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We are all watching YouTube. Long term, we know it isn’t a business because of the copyright issue. But the site’s success demonstrates real demand for aggregated on-demand video — including local video. I like what columnist Terry Heaton says this month in The Digital Journalist about its possible impact on local TV stations:

" … the biggest threat to local television isn’t DVRs or VOD. It isn’t audience fragmentation, the decline of the 30-second spot or bad programming. It certainly isn’t the internet or the difficulty of finding that killer online application to support an old business model. And it isn’t being cut out of the network supply chain by direct-to-consumer distribution. The biggest threat to local TV is outside technology companies moving into the local entertainment and information space unchallenged by existing local media. This is a very deadly part of the iceberg, because local media companies either don’t see it coming or believe they are immune to such competition.

… Embracing the multi-platform universe is only a small part of staying in business in the years to come. It’s the metaphorical tip of the iceberg for two reasons. One, the biggest business disruption isn’t coming from multiple platforms; it’s the drift from mass media to personal media. And, two, if multi-platform is a broadcaster’s only strategy, he or she is assigning him or herself to the content-provider (only) space for the future. The real opportunities are on the aggregation side (think Topix.net), not just in making content available everywhere."

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