Just as the PC brought desktop publishing to the masses, the Internet and affordable video editing tools will democratize the broadcast industry and give rise to an explosion in multimedia content on the Web, the head of Adobe said here yesterday evening.
"The same phenomenon that happened to print is happening to video - it's just happening ten years later," said Adobe chairman and CEO John Warnock, in a speech at the annual National Association of Broadcasters trade show.
Home users today can edit digital video and add special effects using PCs that cost little more than $1,000, the Adobe chief said. For a little more than $5,000, small production companies can create broadcast-quality video that can be distributed inexpensively online.
"If you combine the proliferation of talent with the reduced cost of content for broadcasting, it means the content will explode," Warnock said. "There will be thousands of content providers out there, and they will all be competing for mind share."
Much of the early content will be appalling, just as many of the leaflets and flyers created with Adobe's early publishing software were appalling, Warnock said. But some Web entrepreneurs will survive, creating rich multimedia content that will compete for attention alongside the best of what today's broadcasting industry has to offer, Warnock said.
To take advantage of the new medium with their own programming, broadcasters need to recognize fundamental differences between producing for television and producing for the Web, Warnock said. The Internet is an interactive medium in which consumers watch what they want to, when they want to, he said. They like to give feedback about what they are watching, and they like to see content that caters to their community.
"If your model is 'I will broadcast and you will listen,' you will always be around, but in a shrinking environment, because the real winners will be the ones who engage their customers," Warnock said.
"It's going to be a great new world, and it's not going to be for people who are not willing to change," he told broadcasting executives here. "It's going to be a crazy, hybrid environment where if you don't have a Web presence, you're not going to survive."
To show what is possible using PC editing software available today, an Adobe engineer showed how content can be manipulated using Adobe's After Effects visual effects program and a number of third-party, add-on applications.
One add-on from Atomic Power, called Evolution, allows a producer to take a video clip and "blow it up," shattering the clip into pieces that appear to fly off the screen.
"The productivity barriers are going away," Warnock concluded. "It's not going to be how much you can pay for your system, it's going to be how good an artist you are."