Friday, May 26, 2006

Online video news

Last week I read an article in the Online Journalism Review on online video news. As usual it was interspersed with only American television examples. It would have been a good chance to go around the contacts in other countries and especially the ones with the highest broadband density like the Netherlands to hear what they are doing in online video news.

Not that there is much difference between the US television companies and the Dutch ones when it comes to online video news. CNN and BBC are here the global television stations and they are also watched on internet. I still remember distinctly going straight to the BBC to get the first pieces of news on the bombings of the London underground stations.

Of course the online news events can be distinguished in two types: streaming and downloading. Streaming is done in the Netherlands for actual, political and sports events. Last week when the nationality of a politician was in doubt and there was a special session of the parliament, there was a streaming broadcast of it. Problem always is the number of people that can be served. The Olympic Winter Games in Turino were very popular as a sporting event. This time the Dutch public broadcast company NOS did also streaming broadcast themselves (during the Athens Summer Games the public company gave an exclusive contract for streaming the sports news to the Dutch incumbent KPN!), but most of the time there was streaming sound, but not video.

The Dutch news broadcasts are copies of the news at the hour and can be downloaded on demand. Interesting are the Dutch political programs, which can be called up and viewed whenever one likes. A special section has been made for this type of program: Did you miss a program? This type of service had been developed very early on when the broadcasting companies were developing new services.

The trend to come is that ordinary people will participate in online video news. Recently I quoted the Dutch TV news chief Mr Laroes. You just happen to be on the spot and have a mobile telephone with a camera you can make movies of the event. Of course the debate about quality certainly with video will come up. But that is depended on the context and will eventually go away.

I personally think that the radio services are winning it from the television services so far with online radio news. They do not have the bandwidth problem like the television companies. You go to a hotspot in a foreign city and you can link up to the latest news.


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