The Walled Gardens of TV

I was speaking yesterday at the Broadband Connect conference in London. I couldn’t stay and mix as much as I’d have liked, but it was full of delegates and speakers who don’t often collide with the pure mobile technology and advertising worlds that I normally inhabit. This is interesting, as it gives some new perspectives that I hadn’t necessarily thought about before.

The biggest such perspective is that the destruction of the walled gardens of TV broadcast are going to tumble down in the same way that it happened on the web and more latterly on the mobile web. I guess it’ll also happen eventually in mobile access as we get more choice over how we connect to The Cloud for our voice and data needs.

I was obviously peripherally aware of the walled gardens of broadcast being threatened eventually. After all, just as in nature, the walled gardens always decay and fall down at some point, allowing a natural habitat to return and dominate over the artificial and controlled environment. However, I didn’t realise that it was quite this imminent in broadcast TV. Already you can get some Sky programmes without a subscription and if you’re prepared to go illegal and Bit Torrent, you can get pretty much anything you want.

Also, as the great and remarkably geeky, Stephen Fry pointed out in his latest Podgram, the BBC’s iPlayer has accelerated this process by liberating their content. Sure, it can only be accessed by UK residents currently, but as any 15 year old will show you, getting around this restriction is trivial for a screen ager.

There’s lots of chaos coming down the line in the next decade – and possibly chaos is the natural order of things in the future. But chaos leads to lots of opportunities for the brave and the fast. There’s simply never been a better time to be a fledgling entrepreneur. What’s your idea and what are you going to do about it?

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