Roku, the alternative set-top box provider in the video market and is now expanding its
line of players today from one to three. Once the new lines are introduced, Roku plans to focus on its upcoming channel store, through which it will offer a new range of content from smaller niche Web providers like blip.tv, TWiT.tv, Revision3 to mainstream content providers including Major League Baseball.
Before the DVR came along, TV advertising wielded enormous influence on viewers’ buying habits. Marketers have been fleeing to the Internet, but its size and amorphous nature make it difficult to capture a significant segment of mainstream consumers. Enter Hulu, Joost, et al. Online services that let viewers watch programming on their own terms are growing in popularity, and advertisers want in.
This would open up a whole new revenue stream for “old media” if they’re willing to bring in smart people who can take their valuable content and make it available in this new format that is easily monetized.
I can see myself and others more likely to buy content on a device like this rather than the traditional ways you would on the web. People are more willing to buy applications with micropayments on the iPhone, I think they will be more willing to buy books, magazine and newspaper content on an Apple Tablet.
“Television is moving toward the Web and the Web is moving toward television. It’s all going to mix into just one thing. But, I think that the budgets that are associated with mainstream television now just aren’t sustainable. It’s not just because web video is proving that you don’t need to spend that much money in terms of getting a return on your investment, but it’s also just these budgets have always been overblown and unsustainable because it puts TV stations in a position to put big, game changing bets on shows. There were broadcast networks that were very broad, then cable TV came around and it really opened things up and allowed people to do a wider variety of shows, it allowed people to spend less money on that wider variety of shows and I think the Internet, it’s the logical next step in opening things up for audiences and producers. So, providing that the viewing experience is familiar to the viewer, I think it’s pretty irrelevant from the audience side where the content is coming from, who’s making it, it’s just is it good or is it bad and can i have a relatively convenient way to find and consume it?”—Eric Mortenson, blip.tv
Eric: “We can bring something really unique to the table in that advertisers are starting to understand the benefit of advertising to an audience, rather than advertising on a show. They can define a niche audience and speak directly to them. And, as much as they’re starting to understand that, they’re still really attached to the notion of TV ad buying, which is you just want to buy the largest audience you can possibly buy.
Blip.tv is in a position to really offer the best of both worlds.
We had, for example, a campaign with Puma the shoe brand. Puma bought direct integrated sponsorships on two shows that were very closely tied to their brand. And then were able to buy a larger TV style ad buy across millions of views on shows that are still related to their brand, but not as closely, so they were able to get the best of TV style buy and Internet style buy together.”
Interviwed by: MN Video Pro’s Jeff Achen. Check out the whole interview here.
And so he knocked off Rivera’s cap in their mad pas de deux, nearly disappeared inside CC Sabathia’s bear hug, locked arms with Jorge Posada and Jeter, then ultimately broke off for another long embrace with Jeter, a one-time best friend with whom he’d spent his first five seasons in New York sharing an uneasy truce, one that left both men diminished. Jeter, by the disappearance of the Yankee hegemony that had ruled in the earlier years of his career, Rodriguez by a barren harvest of Octobers that mocked his unquestioned skills.
”—'A-Rod proves he belongs in pinstripes' By Gordon Edes, Yahoo! Sports (10/26/2009)
The “Internet Video Is Coming to TV Sets Version 4” report is about ”over-the-top” video delivery that threatens to disrupt the traditional TV and movie industry because it delivers direct to the living room, bypassing existing distribution such as pay-TV, DVDs and local TV stations. Among some of the trends highlighted in this study:
* By year end, every major manufacturer of TV sets, including Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Sony & Vizio, will have a model both with internet connectivity and access to online video and social services like Yahoo Widgets.
* Online video services are scrambling to get their services included on every TV set and on all digital media adapters, Netflix is looking increasingly like a market leader.
* A market of millions for digital media adapters as consumers who have already upgraded to HDTVs are too early to get ones with internet connectivity. In terms of installed base of potential users, Microsoft has the lead with Xbox 360 and Live users
* Free online TV shows from such services as Hulu.com, CBS, BBC and the UK’s Channel 4 are spreading. Cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner are testing “TV Everywhere”. Key to the testing is the ability to authenticate that the person logging in is in fact a pay-TV subscriber.
* YouTube: It’s Already on Your TV * Netf lix Stays Ahead of the Pack. * Amazon Adds Some Streaming Partners. * Hulu Still Not a Fan of TV Sets * Blockbuster Starts Streaming to TV Sets, Too Late?. * Sonic’s CinemaNow Focuses on Widgets, 3D. * VUDU Shifts from Box to Platform. * Apple Expands Movie Offerings * Roku Steps Up to the MLB Plate. * Microsoft Wants an Xbox TV-Box. * Sony Makes Segmented Gains * TV.com Aims at Web, TV Could Come Soon * TV Everywhere Expands its Reach. * Digital Ventures: Live TV to Any Broadband Connection. * Blip.tv Tracking Deals with Big Names. * Hybrid Set-Top Box Brings Broadband, Broadcast, VOD in One Package. * Project Canvas: New Partners, New Delays. * Boxee Keeps the Content Coming. * TVBlob’s Set-Top Box Platform Looks to Expand. * Verismo Gives Users More to Vu. * Pleyo Challenges Yahoo in Widgets
"Sanctuary” had its origins as an Internet show. The original conception of "Sanctuary” was to merge an internet program with gaming and social networking.
