Posts about tv

So bright

Brightcove, Jeremy Allaire’s new video-serving company, had lots of big news today: investments from AOL, Barry Diller’s IAC, Hearst, and Allen & Co. They also made a deal with AOL to distribute its video there. (Full disclosure: I think I’m on Brightcove’s board of advisors and I’ve introduced them to some companies.)

What I like about Brightcove — besides Allaire — is that they enable many models: ad-supported video, pay-per-view video, subscription video, and free video (that is, paid for by the producer). They make publishing and playing the video easy thanks to copious Flash (remember that Allaire sold his company to Macromedia and was there for sometime).

What will be interesting is seeing how this works with all the other means of video distribution that are popular: Bittorrent, of course; plus iTunes; plus TiVo to iPods and PCs…. There is no question that there is pentup demand for video among consumers and even more among advertisers, who’ve wanted to turn the internet into TV from day one. They want the motion and excitement of video. They also want the ease of buying TV upfront, but those days are over. Over.

Says Iconoculture‘s newsletter today:

Last month ABC and Apple started offering next-day downloads of major primetime programs. It started with Desperate Housewives and Lost for $1.99 per episode, and sparked a reaction (long in the works) from NBC/DirecTV and CBS/Comcast to offer similar content on demand for only $.99. Then, just this week, AOL/Time Warner decided to up the ante by opening up their back catalog of television content on AOL’s online network for free.

How did this on-demand flash happen? Wasn’t this level of à la carte TV consumer control and access supposed to be years off? No; not really. Consumers have already been building their own level of mix-and-match programming and TV personalization with services like BitTorrent and a flood of new independent and user-created content via the web. Learning from the music industry’s late 90’s struggles with Napster and its brethren, broadcasters and studios are offering their content before consumers get too far ahead of them.

From a TV ad and affiliate sales point of view, these developments are like reversing the rotation of the Earth, flipping the script in terms of traditional appointment viewing assumptions. What that means for the next several years is a continued shift toward far more targeted marketing campaigns and a dependence on consumers to invite ads rather than merely accept the ones pushed to them. To get those invitations, advocacy, trust, and customization are the price of entry.

My emphasis.

: Frank Barnako writes about this today and is nice enough to link to my exploding-tv posts. The newer ones are here; the older ones (from the old blog platform), starting in June last year, are here.

: Now Viacom is in talks with Google about video search and VOD. [via Thomas Hawk]

Vlog-it lives

Long-promised, Vlog-it — the lite version of Visual Communicator — is out and it costs only $49.95. Visual Communicator gives you a teleprompter on your PC and lets you drag-and-drop inserts of audio, video, graphics, and such onto your script so, as you record it, they are recorded, too, eliminating the need for post-production and editing. Unfortunately, it works only on Windows.

Web 2.0: Bright Cove

Jeremy Allaire just revealed his new video company, Bright Cove, also featured in today’s NY Times. I met Jeremy and saw the company many months ago and loved it then, for it enables the explosion of TV: People can use his Flash-based player and system to serve video under various business models: ad-supported, pay-to-view, pay-to-serve. He’ s making it easy and big. (Disclosure: I liked what I saw so much that I’m likely to join his advisory board.)

Poor woman’s West Wing

Boy, I’m unimpressed with Commander in Chief: speeches that make Bush sound profound, silly and anachronistic gender-role-reversal gags, cheesy plotting, cardboard characters. C-

The golden age of TV

We’ve been watching the real golden age of TV lately on HBO.

This week’s episode of Six Feet Under was a wonderful exploration of the pain that death not only causes but exposes in a family when we leave them behind.

In The Times, Virginia Heffernan tried too hard, as she does, to intellectualize her reaction to it. I’m not sure whether this is an attempt to raise up the lowly arts of TV and TV criticism or to give TV credit for being more than some think it is.

In choosing among these idioms of mourning, Lionel Trilling’s great series of lectures, “Sincerity and Authenticity,” published under that title in 1972, comes to mind. Sincerity – what Trilling calls “congruence between avowal and actual feeling”- once seemed (to the Romantic poets, x say) like an exalted state of existence that could be achieved only with conscientious attention to the heart.

And what dorm do you live in?

She goes on:

But the ideal of sincerity has long ago been devalued, rendered commercial or quaint. Today, for example, it is associated with Coldplay, mewling God-and-country Republicans and weepie cable-television dramas like “Six Feet Under” that appeal mostly to women and gay men.

Heffernan gives sincerity one star.

Oh, well, I liked it.

I also liked Entourage these last two weeks, especially in its skewering of the potential for egotistical corruption in citizens’ media, mocking an online movie blogger (a la Ain’t It Cool News) as a power-hungry star-f’er.

The MT Law Blog wonders why I’m not enraged. Enraged? Hell, no, I’m entertained.

I only wish that The Comeback was a tenth as good as these two have turned out to be. It is as cringeworthy as they are memorable.