Eli M. Noam
Revolutions are said to devour their children, as well as their parents. The Internet is no exception. Its success and impact have been overwhelming. But in the process it is also undermining its own technological, organizational, and economic foundations. If its origin was cutting-edge science and engineering, then its present is that of commerce and its future is that of entertainment. Yet that descent from lofty aspirations to popular diversions should not be seen as negative. It will enable major upgrades of infrastructure, encourage diverse advances in technology and generate cultural innovation. But it will not be the same good old Internet. On the content side, too, we can be certain that the next generation of video will not simply be the same good old TV over yet another platform. This chapter analyzes these changes and will take several steps ahead. It discusses the drivers of the emergence of an Internet of Entertainment and the major media industry approaches to it. We then explain the implications, focusing on three fundamental changes: impacts on the infrastructure; on the Internet system; and on the TV system. The key players of the new system, the media clouds, are analyzed and emerging policy issues as well as questions for further research explored.