Keith Olbermann’s Investable Moment

Keith Olbermann completes the move of his show “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” from MSNBC to Current TV on Monday June 20th, 2011.

Pollsters and pundits are watching over the next several weeks with their fangs dripping in anticipation over whether or not Olbermann’s audience will follow him, translating the conversation into one about the strength of branding in today’s society.

Keith Olbermann’s move is, to a great extent, a brand conversation. However, it’s also an “investable moment” that may spur demand in related industries.

Current TV crosses broadcast TV and online social media, integrating traditional network programming with viewer-created content. It’s the cannonball-into-the-water hybrid when other channels are still clumsily wading carefully in the integrated online social media pond.

Success for Keith Olbermann may translate into increased demand for bandwidth and speedier in-home internet infrastructure, as well as internet-ready televisions and possibly other connected appliances. It may institutionalize communications platforms like Twitter, and increase demand for everything from home video cameras to improved video compression technology.

On the flip side, a successful move for Mr. Olbermann may also decrease the need for traditional media items such as a cable as viewers are increasingly drawn to the on-demand (and free) capabilities of the internet. I have friends who’ve already cancelled their cable service and made the switch to internet-based TV.

Most impactful is the potential to transform the idea of businesses being a collection of employees into individuals providing services to a collection of businesses or platforms. Imagine not being able to languish within the bosom of a corporation, but rather having to have the skills and scrappiness to generate income consistently as an individual.

The past few years since approximately 2008 have been characterized by collisions of traditional media with social media. Visibility and dollars have flowed from corporate entities into the hands of pioneering individuals and technologies, changing how the world is viewed and what is visible in the world.

Is a successful move by Keith Olbermann another collision-type moment, prompting demand for new types of technologies and services? Let’s watch and see.

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