The Year Of Personal Video?

Last year, everyone was rambling on about how 2005 would be the year of MP3, podcasting, music phones and the like. Sure, podcasting took off (of sorts), but truth be told that podcasting hasn't taken the world by storm, the ROKR pretty much tanked, and that music phones are largely missing in action. Sales of both music and players, however, went through the roof.

Which reminds me, Apple has got to be losing sales to Creative in Portugal - there's not a nano in sight over here right now, but we got new Creative devices the week they were launched. Another black mark for Apple retail over here...

And now, video is stepping up to the plate. The iTunes music store has started giving away freebies (only in the US, sadly), iPods play video, and there are umpteen articles out there teaching people how to encode video for the iPod or the PSP.

Furthermore, just about every mobile operator with a 3G network has at least announced their intention to stream TV shows to mobile phones next year (and as usual, all three Portuguese operators are going for it).

My guess is that it's going to be an interesting year - video content is targeted and consumed in wildly different ways, is more commanding of the user's attention, and is something people attach more value to.

DRM is likely to be an issue as well, and I do have a hard time trying to envision the way licensing and distribution deals might work for streaming and downloading across national borders (I foresee even dumber restrictions than DVD zones coming up), but there's definitely something up with video.

After all, people are willing to pay to buy TV shows on DVD (I myself have finally started doing it, being fundamentally fed up with Portuguese television not carrying nothing much I'm interested in), and they just might go for it.

Might, of course, being the operative word here. Audiences are fickle, and paying audiences doubly so - let's hope that the people in charge keep that in mind and don't force viewers to jump through hoops to access and use content as they please.