Forget your digital cable package. It’s becoming clear to me that on demand video content is becoming increasingly available on your desktop, on the web. For example, I missed the Villanova-St. Joe’s game tonight (I’m from Philly area, so I take an interest in Big 5 basketball) so I thought I would check out the score on EPSN.com. Since their recent redesign, I have noticed ESPN has changed their game recap pages to include video highlights. They have always had video content on their site, but to have the actual highlights embedded right on the page is a wonderful feature. Also of note these videos don’t require Windows Media, Real, or Quicktime, just good old-fashioned Flash. Nice.
Last month Viacom’s MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon made news by adding a number of series to the iTunes Music Store. What hasn’t gotten a lot of attention is the fact that MTV and Comedy Central already have a lot of video content online for free. MTV Overdrive and Comedy Central Motherload services are pretty intriguing additions since they let you quickly access a wealth of content from their respective networks. They even have Windows Media Center add-ons which are pretty popular. I have found these services to be neat though they require more bandwidth than I really have at this point, but the amount of content is impressive. And MTV overcame an obstacle by putting together a nice plug-in to help it run smoothly on Firefox, in addition to IE.
User-driven media is quickly becoming the darling of the Internet, and video is no exception. iFilm used to seem cool, but YouTube is a much better source for amusing clips these days. Anyone (including me) can upload video clips to the site for worldwide consumption. Its range includes last night’s SNL skit to commercials to lonely teenagers lip-syncing pop songs. Google Video tries to do similar things, though it straddles the line between being an open marketplace and protecting content owner rights. A lot of video blogs are sprouting up on iTunes’ directory and others, including my favorite: Rocketboom. As you can see, free on demand video content is all around us and only growing. Tomorrow I’ll complain about the companies that aren’t embracing it.