TV as a result.
The divide is often an age divide. I find the figure 43% astonishingly high – but very encouraging. I watch some programmes on my PC – but no more than one a week. And the media companies are off and running.
In the UK alone, and only in the past few days:
- Channel 4 is to offer a "catch-up" service for viewers by offering much of its programming online for 30 days after transmission for 99p per episode.
- BSkyB has struck a deal with MySpace to make the first two episodes of the new season of Lost available to watch online, free of charge.
- Sky Movies is no longer exclusive to your television! All Sky Digital customers who subscribe to the full Movies package can now download Sky Movies onto a PC – it’s totally legal and for no extra charge.
Also recently in work, we have been getting requests from people who have missed The Amazing Mrs Pritchard have been writing to us to ask where they can download the series. (We manage the web site, not make the programme.)
Over the last year or so I have been telling programme makers not to limit their thinking to just TV or radio, but to be "platform agnostic". I’m not always sure where that though leads, but clearly some in the audience are thinking differently about access to (mainly) video.
BBC plans to launch the i-Player next April or there abouts. I’m involved only on the fringes, but it is going to be a major shift for scheduling and contractual agreements and audience access. I’m still willing to be pursuaded away from my long held arguement that we are essentially lazy viewers and want to have a scheduler set out our evening viewing. But the other arguement is obvious that we have only one pair of eyes, and while some of can read a book or a magazine while watching TV, it’s damn hard to watch a video and a TV programme at the same time.And it is there that the challenge for broadcasters lies.