SAN JOSE, Calif. Internet video will spawn a new renaissance in television, but users need a new way to find the content. That was the view of Vincent Dureau, head of TV technology for Google in a keynote address at the Internet Television Technology Conference here Tuesday (July 17).
Internet-hosted TV promises more content and more effective ads for television if developers can find new browser and search mechanisms suitable for the medium, he said. "On the surface it looks like TV is dead, but I believe there is actually a bright future for television," said Dureau who also founded OpenTV, a pay-TV software startup.
Every minute six hours of video is uploaded to Google's YouTube service. What's more, "every day 95 percent of the YouTube library is watched at least once," Dureau said.
That implies there is a broad, but fragmented audience for a wide variety of content. "You need to make the long tail of this content available, and the tail is very long," he said.
In addition, the promise of Web video on the TV set is attracting emerging talents. Many wannabe film makers are putting their work on the Net given the falling costs of high definition cameras and storage and the rising availability of broadband networks.
Budding film makers "see the TV as a target where they want exposure," he said.
The big problem with Internet-based TV is there is currently no easy way to find what you want to watch, Dureau said. New kinds of search and browser techniques are needed to overcome that problem, he said.
He compared the problem to text searches in the early days of the Web. Initially Yahoo hired librarians to categorize Web content and create an index to help users find what they wanted. Then Google emerged with its approach based on aggregating search data. Now a whole new style of search and browsing is needed to enable Internet TV, he said.
"We need to put a browser on the TV," Dureau said.
He also called for content aggregators to pull together in one place information on free and paid video available on the Web. A number of startups such as Joost and Peer TV hope to offer full-screen Web video on the PC that includes premium and user-generated content, he added.
Many pundits fear the rise of video recorders and free Web video will undermine advertising on broadcast TV. "If there are no advertising dollars there will be no quality content, there will be no audience and everyone will lose," he said.
However, the Web can actually help target advertisers target audiences more effectively and better measure their impact. "If we cab measure which ads are skipped [by video recorders] it would make advertising more effective," he said.
Dureau concluded by noting the still-emerging nature of Internet TV.
"The fact that we are talking about Internet TV is a sign the Internet is not really ready for TV. I hope soon we can just talk about TV," he said.