TV channels on the Web
September 17, 1999
by Cameron Crouch
SAN FRANCISCO (IDG) -- "The Internet is the third broadcasting revolution," says Robert Wussler, cofounder of CNN, former president of CBS TV, and current chair of two Internet ventures.
The television veteran spoke of the Internet's role as a broadcast medium at the Internet Content Conference here Wednesday. He reflected on the previous "revolutions," television and cable, led by entrepreneurs like William S. Paley of CBS and Ted Turner.
Comparatively, "the Internet landscape is much less defined," Wussler says. "Instant billionaires are creating the new media wave and defining the future."
But TV is still part of the action. Already, the four primary networks -- ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox -- are making money from "dot-com subsidiaries and joint ventures," Wussler says. "Almost all traditional media organizations have in one way or another migrated to the Internet."
Taking TV companies online requires realizing the value of the combination, suggests June Herold, director of programming and development at Discovery Networks Online. For the Discovery Channel, the unprecedented audience for Discovery.com's Titanic coverage demonstrated the site's potential as a joint broadcast medium.
To grow on the Web, a national network must create new and unique content that supports and extends its television properties. For example, ABCnews.com is building on its personalities by launching a Web-only live interactive show with Sam Donaldson this fall.
MTV, which helped move music to television, is trying to keep up with the music boom online. The company combined its Web sites, MTV.com and VH1.com, with the music content site Sonic.net to create MTV Interactive.
MTV targets 12- to 24-year-olds, and VH1 aims for the 24 and older crowd. But Sonic.net is a music destination for anyone who loves music, says Justin Hertz, vice president of MTV Interactive.
In fact, MTV has long experimented with convergence services for its Internet-savvy audience. Its former Yak Live program broadcast real-time America Online chat room comments about videos. This fall, MTV launches Web Riot, a game show that pits studio contestants and 25,000 online participants.
"The Internet provides an opportunity to create new kinds of entertainment specific to the medium," Hertz says. For the recent MTV Video Music Awards, video directors worked with digital artists to produce Web coverage.
Convergence of the boxes
If the television is the easy, dumb box, and the computer is the difficult, smart box, then convergence will have to combine some of both, Wussler notes.
As television people eye the Web as a new broadcast medium, some Internet folk have all but written off television for Internet content.
"I think interactive television has been dead for ten years and will be dead for another ten," says Naveen Jain, former Microsoft executive and current chair and chief executive officer of Infospace.com. "The television is not an information device. We watch television to be entertained."
Regardless of its future, television, with the Internet, offers increasing numbers of channels and choices. As Wussler puts it, "Television is king today, but content will be king tomorrow."
Rewind, replay and unwind with new high-tech TV devices
RELATED IDG.net STORIES:
Will the Internet kill network TV?
Discovery Channel Online
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.