Online video is about to become so much more powerful. Sure, YouTube is already the third-most-popular site on the web (behind Google and Facebook) and most major media outlets already have some sort of online video element to their Internet presence. But, after a little-covered announcement from earlier this week, you can expect online video to gather even more momentum.
Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), announced a proposal on Tuesday that would effectively turn personal computers, tablets, and mobile phones into televisions. The proposal includes a measure that would give online companies equal access to cable and broadcast television stations. Think Amazon wants to rule the retail world as it is now? Just wait until you go to amazon.com at 8pm every night to watch your favorite shows or at 1pm on Sundays to take in the latest NFL game.
Wheeler said that the measure would allow websites to offer à la carte programming, with consumers able to choose what channels they wanted to buy and not have to pay for hundreds they never watch. “Consumers have long complained about how their cable service forces them to buy channels they never watch,” Wheeler wrote in an FCC blog post announcing the proposal. “The move of video onto the Internet can do something about that frustration – but first Internet video services need access to the programs.”
Just think of how this would change consumer impressions overall of online video. People who may have been skeptical about it before would quickly be converted the first time they glimpsed a live episode of Modern Family while they were on the train home from work. And, ultimately, the impact will be a changing landscape for marketers, who simply will need to be testing out online video as a means of connecting with a fast-growing web-based audience. Yes, people have predicted that the Internet will eventually be connected to almost every aspect of our lives. But did they expect that it would happen this quickly?
Of course, the FCC still needs to vote on the proposal, then there needs to be a public-comment period, and then a majority of the five FCC commissioners would finally have to approve it after hearing public comments. So, this is at least a year away from taking shape. But, make no mistake: Online video is not far from being as ubiquitous as TVs.
Now is the time to fit yourself into that marketing landscape. Become an online video service provider, hook up with a local production company to facility your clients’ new online video plans, or research new promotional products that are mobile and video compatible. The marketers you talk to every day will need to be present in online video if they’re not already. Become a resource to help them do it.