Separating the Wheat from the Chaff in iTV Forecasting

You may use this content, but please cite (c) 2005, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein..

I see today that

NVIDIA Corporation, a worldwide leader in graphics and digital media processors, today announced its NVIDIA PureVideo Decoder has been approved by TiVo Inc. for playing content using the TiVoToGo(TM) feature. New this year, the TiVoToGo feature allows TiVo(R) subscribers to transfer recorded television programs from their TiVo Series2(TM) DVR to their PC for viewing anywhere, anytime. Watching a program on a PC that has been recorded on a TiVo DVR requires the use of an MPEG-2 decoder, such as the NVIDIA PureVideo Decoder, which employs sophisticated algorithms to decode and enhance television content.

Source: SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/

While this isn't the greatest example, it reminded me of another common pitfall in forecasting the adoption and diffusion of new media such as interactive television. These announcements of corporate partnerships may sound more stunning than the one that brought me here today, but that's not my point. My point is announced corporate partnerships mean little, if anything of importance to the prospects for the companies' futures. Thus, it means little for the innovation's prospects.

RCA introduced its Selectavision Videodisc player as an American response to the Japanese VCR invasion (yes, the VTR technology was created in the USA but it was sold, cheaply, to the Japanese). RCA backed the introduction of the Selectavision with millions and million of dollars in promotions. Although their video catalog was pitiful, you can bet that each time new titles were added in the Selectavision format, they were trumpeted by the company. I'm sure this was true as well for "future releases" and "agreements with Hollywood studios." None of that mattered. What did matter is that the Selectavision player was not foolproof, it cost more than a VCR, and there were literally thousands of more titles available in cassette tape format than there were ever made available as RCA discs. The company pulled the plug in 1984 at a reported loss of nearly $600 million.

From my 25 years' experience following the new media industries, I think it's fair to say a deal not done might have some meaning, but most done deals do not a success guarantee.


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