You thought cable TV was getting too narrowly focused when it started offering an entire channel devoted to food? How about a whole channel just about barbeque?
What cable TV did to broadcast TV, independent video networks are now doing to cable. This AP story describes the nascent providers of niche TV programming - like pay-per-view shows about preparing a meal out of a whole hog - over the Internet for viewing on a PC or a standard TV set. DaveTV will offer 100,000 hours of programming on over 100 "channels."
The article gives a good sense of the onslaught of extremely specialized content that will be at our fingertips soon.
For the information industry, the interesting area to watch is not just the production end of this new grassroots industry, but how it handles aggregation and distribution issues. Just as companies like NewsGator, Bloglines, and Technorati have grown up around the issue of harnessing the content generated in the do-it-yourself blog medium, there will be plenty of new companies worth watching that will get into the business of helping users find the right niche TV programming, helping content providers get it into the right hands, and helping advertisers inject themselves at the right place in the supply chain. As with any content type, the more diverse and distributed content is, the greater the need for organization and retrieval technologies and business models.