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NewTeeVee Live: Who Cares Who’s Paying the Bills?

Today is Thanksgiving in the States. And, in addition to my family and friends, I am thankful for over-the-top video in all its varieties and monikers—Internet video, streaming video on demand, online TV, hybrid OTT/Pay TV, whatever you want to call it. Simply put— it’s exciting. It is fresh. It’s creative destruction. For an old telecom/IPTV salt like me, it’s welcome news.

For many of us, today is a day when we gather around the dinner table to feast on turkey. We meet with friends and relatives—some we see often and others only occasionally. There is the boring uncle who spends all his time talking about the weather or expounding on driving directions in excruciating detail. Then there is the nephew on break from college, sharing stories of parties and fun and a new-found interest in his studies both exotic and banal. His life is before him and he is beaming with a confidence that is perhaps a bit naïve, but still well-founded based on his energy and excitement.

So if TelcoTV was like the boring old uncle, NewTeeVee is the young nephew on break from college—still a man nonetheless full of intelligence and promise, but without a penny to his name and perhaps more reckless than realistic. If he studies hard in the next few years he can really make something of himself. If he parties too hard he might find himself broke and hopeless. He might just find himself mowing lawns for his uncle who, while perhaps living a boring life, owns his own home, car, and has a good steady job.

So that pretty much sums up my experiences in Orlando and San Francisco for the TelcoTV and NewTeeVee shows. Where TelcoTV was conservative and mature, NewTeeVee was progressive and youthful. NewTeeVee still brought in the big names from “old school” media powerhouses like CBS, Comcast, and Cisco, but interspersed were outrageous and hilarious interludes with kids who ooze NEW MEDIA. There was YouTube icon Ryan Higa, a goofball comedian who recently became the most subscribed channel. Then there was Michael Gregory from “Auto-Tune the News”, whose combination of dry humor and new-media street cred made him one of the most hilarious, and interesting, of the conference speakers.

I also felt like more of the OTT and new media power players were at NewTeeVee. Where the business model for IPTV is mostly understood, making the TelcoTV show feel routine by comparison, no one knows for sure how the business model for OTT video is going to work in the end. There are some profound questions yet to be answered. Not the least of which is how all the OTT content and services are going to be paid for? And that is what makes it interesting and why the mish-mash of old school/new school personalities at NewTeeVee made for some great cocktail hour chats. At one point I am talking to someone from the Writers Guild, then in turn to executives from Redbox, Netflix, Boxee, and then one of the lead protagonists in the net neutrality debate at the FCC. Very cool.

So while getting a ride home with your uncle might get you home safer (without getting lost), going on a road trip with your nephew might be a lot more fun. Which would you choose?

Be sure to check out my NewTeeVee session notes.

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