Video-sharing site turns Hollywood producer, marketer

12 08 2007

The Hollywood Reporter sheds light on a fascinating hybrid deal between video-sharing site vidshadow and a new comedy movie, starring Danny DeVito and Katey Sagal. vidshadow will produce two scenes in No Place Like Home, which will feature product placement for the site, as well as cross-promotion and buzz marketing of the movie within a dedicated microsite, also syndicated to 16,200 other sites.

YouTube may need to re-brand as SueTube

7 08 2007

First came Viacom’s US $1 billion action against YouTube, then the U.K. Football Association and music publisher Bourne piled in.

Now others including the U.S. National Music Publishers Association, the U.K. Rugby Football League and the Finnish Football League Association have joined the class action.

Rumblings from Japan too, where a consortium of television, music and film companies is saying that the video sharing site isn’t doing enough to counter copyright infringment. This time it hasn’t turned legal, yet, but the criticism adds to a growing clamour that Google is dragging its heels over the introduction of content-fingerprinting technology.

Dailymotion launches version for iPhone

6 08 2007

Video sharing site Dailymotion today announced a version of the service which can be accessed via the Apple iPhone. The mobile version features a stripped-down user interface and Quicktime-compatible encoding, making it suitable for viewing via the devices Safari web browser.

Chinese social networks: business models

4 08 2007

Adding to an earlier post on Chinese video sharing sites, here are some downloadable interviews with Victor Koo, CEO of and Gary Wang, CEO of

Top 20 video-sharing sites rated

4 08 2007

Time to blow the dust-off Dan Taylor’s excellent round-up of video-sharing sites from last August. Alot has happened in the 12 months since, but still a great summary of key features and ease-of-use.

Standing out in the crowded social video space

3 08 2007

Social network and video sharing site Your Truman Show has opened up its beta to the general public, 10 months after its initial launch, around three months later than originally anticipated.

Cheekily borrowing from the title of Paramount’s 1998 movie [has Viacom sent in the lawyers yet?], the site has cleverly positioned itself with the focused offer of being “dedicated to collecting personal stories”, simultaenously a sufficiently broad content definition to catch a huge range of consumer-generated content.

One novel feature of the navigation is the ability to filter content on a sliding scale ranging from comedy to drama, alongside the somewhat curious mood-based categories of calm to exciting.

At a time when major players in the market are aiming to make their services stickier by adding more professionally-produced content, Your Truman Show may struggle to stand out through consumer-generated tales alone. That said, the BBC’s digital storytelling initiatives Video Nation and Telling Lives continues to attract regular, if niche, audiences and has done a tremendous job in promoting media literacy among its users.

Online video: two new original content sites debut

31 07 2007

Two new services had the wraps taken off today, both promising to put some finesse into online video. was conceived by Rob Barnett, formerly a MTV and CBS Radio exec., with contributions from comedian and Simpsons and This Is Spinal Tap star Harry Shearer, muso Don Was, comedian Paul Reiser and filmmaker David Wain. The site is billed as “an entertainment studio and new media platform created to empower artists to co-produce, distribute and monetize original, episodic video content.”

The aim is to host short-form content both within the site and to syndicate content via third party sites social network and video sharing sites, including a branded channel on YouTube. Revenue will generously be split on a 50:50 basis between the site and the content creator, reports Variety (for the Google deal it’s 50% to mydamnchannel and the other half to Google).

David Wain, best known for appearing in MTV’s 1990s comedy series The State, as well as directing his own material, will produce Wainy Days, a 10-part web-exclusive series, following his dating exploits.

Harry Shearer will produce and star in a seven-week series of pop culture and political spoofs, as well as a 20-part series of animated shorts.

In further echoes of the linear broadcast model, there’ll be an emphasis on content refresh rates on a weekly basis.

“There’s a slew of sites with hundreds of thousands of videos that are impossible to find,” Rob Barnett told Variety. “We’re taking a very different approach than all the YouTube imitators.”

In its coverage the New York Times has gone a 2.0 step further by embedding one of the vids from the new site. [The same piece also references Next New Networks and Funny or Die, also worth a look at if you’re curious as to how indie-driven online comedy offers are shaping up.] But there’s also a killer quote from Barnett on the lack of imagination driving equivalent TV network offers rights now: “Their strategy is to try to force feed a lot of pre-purposed programming onto the Internet to make a quick buck. What I wasn’t seeing was a charge to create new and original content for an audience that frankly is a little bit smarter than some of the crusty old media moguls.”

Additional coverage from Time lays it on thick on the distinctiveness [disruptiveness?] of the offer, compared with mainstream counterparts [somewhat ironic, coming from AOL TW], while the Hollywood Reporter echo sentiment expressed by Barnett in the NYT: “”The old media companies don’t know how to correctly program for this medium — they have senior vice presidents on top of vice presidents telling the most talented people in the world how to sing and act. We’re giving artists total freedom, and we’re paying for everything — technology, bandwidth, PR, production and promotion to put up a fully functioning Web site.”

mydamnchannel is backed by an undisclosed sum from Okapi Venture Capital.

Also bowed today was, the much-anticipated launch from Hollywood’s United Talent Agency and online ad agency Spot Runner and backed by filmmarkers the Coen brothers. Judging by the holding page in place at time of posting, it’s more of a press / investor ploy right now than for joe punter.

DailyMotion inks content deal with RDF USA

28 07 2007


Video sharing site DailyMotion is to license programming from independent producer RDF USA notes the Hollywood Reporter via Reuters.

RDF USA is the stateside off-shoot of the UK indie company best known for making inventive use of the space / time continuum during the British Queen’s photo shoot with Annie Liebovitz, disgracing the BBC. In the UK its hit TV shows have included Wife Swap, while its US subsidiary has produced commissions such as  Shaq’s Big Challenge for ABC. In February 2007, RDF established a digital unit, tasked with the creation of content intended for internet distribution.

Meanwhile, Daily Motion had 37.5 million unique users worldwide and 3.2 million in the U.S. in May and out-performed YouTube in its home countryof France

“YouTube dwarfs DailyMotion in the U.S., but its 4.7 million streamers (which translates to people who actually watch videos as opposed to just visiting) in April led other indie dot-com comers, including MetaCafe and, according to comScore Media Metrix,” said the report.

“While it will clearly be very difficult for any video site to replicate what YouTube has accomplished, is stating the strongest case at the moment, both domestically and internationally,” Erin Hunter, executive vp media and entertainment solutions at comScore, told the Hollywood Reporter.

DailyMotion is but the latest social network seeking to ramp up its selection of professionally-produced content; MySpace and Crackle (formerly Grouper) have announced similar initiatives during the past fortnight.