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50,000 Internet TV Channels Just Around The Corner!

Imagine The Inventory Available For Bartering

If 500 TV channels now astound you, the future will simply overwhelm you! And the opportunities will truly be endless...as a huge variety of small-audience programming, from personalized business news to very low-budget independent films, will soon be broadcast over the Internet. All viewable on demand via TVs, PCs, iPods, and cell phones.

The new medium, called Internet protocol television (IPTV), is expected to soon become a major competitor to broadcast and cable TV, since an estimated 49 million Americans presently have the gear and broadband connections needed to receive IPTV. (The Online Publishers Association says 5% of U.S. Internet users already watch videos online daily.)

Major league baseball (www.MLB.com) is successfully using IPTV, offering live web broadcasts of all its games for $69.95 a season. The package includes a �mosaic� feature enabling viewers to watch six games of their choice simultaneously.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure June 8, allowing telecom giants (like AT&T) to offer television service over their Internet networks in all local markets. The U.S. Senate is considering a similar bill.

This means that companies, government agencies, and individuals all could buy channels or IPTV broadcast time to air their messages. A programming entrepreneur could set up and air an IPTV channel for $25,000, versus today where a single hour of conventional commercial-reality television costs $1 million or more.

Additionally, Microsoft and Intel are working on software to ease the Web-to-TV interface.

For a look at the future check out one model for the new technology, a travel and fashion show that American expatriates produce in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It�s available free online in high definition from their web site, www.mariposahd.tv.

The first three half-hour episodes, produced on gear available at home electronics stores, have been downloaded more than 25,000 times. The creators of the show believe they can make money by running ads at the beginning and again in the middle of the free show.

Obviously it�s too early to foresee how many viewers would pay for unconventional, user-generated channels. A hint of the future, however, could be the viewership of the five top user-generated videos on www.YouTube.com, which have been seen 55 million times!

Editor�s note: If diversifying and personalizing media choices is the next big thing for consumers, there�s going to be a lot of media available for bartering. It�s simply a matter of running ads and charging advertisers in proportion to the show�s popularity.