Google’s TV announcement yesterday could be a potential solution for video woes at newspapers.
Between 2004-2008, video was suppose to be one of the “saviors of journalism.” Plenty of newspaper shooters and CEO’s had high hopes for video, most of it was a flash in the pan.
In my opinion, video-journalism has been limited from the beginning because of the view environment. Just as mobile phones are not good for long form journalism, viewing long form video while sitting upright at work is not ideal. Watching videos at work or while on the move lends itself to watching quick short videos.
Looking at metrics from most videos, most people exit a video after viewing only 1:30 worth of footage. What would happen if they were in a better viewing environment? Would newspapers finally have the chance to create the long form video they’ve always wanted?
Bringing the internet to the living room is something that I’ve been wanting for a very long time. Apple TV did this previously, but in a very limited capacity, before and after it crippled Boxee from running on it’s hardware. Apple allowed Youtube and Flickr to stream to it’s device, but Google TV will search the entire internet.
What Google has done will open the door for newspapers and self publishers alike. No more viewing video on a small computer or cell phone screen when it was meant to be viewed on the big screen.
Newspapers who explore this option should look at the ability to run regular interactive commercials similar to what Hulu offers. Longer video opens the door for advertising options other than pre-roll or post-roll ads.
It would be interesting to see research done on how the same video compares in two different viewing environments, one on the computer and one on a flat screen TV.
This announcement also opens many new possibilities for publishing video on the internet. For example:
Small businesses can now publish longer serial dramas using Youtube channels.
Newspapers could publish in-depth videos exploring socio-economic issues in their viewing areas allowing individuals to contribute to the report.
Athletes and celebrities can publish their own interactive channels combining various social media outlets.
Political candidates can host their own interactive town hall meetings and fireside chats remotely, giving them the ability to travel to more places, saving time and money.
Google TV doesn’t have to be just a one-way device either. It can be interactive using social media tools as well. This could potentially opening the door for RPG/choose your own adventure webisodes.
Now more than ever newspapers need to start looking at Google as a distribution partner and not someone who’s “stealing their income.”