Saturday, November 22

Hitting the Online Video Hyperspace Button

It used to be, back in the day, that us old-timers used our video game systems to actually play video games. Playstation and Xbox continue to evolve into Transformer-style entertainment systems -- BlueRay DVD, live voice chat, streaming music, Netflix downloads.

Now comes news that Microsoft is producing custom video shows for Xbox Live:
The unique concept of masters of horror taking on comedy sees some of the world's greatest horror directors bring their comedic visions to life. The short film pilots will be available worldwide on Xbox LIVE from influential horror directors like James Wan (Saw, Death Sentence), David Slade (30 Days of Night, Hard Candy), James Gunn (Dawn of Dead, Slither), Lucky McKee ( May, The Woods), Andrew Douglas (The Amityville Horror), Adam Green (Hatchet), Peter Cornwell (The Haunting in Connecticut) and on-line director, John Clisham.

The collection is sponsored by the US Air Force. Ignoring the whole premise of horror directors trying to create comedy, this initiative puts one more dent into an already fractured media industry. (Update 12/08 = Nintendo has vaguely announced a similar initiative)

Broadband advertising has expanded from 15 second TV spot pre-rolls to a wide array of options. Online content production companies are everywhere these days (1, 2, 3), offering custom video programs on the cheap. Hulu has perfected the art of video distribution. Technology vendors continue to push mobile video. Video widgets ensure that you never have to leave your Facebook or Myspace page again.

Online video is supposed to kill TV. However, from a marketing standpoint, online is getting so fractured that it will become more difficult deciding where to spend the money. Not only do you need to decide if you want to create, sponsor, or just advertise around video content. Now you also have to decide what devices it should be delivered on.

In the end, the power lies primarily with those who have the best distribution system. There has always been a chicken-vs-egg battle online between the technology provider and the content provider. Ironically, owning both is not always the winning solution.

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