Tuesday, October 05, 2004

User Generated Content: Low Def TV

One of my projects between Vivendi and Intercasting was a show idea that I worked on with a couple of friends called Low Def TV. A friend sent me a link yesterday to a site called ManiaTV which is a web equivalent of what we were shooting for with Low Def, well sort of.

In February of 2002 we launched MP4.com at Vivendi. The idea was to basically do the MP3.com thing for internet generated video content. The tools for producing really cool and high quality content were widespread with Flash and DV Cam filmmaking and we wanted to showcase this. The site was given zero resources and our GM Natasha Rabe was told to fight to make it work. The site got some really cool traction but ultimately got killed in the divestment of the various Internet assets.

Joe Fleischer (Big Champagne, Crush Management) and I spent a bunch of time talking about how TV evolves, etc. Joe was explaining how TV shows and movies were being trading on Peer to Peer networks at an amazing rate. I shared with him my concept of content coming from the edge of the network as being the most interesting trend in media to me. So we started thinking about Opensource TV and eventually came up with Low Def TV.

We got a hold of David Todd, the content acquisition guy from MP4.com, and started soliciting a bunch of content from the best of MP4. We spent a couple of months getting together an edit and eventually shot and edited a 22 minute pilot. I love the show, but it was really naughty, kind of a variety show for the Jackass crowd. We sent it out to limited parties and seemed to be getting some interest until some woman named Jackson flashed a nipple during the Superbowl.

At any rate we have started sending it out again for reaction, and if you want a peek at the DVD drop me an email.

There are a multitude of talented and bright people doing a variety of things with edge created content using a variety of distribution mechanisms. I haven't spent much time with them yet, but my take is as follows:

1. Centralized hosting of video content costs too much.
2. P2P hosting of content has the challenge of either 1. closed networks, or 2. service level challenges, or 3. possible legal issues (STOP INDUCE)
3. People don't watch TV on computers. Yet. The work with companies like Akimbo and others holds some promise.

For now, I think the best one can do is aggregate content from the edge of the network into show formats (Indie, art, comedy, etc.) and pitch these as the next step in Reality TV. For now.

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