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?

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