Optus Win Is Significant
It seems like the the best promotion you can do for a new technology is to go to court over the issues you create once you have launced it. Many of the big technologies that have come along have gone to court in a big way.
Microsoft went to court over its Internet Explorer browser being bundled into its Windows operating system. Google went to court of copying books and making them available for its search customers free. Napster went to court over music sharing and others such as Facebook have been in court for their fair share of time to.
I am no legal expert, but every time a new technology has gone to court a side effect is the national or international media attention which promotes to every day consumers the product and why it is causing friction in the market.
This morning on the Today Show was the first opportunity I have had to explain to viewers Optus TV Now. This service allows you to turn your phone into a personal video recorder (PVR) and record television programmes. That is it. However, the ramifications, and the fact Optus has won this stage of the court case is massive and worthy of discussion in the media.
Live Sport was considered a safe bet as far as content formats go. Australians love sport, Australians love technology, streaming sport live to next gen devices is a winning deal for all parties. Who wants to watch sport that is days old? This is the time it takes a movie or television show to spread across the world via bit torrent. There are live streaming services that stream via a 'black market', but these are poor in quality and there is no reliability that the sport you want to watch is going to be available to you. Reliability and a fair price is what are important factors here.
With TV Now Optus has smashed that rule. Optus has shown content owners everywhere that all content is available to be shared using technology and that to do so is within the law. I don’t begrudge Optus, I think TV Now is a fantastic service for people who cannot get to a TV to watch their favourite television shows. It offers convenience and is a great use of 3G (and very soon, 4G) data services. However, Telstra are spending millions to get exclusive streaming rights of something, another company was is allowed to get free, as long as it is delayed by two minutes. I think all buyers of streaming rights across the country and owners of content to be streamed, are in a meetings today to decide what happens now.
Regardless of the decision, this is just the beginning of a major change in the way we watch sport. Get ready for round two.
Optus TV Now Explained :
TV Now offers customers the best of both worlds. You can have the content you have access to on TV and traditionally watched or recorded on your PVR. However, you could watch this content on your phone or PC. There were a couple of conditions. First, you needed to have an Optus service. Second, there was a minimum delay of two minutes. For some diehard fans that delay is a deal breaker, but for others who are happy to get their sport and other television content through the of their phone, this is a pretty good solution.
About Charlie Brown
Charlie Brown is one of Australia's foremost commentators on consumer lifestyle technology. He publishes, produces and hosts CyberShack, is Channel 9's technology expert, and hosts Life & Technology and 2GB and NewsTalk 4BC.
Charlie is able to communicate, educate and inspire a huge audience, without confusing technological jargon.
Life & Technology is on the air Sunday mornings at 10am on 2GB and NewsTalk 4BC.