"Lofty goals to be sure, and a great idea,” Tapping said. "But unfortunately I think we were quite a few years ahead of our time. And in terms of figuring out how to monetize it on the Web, that’s the biggest issue that we had. We had a lot of eyeballs watching ‘Sanctuary,’ but not a lot of eyeballs were paying for it.”
So while the Web show didn’t make money, it did lead to new opportunities.
"Out of the ashes of the Web series rose the phoenix that is the television series,” Tapping said.
“The Scare Game,” written and directed by Phillip Hughes, is a new Web series in the same vein as popular series like “The Guild” and “The Legend of Neil.” Each episode of “The Scare Game” runs about eight minutes.
The first of 13 scheduled episodes was released Oct. 15. Viewers can watch edited versions of the videos on YouTube.com, or they can watch unedited versions on the group’s Web site, TheScareGame.com.
As of Monday afternoon, the video had more than 670 views on YouTube, and likely has more hits on the game’s Web site, Wenrich said. The first episode also received favorable reviews from horror-fan Web sites, such as Hellnotes and Horror Crypt. Wenrich said it’s a thrill to see the video garner support so early, but the real thrill comes from filming locally.
Lifetime Digital has lined up three new web video series for premiere on myLifetime.com, including shows based on Lifetime Network’s comedies Sherri and Rita Rocks.
The new original webisodes part of the female-targeted media company’s efforts to ramp up its online activities. A record 11.34 million videos—both original content and full episode streams—were streamed on myLifetime.com in September, a 281-percent year-on-year increase.
All ten episodes of the new season were screened to the 500 or so attendees, including two episodes of the faux-vintage spin-off series Sparhüsen which stars Keanu Reeves as the famed Swedish rock producer Vorste Fierron. Word is that Reeves is on board for more episodes of Sparhüsen and production is set to begin on those next month.
Casualty is a medical drama that runs on BBC. They are planning on using webisodes as interludes between broadcast episodes. I like this. Giving television viewers more opportunities to watch quality programming on the web is good for the web video industry.
There are so many social networking sites, this study shows which ones are responsible for driving the most ‘sticky’ traffic. I say if you are an independent show creator, you should be using every available social networking service to propagate views of your content anyway.. but this is interesting nonetheless.
Below is Yuri’s rather amusing response to my blog post from last night.
Yuri, you’re right: we agree more than we disagree. Also, I had not read your follow-up/clarification post cited below, so there’s that. However since mutual respect and agreement is rarely entertaining to the circling masses, in the spirit of the great blogfights of yore I hereby challenge you to a duel at sunset (I know the tradition is a duel at sunrise, but let’s be honest, neither one of us has seen the “waking up before” side of a sunrise in quite some time.)
Actually now that I think about it, I’m shit with a sword and if by some chance you’re worse, Hudack would probably never forgive me for killing off a “visionary.” So instead of a duel at sunset, I hereby challenge you to beers on Sunset - the Cat and Fiddle. And who knows, maybe some interesting discussion will take place concurrently.
You should probably bring a sword though, just in case.
I didn’t want to respond too actively or I’d start feeling like I was wildly dueling anyone who came my way. But, I figure the idea was to open up the debate about the industry. Luckily, my blog, to some extent, did — so I thank you all for your commitment to share yours thoughts and I’ll lend a hand to row this little boat onward.
So, here we go, row, row, row:
Mr. Garese focused primarily on my “minor leagues” argument. I retracted it in my other blog: Waxing Websodic: Everything is Fine, Nothing is Working — but I’ll reiterate it again: you’re absolutely right, Barrett. That was a flawed argument and I take it back — web shouldn’t aim to be minor leagues, web should aim to be the highest quality possible.
Now that that’s settled, I have a request.
What I ask of you, nay, anyone who reads my blog and yells arguments loudly into this large, democratic space, is this — read and understand my actual points.
1. The web series in its current inceptionis dying.
If it isn’t, then somebody please, please throw us a lifesaver because we’re drownin’ baby and our branded entertainment commercials ain’t paying the bills or massaging the creative arteries.
2. We have to throw around ideas to help evolve the genre. Is it evolving? Sort of, kind of, slowly, I guess. Will it continue to evolve? Of course. Is it failing miserably right now? Yes.
Absolutely. Yes. Yes. Yes. Listen to creators before parading our victories — we’re struggling and the pigtail-twirling-awe of online entertainment is hurting us. We need open dialogue and ideas to push us to the next step and force one another to do something amazing. Every time people plug their ears and shout “everything is fine!” it hurts us. If it was succeeding, we’d all be living off of it (by we I mean more than 10-15 people).
