Should Broadband Providers Offer Content?

from the going-the-wrong-direction dept

Apparently, the talk of a recent broadband conference was on how broadband providers needed to focus on charging for “premium” content to expand their business, which seems to miss the point (once again) of broadband services. The content that draws people is already out there, and bundling it with an internet connection only serves to add one more mouth to feed out of a small pie – and doesn’t help anyone make much money. When broadband providers look at providing content, they immediately fall back into the “broadcast” mindset, where users are passive consumers of content that is pushed to them. That’s not what people use the internet for. They use it for interactive services (such as email, web surfing, VoIP and file sharing), where they get to choose the content and what they do with it. At the conference, they even had people saying that SBC’s latest deal with CinemaNow (to offer downloadable movies) was a huge step forward. This is the same CinemaNow that hasn’t received much traction at all and has been reviewed (repeatedly) as being a terrible waste of money. The article quotes CinemaNow’s competitor MovieLink as putting the blame for their failures on the broadband providers. They claim that the two movie services “offer up plenty of content,” even though reviewers of the service have complained about their “pathetically thin selection.” Ignoring that, however, the quote from MovieLink’s CEO pins the blame on broadband providers for not making it easier for users to move movies from their PC to their television using wireless connectivity. Of course, both MovieLink and CinemaNow use heavy-handed copy protection that probably has a lot more to do with the difficulty than the broadband service providers and their support of WiFi. Instead of focusing on ways to turn broadband connections into another TV (we already have those), they should be focused on the services (not content) that people want.

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