Old Media Still Doesn’t Grok Web Video

image See this story from NewTeeVee, reporting on how CBS head-honcho Les Moonves called internet video "a lab for our TV network", and a place to test out programming ideas.

That’s just wrong-headed, old media thinking.  True success with Internet video means thinking of it not as a farm team for existing media (broadcast/cable), but as a new way to communicate, a new medium with its own story-telling arc, rhythm and feel.

If you’re just testing what will ultimately end up being 22 and 44 minute television shows, with 3-7 acts and plenty of time for commercial breaks, you’re doing it wrong.

At Revision3, we think different.  Our end goal is to create great programming that lives and dies on the Internet. Success, for us, is predicated on Internet viewership, not on some eventual broadcast or cable deal.

Check out Diggnation, or SYSTM.  Would those shows make it on TV?  How about Scam School?  Maybe as a vignette here or there, but not a repeatable segment.

Even Web Drifter, which was originally designed for Comedy Central, is at its core a great web program.

Moonves and I agree on at least one thing – Internet video won’t kill broadcast or cable, it’s an additive thing.  But it will develop into something entirely different.  And true success will be found by those who embrace the vagaries of the media, not try to cow-path an old media vision into a new media landscape.

It always makes me happy to see MSM miss the boat when it comes to new media like this.   They’re just going to need us even more once they realize how completely they’ve screwed it up.

Comments, as always, welcome.


Lawrence Jordan September 29, 2008

One of the smartest guys in web video. Great post Jim.

Rob Sandie September 29, 2008

Great Point.

Online is a new outlet for Videos with a whole new set of rules. Old media guys are ignorant/stupid in this new playing field.

That being said, I tend to side with CBS executive in this context as I asked myself:

If you put a pilot episode of something on Hulu, you think the success there would be a measure of how well it would succeed on TV?

I think that is what CBS executive is probably eluding to and I think it more or less would be a good way of going about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I hate Webisode cr** that the studio’s produce, but I think if there was a sincere focus on producing online content that they could pilot and build shows for online first then TV later.

CBS just needs to acquire/learn from the guys like rev3 😉

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