Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Video News Roundup

It been a busy month in the world of online video content. Advertisers are catching up, Apple continues to innovate and YouTube is working hard to avoid becoming the next Napster. Les Moonves, the CEO of CBS, made an appearance on the Charlie Rose show and was promptly grilled by Mr. Rose with questions about the new world of video content [Mr. Rose's show is now available for viewing and download on google video, though it'll cost you a buck]. Mr. Moonves replied with cocky, "I'm a rich motherfucker," style comments, demonstrating a knowledge of which companies were making money using internet video without really convincing me that he actually knew how to approach the new world of integration.

Speaking of integration, Apple's bold announcement that they'll be releasing iTV early next year means that integration is getting closer and closer to being what we all expect it to be. Unlike "web TV" boxes or even "media center PC's," this new system promises wireless streaming of computer based video to your TV. They even claim it will have HDMI connectors to yield the true HD picture quality that plasma and LCD TV's are designed for. Pretty soon, the 320 x 240 picture size we've come to accept on the web will go the way of the rotary telephone, Brittany Spears and light up sneakers. The convergence of cheap HD technologies, faster connection speeds, new computer chips that use lasers to transmitt data and the rising consumer demand for choice and control could make iTV a product whose significance is on par with the invention of color TV. This is all assuming that global warming doesn't flood every major coastal city and destroy the world economy.

The NY Times has been on point this week with two related articles worth mentioning. The Media Frenzy article from 9.17.06 discusses the NBC web video syndicate NBBC which aims to match content creators with websites in need of specific types of video. To an independent video creator, this sounds like music. However, all in all this article didn't say much more than "there's gold in them there hills". Ok great. I'm looking for work. There is also the bit about movies on the iTunes store, but this isn't so special considering that people have been downloading feature films free of charge for the past several years. I'm not sold on watching a feature film on a video ipod, but it will be interesting to see if these $15, lower-quality-than-DVD downloads catch on. There is also the question as to whether studios outside of the ABC/Disney empire will get involved.

Today's article on YouTube covers to groundbreaking story that Warner Music will now allow content creators to use their music within video pieces. Shared ad revenues and web distribution of Warner music videos theoretically makes the deal work for all parties, but whether this will really address the rampent stealing, remixing and subsequent reposting of copyrighted materials on YouTube remains to be seen. If this issue does not get cleared up, YouTube may face the kind of suits that knocked Napster from it's perch as a cultural icon. A big difference is that YouTube is making the types of deals that skirt around major suits before the lawyers have time to build a major case against them. Smart. Check out the YouTube boys on Charlie Rose:


While I find all of this very interesting, what I'm trying to figure out is how to carve out a niche in what seems to be a massive potential video market. Advertising is obviously a huge key but I'm also curious as to how to sell video content directly. Good video content is worth something as a stand alone and that is what I'm aiming for. Advertising dollars are great, but if the actual product creates some kind of a profit, than the advertising dollars become the icing on the cake. A delicious cake. Think double chocolate. This is of course what the networks are thinking and doing, but I believe that good indi producing can eventually create content worthy of this dual-profit model. Naturally, my interests are not always profitable ones, though I do think and hope that sustainable living will continue to grow into America's cultural narrative. As always, my fingers are crossed.

1 Comments:

Blogger Bobnozal said...

Ah and I am sure you will mention Current and it's new networks with Yahoo. Quite the amiable partnership!

11:10 PM  

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