That said, Barrett, my favorite welding ex-agent, I feel like we’re repeating each other’s points.
Barrett says: “We’re still “filming radio” by making short TV shows and short films because no one’s yet developed the genres of web video which will stand apart from film and television, and define the medium in the coming decades.“ While my original post makes suggestions on how to move out of this “filming radio” stage (not in those exact words, of course, but out of its current inception) and asks for others to make their own suggestions on how to evolve the medium.
Okay, sure, I said it with more anger and less gentle fondling of the genre’s privates but still — it’s all there.
So, despite your month cool down hiatus on answering my original post, we are not so different, you and I, Barret. We are not so different at all.
Oh, and, while I’m row, row, rowing:
I appreciate the comments from Mike Hudack, Eric Mortenson and the other Blip.tv guys. The word “visionary” shouldn’t be tossed around lightly, and if that’s the mantle they’ve given me, I’ll wear it to the very best of my mantle-wearing abilities. So, thank you guys. Really. I honestly think that Blip.tv is one of the only companies who is actually doing what I’m preaching.
I am not, however, bitter disappointed. Break a Leg has been amazing to us and our recent network deal should be, ideally, a huge help in our next project. That’s not it at all.
What I am is irritated at the, “everything is okay” mindset of this community. I think it’s backwards thinking, I think it’s masturbatory, and I think it slows down the evolution of this genre. We’re set in our ways because to each other, we’re just the neatest things ever — but the majority of web shows are still poorly written, acted and directed. The very best web show online completely pales in the face of any number of great TV shows — and if we want to be taken seriously, that can’t be true. Budget or no budget.
The reason for me writing the original article was to get people thinking. To get people to drop “everything is okay” and start thinking, “okay, how do we keep getting better?” It was a call to arms. A demand to break the status quo, a shout to call on artists to continue pushing this art’s boundaries instead of patting one another on the back and politely asking if they’d like another handjob.
Barrett leaves off saying that to save web video, I (though I assume he means we… or maybe he means me) need to create something that no one has ever experienced. You’ve got the right idea, Barrett. I couldn’t agree with you more –let’s stop saying everything is swell and let’s start thinking up some new, groundbreaking projects, hey?
Hell, that’s what we’re doing. In fact, we’re right in the middle of trying to scrounge up funding for a new show made with a new model that, we hope, will blow everyone’s mind.
"Cable operators have downplayed investor fears that customers will drop cable for free TV on the Web. But privately they’ve warned TV networks they may stop paying affiliate fees if free TV shows keep cropping up on the Web."
I ignored “Let’s Save The Web Series” when it was first written as I disagreed to such a large degree that I was worried about contributing anything constructive to the conversation. The past month has given me time to better consider what I wanted to say. In light of the resurgence of the conversation (at least across my little slice of the internet) and while I could probably go on at length, all I will say about Yuri’s opinions is this:
No business has ever succeeded by actively striving to be the “minor leagues’ of anything else. That’s a great way to have your successes marginalized, your stars disappear, and for you to perpetually be thought of as an inferior product. Branded entertainment is advertising by another name; Burger King (to use your example) isn’t gonna create LOST. It damn sure isn’t going to create The Godfather (or anything that could potentially alienate a portion of their customers for any reason at all.) Neither of these concepts are conducive to creating art, and for a medium to exist it requires a certain amount of artistic intent and integrity.
Your goals are mutually exclusive. Something can either be good - to use your words “(not) good for the web but just good” - or it can be the minor leagues/branded entertainment. Having web video be the minor leagues means that it will never mature beyond the bottom entry-level rung of other media. The Departed is good (arguably, it’s “great”) but there’s no way to massage the brand messaging from Kellogg’s into the plotline.
The internet is the largest, most democratic, and most internationally conscious communications and entertainment medium the world has ever seen. In the few short years of its existence it has shattered an untold number of longstanding businesses and created countless new ones. The full effects of widespread connectivity (economic, sociological and otherwise) are so unfathomable that they won’t be understood for years if not decades; and you’re already prepared to call the death of independent web video? I can’t even confidently say which studios will still be around in five years or who the prevalent financiers of “mainstream” entertainment will be. Hell, a year from now, who will own NBCU?
Web video doesn’t even have a standard consumption unit, or an understanding on what constitutes a “view.” We’re still “filming radio” by making short TV shows and short films because no one’s yet developed the genres of web video which will stand apart from film and television, and define the medium in the coming decades. Perhaps you’re intending solely to speak on your own behalf, about your own confidence, or about your own products, but anything else is extremely shortsighted.
Web video isn’t over, it’s not on life support and its imminent death has certainly been greatly exaggerated. It’s still warming up for the big fight, waiting for the bell to ring so it can come out swinging. You want to “save” web video? Differentiate it from what people already see around them; make it unlike anything they’ve ever experienced before.
GOD DAMN DUDE. You make me want to go back to the office right now and make some sales calls. FIRED UP!!!
Barrett, i’m glad you decide to chime in… and not ignore it.