Tsunami is indeed the word that Pierre Karl P?ladeau used to describe what is happening to television at a Montreal conference yesterday. He is CEO of Quebecor Inc. which controls TV station TVA so he knows whereof he speaks. This tsunami is caused by the explosive growth of the Internet. As Alan Sawyer of IBM Consulting explained, people are increasingly using their Internet browsers, their Ipods or even their cell phones to enjoy what previously might have come via their TV or even their radio. It’s an interesting choice of words because the phrase Internet Tidal Wave was first used by Bill Gates in 1995 to describe how he saw the world evolving.
Two news items earlier in the week confirm the dramatic changes the Internet is bringing about. They’re both in market sectors heavily weighted towards the younger generation. However they are precursors of what is on the way for us all.
In the UK, No. 1 on the British Singles Chart is Crazy by the US duo, Gnorls Barkley. This No. 1 position is based solely on the 31,000 copies downloaded from the Internet. Before this, downloads only counted if the track was also available in stores. Now provided copies will be available in stores within a week, then the downloaded sales can count for a No. 1 rating.
In some ways, the second example is even more significant. Major studies in Hollywood are now selling movie downloads as soon as the films are brought out in DVD form. So movies such as King Kong and Brokeback Mountain can be downloaded. The films can be watched on a computer or via Microsoft Windows Media Center on a TV. They can also be burned on a disc. The films are protected by Windows Digital Rights Management software.
So if your business is threatened by the Internet Tidal Wave, then you should figure out how you get out of the way. Much better by far is to grapple with the challenges of riding the wave. That could lead to a very bright future.