Digital Video

Today, Jon Lebkowsky writes about Google Video. He didn’t find it very compelling. I didn’t find it very compelling either. In a lot of ways, it seems like it is a lot

Jon writes, “I'm waiting for someone smart with a lot of server power to put the jillions of television programs from the ‘golden age’ online.”

This provides an interesting contrast to Grant McCracken’s blog entry today about how the new Disney CEO, “Iger intends to ‘distribute Disney films and TV shows digitally on phones and directly to homes.’”

He goes on to say, “This kind of distribution is desirable, not least because it is, of course, inevitable. But I think there is a failure here to reckon with the real power of the Disney product and the Disney brand.

There is something about the thing itself that we, in marketing and in anthropology, do not fully understand.”

He asks, “Is this tangibility, touchability, holdability?” He spends some time exploring this, talking about artifacts at museums and the sense of something being, “the real thing”.

As I reflect on this, it seems as if it isn’t tangibility that makes something ‘real’, it has more to do with temporality. What makes the artifact in the museum interesting is that it has been around for a long time. This is perhaps some of what makes an object like a kewpie doll ‘real’. Kewpie dolls were factory produced, yet they have a realness that comes from their being around for a long time.

So, what does this say to Google Video and the plans of the new Disney CEO? I’m with Jon. I want to be able to see some shows from the golden age of television with a few clicks from Google Video. I don’t think the digital distribution, whether we are talking about Google Video or Disney is the issue. The real issue is permanence and this sense of temporality.

It isn’t the digital distribution of content that gets in the way of value. It is the efforts of the digital rights management tools to make them one time use, and not permanent that gets in the way of value.

Where will Google Video and Disney’s new distribution plans go? I’m not sure, but it seems like all of this points back to the importance of

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