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Dec 28 2015

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Video Killed the Radio Star

Remember that (kind of annoying) pop song from 1980 by a group called The Buggles (a one-hit wonder)? But that song that actually perfectly captured the impact that technology was having, even back then in the “dark ages”. Innovations, inventions and machines have certainly changed the way we live, work, play and consume media arts. I can still remember the days of begging to stay up until 10 p.m. on Sunday night so that I could listen to Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40” countdown. That was my only sure way to be able to hear some of my favorites on the radio, like the long version of “American Pie”. My kids will never know the thrill of hearing your favorite song FINALLY come on to the radio because they have always had music instant gratification at their fingertips with their MP3 players, iPods and now iPhones. It also got me thinking about how under our current standards, with video being as big a piece of the production as the music itself, that musicians now need to be not only talented but also attractive. How many talents are we missing out there because someone might have the musical skill but not necessarily the good visuals for a multi-media market?

But I totally digress. I actually started thinking about this after an exchange of emails on our team regarding the latest Pew study that showed what a huge factor video has been in driving broadband adoption. The recently released report indicates that mobile broadband has reached the point where consumers who can choose only one platform prefer mobile broadband to fixed broadband. No surprise there, given our mobile society and if a consumer is only given one preference. But the report also highlights that recognition of the value of fixed broadband is going up, particularly as cord-cutting on traditional cable TV leads to consumers needing to access video in other ways and finding the strict data caps that come with mobile platforms to be pricey. When given a choice, people prefer to use their smartphone for getting in touch with family or friends but a device that uses a home broadband connection for watching video. Roughly 69 percent of Americans, per this study, indicate that not having a home high-speed internet connection would be a major disadvantage to finding a job, getting health information or accessing other key information. That number has increased from 56 percent in 2010. My daughters are pros at their OTT video viewing and having combinations of Amazon TV, Hulu and other applications that rely on their apartment broadband to satisfy their entertainment needs, which gives them everything except apparently award shows—no huge loss there.

As one of our team put it “video may have killed the radio star but it might end up being the savior of fixed broadband.”


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