Monday, March 9, 2009

The Future Of Online Video By Will Houghteling

This post was originally published on the site of the company that Will helped start, Portal-A Interactive

The success of Hulu and other professional-content providers (network shows essentially) in the online video space has momentarily (or permanently) distorted what I believe was the original value proposition of online video.

Most broadly the internet is a remarkable content publishing platform because it allows the user to circumvent traditional media channels and corporate conglomerates and bring opinions and content directly to the people, asking them to vote with their eyeballs. While the growth of the blogosphere certainly has its downside, it brought about a remarkable media-consumption revolution. No longer do a few key news sources serve as my lenses to view the world--I didn't only rely on the paid journalists at the NYT or WSJ (companies heavily reliant on corporate ad dollars) to analyze this past election, I checked out 538 daily and read my friend's opinions.

The benefit of this media-consumption change is that individual writers untethered to the corporate news structure can afford to be more risky, controversial or (hopefully) creative than the pros. That doesn't mean that they are always (or ever) better, but it does mean that they can push the envelope and push my own thinking in turn. There is now a marketplace of ideas with negligibly barriers to entry--may the best content get my views.

Ideally online video should serve a similar end--online video should be the more dangerous, risky and creative cousin of traditional TV. Online video creators are never going to beat their broadcast or cable TV brethren at creating high quality content--the budgets are smaller, actors worse, and audiences smaller. However, online video creates incredible opportunities to take risks. The barriers to entry and to distribute content are negligible--it is free to post to YouTube (or anywhere else) and videos are often spread for free virally.

This post was brought to you by Will, a co-founder of Portal A Interactive, a new-media production company that produced videos such as Ghostride The Volvo and Damn It Feels Good to be a Banker.


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