Online TV Ready for Prime Time (catchy title, right?)

I don’t have cable TV at home, and our only TV is a 13” model that is stored in a trunk somewhere. Yet, as mainstream television comes online, little by little I have found myself watching more television. Today I want to review how I watch this programming, and how these companies are capturing my attention in ways they never could have before.

These are the sites I have been using:

I have found each to be easy to use, compatible with Macs, and with the following benefits:

  • TV, when I want it:
    I can watch any show, anytime – no need to know their programming schedule or set a Tivo. Stations have to realize that my other alternative is what I have done for years: simply not watch.
  • Ability to multitask:
    Since I watch television on my computer, I am able to multitask, surfing the web while I watch.

  • Access to long tail content:
    It is easy to find content I appreciate, not just “hit shows.” This is particularly true with Hulu, which has programming from the last half century!

  • I am becoming a part of their community:
    Giving the content away for free means that I am an active part of NBC, CBS and ABC’s community. There is no tempation to pilfer through bit-torrent or try to search for bad quality videos on sites like YouTube, that caters to user-generated content. This branding can be leveraged as they roll out new services and content.

  • I am being advertised to, and I don’t mind!
    Besides a few ads that play within the episodes, many of these players have ads surrounding the video window. So I am simply staring at an ad for a half hour or hour at a time, and don’t mind at all since it is unobtrusive.
  • A new entertainment destination:
    By posting more and more content, these sites are becoming destinations for surfing for entertainment, not just targeted viewing.

Overall, this is an interesting example of how the delivery mechanism does not inherently define the content. In addition, these brands are just discovering the opportunity value of the web.