If you’re still unclear as to why net neutrality matters, I highly recommend you take a minute to watch the following clip from The Daily Show.
Now that you’re armed with this foundational knowledge, put yourself in the shoes of cable executives (and their executive partners in the telcom industry) and think like these guys do for a minute. If you can make that leap into the pits of capitalism, it’s not too difficult to understand why they want to turn the internet into a toll road.
The Little Internet That Could
The first pass of the web (circa 1994 to 2001) wasn’t much of a threat to existing cable and media business models. We might have placed video online back then, but it was time consuming, costly and, relatively speaking, not viral at all.
Sure, once in a while clips like Dancing Baby caught the attention of the masses, but without the benefit of mass email spam between friends, they had to be sparked by inclusion in traditional mainstream media (in the case of Dancing Baby, the hit show Ally McBeal proved to be the tipping point).
Such crossover instances of viral exposure/marketing were few and far between and proved to be an intangible strategy that neither individuals or media professionals alike could leverage to spread their message, music, movies, etc.
All that has changed with the recent developments in viral infrastructure.
With the rise of video sharing sites (like YouTube or Revver) and millions of decentralized blogs — all pre-enabled to deliver embedded video at no cost — media networks are beginning to move content to these new distribution channels at a pace to keep up with the consumption patterns of today’s generation who are moving away from the boob tube.
(originally uploaded by Ian Chase)
It’s only a matter of time until advertising models are developed to monetize this organic delivery of non-programmed content and that’s when the great media exodus from TV to Web will occur. I’m not saying TV will go under completely, but the future of pre-programmed cable TV — the Golden Goose of of executive revenue — is not looking as viable as it did just 5 years ago. As a matter of fact, it’s beginning to look quite bleak.
So how do these old media distribution channels respond to such change? They don’t attempt to build anything useful for people to use that fits their new media habits, instead, they try to lobby for control to carve this new media distribution pie — a pie that they had *no hand* in innovating, evangelizing or iterating.
If net neutrality is legislated away, you just might be paying for those searches in the not so distant future.