Monday, September 24, 2007

Web TV

No, I don't mean that box and wireless keyboard that was meant to bring the internet to a new audience but never really caught on as the connection was slow, and it was expensive. I mean the trend of moving TV to the internet, or taking it a step further and creating TV like content for the internet. Tonight I stumbled upon Goodnight Burbank and while I doubt they are the first to do so, it's the first time I've seen someone successfully create a "show" for the web.

A few simple observations:
1) The format is much shorter than traditional TV. While probably partially attributable to the shortening attention span of consumers, it seems this is also due to the expectation of web tv being short, as a result of YouTube and the likes (not sure if content transferable to a TV set would get away from this).
2) Ads can support the format (maybe?) Goodnight Burbank has ads spliced in at the end of episodes. This seems to imply that the commercial will survive into the new format (at least for now) - I'd be interested in how much revenue is generated per impression?
3) There's nothing fancy to the filming. With a fair degree of certainty, this content can be created with a mini-dv cam and a mac with video editing software. There are no special effect or other visual additives. This is almost refreshing as content has a chance to take center stage.

Silicon Alley Insider today ran a story claiming for internet video to be profitable, it needed to cost only hundreds of dollars a minute (they also posted this awhile back examining how popular a show would have to be to be profitable). I'm forced to ask how this costs much more. Being inclined to bootstrapping, the following seems to flow:

Actors - NYU is around the corner, I'm sure one/two/three aspiring actors would jump at the chance to have a performance put on the web - free

Space - Again, NYC is all around providing a host of shooting locations, esp if using limited equipment and thereby avoiding the necessity of permits and the like - free

Equipment - Beg/Borrow, chances are you have a computer and it has basic video editing software (free) and a video camera can probably be sourced fairly inexpensively - $limited

Marketing - What would it take to publicize a show? Here I'm not the most knowledgeable, but can imagine that a few hundred bucks would take you pretty far esp. with a bit of networking effort. - $$

Distribution - registering a domain name, and maybe some hosting services to ensure full control - $ (~$22/month)

Time - I suppose this is the real expense, what do you value your time at? - $$$

Am I missing any significant start-up costs? This rough tally put my estimate at ultimately being the cost of your time.

Now the real challenge, come up with content - any ideas?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


So, I signed up for LinkedIn the other day, and still haven't come to a conclusion on the service. I like that it is more "professional" than facebook, but at the same time the grime is part of what makes facebook so much fun.

I have a few contacts who are serial entrepreneurs or run personal businesses. These people seem to have by far the most contacts on the network. I wonder if this is a product of the field they are in (ie more startups find the sense of community useful and therefore sign up than from other industries) or if they are truly using the site as the tool it is intended. Ultimately, I think it's that their networks simply larger because they need to be in touch with many more individuals to be successful, and therefore they simply know more people than non-entrepreneurs.

Anyway, I'm curious to see what happens with this site as the first group to have facebook all the way through college enters the workforce and realizes the dangers of having their drunk tailgating pictures floating around, but still want to keep tabs on their network.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

random thoughts

none of my "where's george" dollars have resurfaced... I guess it's a bit much to assume someone would actually look at their dollar and realize there's a website written on it - oh well.

Joost came out with a new version. They are slowly adding more and more content. There are even a few movie channels now (granted, they're filled with '80s sci-fi movies - but i guess that's the target audience for now). It seems like they are slowly getting some legs - but they're still lacking in regards to content. Vudu recently launched their product. It is somewhere between Netflix and Joost, by featuring new videos in a streamed format - however the $399 hardware price tag is a bit steep...

Speaking of Netflix, I added my review RSS stream on the right - not sure I'll leave it up; seems to be getting a bit cluttered over there. Would be nice if I could just have it flow into the body of the blog as a post... any ideas?

Lastly, I've been staring at prosper a lot again recently. The more I look at it the more convinced I become there's a way to make money here, but I'm still not 100% confident. Clicking through it, I'm leaning towards the idea that financing people's startups through the site is a reasonable thing to do, I remain skeptical of the refinancing loans. Also, the amount of information provided by borrowers is minimal - something which I'm not used to, but then again the sums of money are relatively small and doing a significant amount of due diligence is not worth the time/effort. I'm also intrigued by the "groups" which I have yet to fully figure out.