No Freedom of Choice When it Comes to Online Video in Your Living Room

When you go onto YouTube, you can watch anything you want. You have complete freedom over what you watch, and you have a lot to choose from with millions of channels that offer all kinds of specialized content like goth makeup tutorials, table tennis coverage and instruction and a channel with old TV shows from other countries that you cannot find anywhere else. The world of web video is open and free, and consumers were hoping – and expecting – web video available from  the living room to be the same. But increasingly, rather than having to contend with TV networks that don’t give you what you want, you have to contend with web TV gatekeepers that accomplish the same purpose. But who are these gatekeepers exactly?

Consumers at least knew who was choosing which content to show on television networks, although it was rarely clear why certain shows were being chosen or canceled. However, in the case of web TV it can be difficult to determine who is deciding what you have access to. Well, the sad fact is, that on smart TV’s and devices connected in that way, it is usually the company with the most money that gets content put out first. For example, the new Ps4 will only be allowing certain folk access to the game console. Not just anyone will be able to make games for the PS4 – those that Sony has a contact with, according to Vice President of Sony Entertainment Michael Aragon.

This isn’t anything new, and it certainly isn’t restricted to the Sony Playstation 4. This has been the standard for a long time and big name retailers have their fingers in a lot of pies in the online video market. For example, Walmarts now owns Vudu, Best Buy has their CinemaNow service and Target has started one called the Target Ticket Service. That’s because there is big money in getting you to continue paying money after you have left the store with the item. At Walmart, all of the streaming media devices, Blu-Ray players and other associated devices have a very prominent app for the Vudu service from Walmart.