Engaging CultureMedia Production

TV’s Transition to the Web Is Happening Fast

Disney owned ABC became the latest traditional TV network yesterday to make a deal with AOL, so it’s programs can now be downloaded free through the AOL portal owned by Time Warner. NBC and Fox are preparing to launch a joint venture called “Hulu” which will make their programs available on several web portals, including AOL. This is important. It means that rather than focusing on streaming their programming only from their website, major programmers are linking up with the largest web portals in order to capture a larger audience.

That’s a decidedly different strategy, and worth watching. With the ABC deal, the programmer will use “geo-targeting” – which means they will insert one local advertisement, alongside three national ads during each hour of programming. That will help the local ABC affiliates, who are worried about being left out in the transition to the web.

Up to this point, I’ve always encourage my non-profit clients to keep their streaming programs on their own website. There have been a couple popular streaming religious sites like “Streaming Faith” but I prefer to keep the viewer on my client’s site, rather than sending them away. So I’m watching this move by ABC and others to see how it works. The fact is, these major portals like AOL, MSN, Myspace and others have a really large audience, so it will probably prove very effective.

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  1. Did someone circulate a secret memo to the Big TV executives? http://gigaom.com/2007/09/21/tv-networks-can-they-handle-the-truth/

    Suddenly they can’t wait to give away their television shows, betting that old will strike gold in the NewTeeVee world.

    First it was NBC (GE), then ABC (DIS), and now FOX (NWS) is giving away some of its shows on iTunes. (NewTeeVee has made a list of places where you can find network television, it’s also organized the networks in terms of 1980s movie characters.)

    “What we are seeing is a rather messy and inelegant fumbling into the future of video distribution,” Tim Hanlon of Denuo, a division of ad giant Publicis Groupe, told the LA Times. Fumbling or not, one thing is clear: Network television executives are ready to face the music. Good thing, too, because they are going to find out very soon just how many people are actually watching their shows, and what they can really make off of them.

    The advertisers should be rubbing their hands in glee: the television’s game of smoke-and-mirrors, a.k.a. notional audiences is going to be replaced by hard data.

    Look, I think what the networks are doing is great — at least they’re experimenting. But for the longest time they have passed themselves off as mass-market entertainment experts; the results of these online experiments are going to show just how expert they really are. Whether or not they can handle the truth is a different matter altogether.

    Bonus Link: Can Internet Video Deliver A Nielsen Ratings Point?

  2. Here is an interesting story perhaps worth a read related… the bigger questions raised by this is I think … is there an opportunity here for the distribution of quality content with a Christian world view outside the traditional distribution pathways? PC do you know these guys? how are they making their investment back?

    “Internet Converts” Aug 1, 2007, How one successful filmmaker traded the headaches of Hollywood for true Internet independence.


  3. Recently there has been a lot of talk about the merits (or not) of internet only distribution and what opportunity it may open to bypass more ‘traditional’ oriented distribution channels … in particular related to content that is produced from a Christian world view.

    Here is an internet distributed film/series that may represent an interesting case study of this phenomenon in progress.
    I am not entirely sure of the motivation behind the content (Missionary storyline) but it certainly has me interested in what happens next. Perhaps there is some relevance here to your own endeavors…

    “Little House Meets Sin City”
    That’s how screenwriter Geert Heetebrij describes The Interior, a unique new film about Christian missionaries that’s being released in weekly episodes exclusively online.
    by Mark Moring | 08/14/07

    “Internet Converts”
    How one successful filmmaker traded the headaches of Hollywood for true Internet independence.
    by Trevor Boyer | 08/01/07

    The funding aspect of these sorts of film ventures is perhaps the most intriguing and begs the question, will internet distribution continue to chip away at traditional distribution (theatrical, DVD retail, television, ppv, on-demand, etc) and ever become a viable means by which to distribute/exhibit and break even on production or better? I doubt it will ever replace it but I wonder for certain projects, will it become another venue if sorts. I’d be curious as to your take.

    … “Schleppi says he considers the initial $75,000 to be a long-term investment in a market with great potential. The team is examining revenue models including advertising and sponsorship/product placement, as well as advertising/sponsorship from some food companies and even pharmaceutical companies. They are also looking at selling HD or DVD downloads and/or VOD for a 90-minute compilation. He says funding for the next season should be in place by year end.”

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