I’ve written before about the fragmentation of television. With cable and satellite, programmers can reach smaller and smaller audience segments. With content delivered over broadband, those segments become even smaller. Broadband distribution ultimately enables everyone to have his or her own channel.
People are already broadcasting their lives using Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and other social networking tools. You can see their latest pictures, video and random thoughts.
That’s a fairly active process right now; you have to seek out the various social networks to consume that information. Incorporate these services into television and you can expand the reach. You’d be able to change to the “grandkids” channel, just as easily as you tune in to the Discovery Channel. I can imagine grandparents tuning their TVs to the all grandkids channel, featuring pictures and video of their own grandchildren. Of course, content within these virtual channels would also be available on demand.
There are a couple of services out there that approximate parts of this experience. One of my favorite flickr add ons is slickr. It downloads pictures from your flickr contacts and runs them in place of your Windows screensaver. It’s a fun, passive way to keep up with my friends are up to.
On the video side, TiVo has a relationship with One True Media that allows you to share videos with friends and family that play back on their TiVos.
Apple TV’s integration of YouTube doesn’t currently allow you to subscribe to a person’s videos, but I expect we’ll see that soon enough.