Archive for November, 2008

There’s nothing wrong with the video business

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

I’m inspired by a quote in Ian Roger’s presentation at Grammy MusicTech, by PE’s Chuck D.  The quote was related to music, here’s my take for Video.

“There’s nothing wrong with the video storytelling business, the problem is with the TV, DVD and Theatre business…”

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Open Media Web

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Just came across Open Media Web and an interview they did almost a year ago with Lucas Gonze.

Unfortunately the http://www.openmediaweb.org site is down at the moment so I don’t know what else they have done.

The key takeaway is that having an Open approach to Media on the web is fundamental.  There are some really important aspects of where we are today.

  • Video and Audio are ugly step sisters on the internet.  In HTML, text is text with all it’s richness and cultural and literal meaning.  Audio and Video are embeds.  They can never be fully integrated in the the internetwork, they are blobs devoid of any meaning.
  • Not all media on the internet is referencable by a URI.  Many sites, e.g., NBC, keep the video in their own environment and don’t allow embeds.  In fact they hide them behind dynamic javascript.

Lightweight specs like oEmbed are helping to resolve some of these problems and enable openness, but we are far from broad adoption.  Here’s an example from Hulu;

Web Page – http://www.hulu.com/watch/44526/the-simpsons-homer-and-lisa-exchange-cross-words

Direct Video Link – http://www.hulu.com/embed/O3fIj2do8jFZt4xbN4YMDQ

Video Metadata in XML – http://www.hulu.com/api/oembed.xml?url=http%3A//www.hulu.com/watch/44526/the-simpsons-homer-and-lisa-exchange-cross-words

I’m looking forward to seeing more lightweight specifications that can open up closed systems.

Web-Studio Strategy

Thursday, 13 November 2008

The price of entry for video online is to create good quality content from the start.  Finding an audience and a fan base is critical.

The stragegy of web studios such as Agility deserves discussion.

I’m not sure what conflicts Agility sees with content and distribution by hosting their own video portal.

Of course they want to distribute their content as widely as possible, but to rely on each video platform for your success seems a little short sighted.  That’s what most video producers do today.  They hope youtube, or blip or joost or whatever will invest in them by giving them;

a) preferential placement on the home page, or

b) marketing of their show on the platform site.

Unfortunately placing your bets on hope isn’t a strategy.

When thinking about your web or micro-studio strategy, I’d ask the following;

  • Why not create a video portal for your video? To innovate new video and interactive media.
  • Why not create a portal to take ownership of your revenue stream? To innovate new advertising media.
  • Why not create multiple video portals for your video? If each show isn’t related, then why host it all on one site like 60frames and others do. Nextnewnetworks does this well.
  • Why not aggregate similar and relevant video from other [web] studios on the portals? Yes, aggregate your competition on your own site. It’s happening already on youtube and hulu, why not take control of it and provide a richer and deeper experience for the fans.
  • Why not provide a portal to aggregate your viewing community?  All your fans are spread across multiple viewing platforms.  Bring them together in a single place, so they can have a meaningful interactions with one another.  Give your fan base the opportunity to explore more relevant content offered by you and your competition.

You need not present this as a traditional portal, it’s really a mechanism that could even be a widget.

The essence is that a portal to relevant video is a way to aggregate demand (for you and others) and give people an opportunity to discover new video while at the same time helping you and your competition to maximise their fan base engagement and to support the industry with new advertising models.

Teaching old dogs new tricks

Friday, 7 November 2008

We’ve talked about it before, a few times.

You can’t simply recreate the studio model for the Internet, check out all these internet video studios laying off people (60frames, Revision3, SpotRunner, Break, ManiaTV, and Heavy)

I heard some bloke on the LA subway talking yesterday saying, “Yeah the film was funded my Mirimax, but it was badly managed, they never gave enough time to create the hype so it didn’t do well”.

Exactly.  Your mothers TV and Movies were all about creating the “hype”.  It was about using marketing dominance to drive audience numbers.

It doesn’t work that way on the internet.  You can’t spend enough, consistently, over and over again.  There are too many choices, and no one looks at display ads anyway.

If you want to build an audience, quality matters.  You need to spend money on TALENT.  You need to build an audience, one fan at a time.  There’s no formula anymore.

So why continue to use the studio model and continue to take away creative freedom?  The internet and cheap production tools give an individual ultimate creative freedom.  They can drive their own destiny.  They don’t need the studios anymore.

Revolutionary new organisations built around new production tools and new types of content like Machinima.com are receiving funding in a financial market that is collapsing.

Let’s trust talent to be competent enough to create something compelling, to create their own stories.  We need to give them the tools to produce content, host content and build an audience.  And we need to give viewers an efficient way to discover and find this new content.

Let’s build a video infrastructure that actually provides benefit to the people that matter.  Storytellers and their fans.