Monday, November 20, 2006


Four on Demand, yo.

And about time. Since the advent of Bittorrent and YouTube, the internet savvy viewer has had a kind of illegal Video On Demand-lite version. Complete series of major American trash (24, Prison Break, Lost) and British comedies (Extras, The IT Crowd, Snuff Box) are ten-a-penny on the internet and the demand is high. It is shocking, then, that it has taken a major broadcaster so long to capitalise on this market.

I am a very important person. I have places to go and people to see. You know how it is. I am not always available to watch the sophisticated, highbrow television that I desire to. Nor, sadly, can I afford the luxury of Sky+ and it's fancy-schmancy capabilities. Even so, I do love to watch television. But only when I want to, not when a television executive wants me to.

In 2003, Google made £3.2 billion. Money on the internet is not a new thing. This year, Google is expected by some to outperform a major terestial broadcaster on UK ad revenue by £100 million.

Yet it has taken this long to bring together a captive and demanding audience, a lucrative advertising model and a product. Even the BBC missed a step here. They are leaders in the world of new media, even if they are a hulking behemoth of an organisation, and they should have realised a few staff blogs and a handful of podcasts just ain't enough anymore.

Well congratulations to Channel 4 for having the intelligence and courage to take a great big step into this brave new world. The floodgates are now open, and hopefully much more happiness will come pouring through.

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