News: Nielson Online reports that YouTube and other video sharing sites have seen a spike of 20% in their viewers since the TV writers’ strike has started. The article speculates whether the spike can be attributed to the writers’ strike or not, as opposed to a more general growth in broadband Internet use. (More)
TV Goodnight Kiwi
According to TVNZ, “Before 24 hour TV Goodnight Kiwi signalled the end of nightly broadcasts. The last airing of this animation was in 1994. Today the characters are regarded as icons of New Zealand culture.” Rest of videos here.
I have just seen the coolest video interface ever made. Once you scroll over, the video images scroll over with your mouse. The look is similar to Windows Vista, only better. You can find it on the Washington Post website, for a new feature called “On Being.” Every Wednesday, the Post will interview people and post their videos discussing life; you can also add your own comment. It’s meant to increase community, aka “social networking” in the Web 2.0 world.
News: Spanish TV channels Telecinco and Cuatro are reportedly negotiating licensing deals with Google to allow some of their popular videos on YouTube. Apparently, they’ve asked YouTube already to remove some unauthorized clips of their shows. (More here)
News: Jake Coyle has a provocative piece about “TV Networks Embrace YouTube Model,” which discusses how more TV networks are trying to incorporate videos created by their fans. According to Coyle, “VH1, currently airing the third season of ‘Web Junk 20,’ will next month premiere the Jack Black-produced ‘Acceptable TV,’ which attempts to fuse TV with the Web. In February, Nickelodeon debuted a two-hour programming block called ‘ME:TV,’ featuring contributions from 10-year-olds. TLC last week began a six-part documentary series, ‘My Life as a Child,’ where children were given cameras to videotape their lives.”
Current TV, which is shown by cable and satellite carriers in some 40 millions homes, utilized user-created content in “pods” even before YouTube. On the Current TV site, you can upload your own videos and ads for the network.
Analysis: One day, we should expect to hear that one of the big networks — ABC, CBS, NBC, or Fox — has gone with some user-created content. It’s a natural progression from reality TV, and, since the networks seem to be running out of original ideas, I think users can fill the creativity vaccuum facing the networks.
News: Washington Post writer Sara Kehaulani Goo has written an article titled “YouTube struggles despite dominance.” According to the article, Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research said, “‘I give them a C-minus [in dealmaking]. When you negotiate with a media company, you have to demonstrate respect for their content.” He said YouTube needed to use more sophisticated technology to prevent the unauthorized uploads, which would in turn help foster more trust between YouTube and the media companies. ‘There is software out there — it’s not perfect, but it’s out there.'”
Analysis: I agree there were a few hiccups in the past month with YouTube. Lost deals with CBS and Viacom, plus rumblings from Universal. But Google CEO Eric Schmidt did seem to right the ship by his public comments. And I still think it’s significant no big media content provider has sued YouTube yet. This may be because, as Scott Kessler of Standard & Poor’s said, “If these companies want to distribute their video content online for free or supported by advertising, they need YouTube more than YouTube needs them.”
News: In a few hours, BitTorrent will launch a new website, where you can rent movies, and buy TV shows, and video games. BitTorrent is famous for its peer-to-peer software (which does allow for illegal file sharing), but, after striking a deal with Hollywood studios, it is developing a a BitTorrent Entertainment Network on its site. The rub is, at least for the movies, you can only get a rented copy that expires in 30 days after purchase, or 24 hours after viewing. (More here)
“Somebody once said you have to embrace your enemy,” said Doug Lee, executive vice president of MGM’s new-media division. “We like the idea that they have millions of users worldwide. That is potentially fertile, legitimate ground for us.”
Analysis: Can’t wait to see the new site. Some question whether “renting” movies is inferior to being able to purchase them outright. My guess is that a significant number of people would be fine with renting a movie, just like Netflix. The difference here is that it takes 2 or 3 hours to download a movie over the Internet with a good broadband connection. That’s still pretty time consuming.