Tag Archives: gawker

Gawker Sounds Off Against Advertainment, Almost Sounds Relevant

Gawker, the once-mighty snark-blog of NYC that has been steadily losing its identity over the past few years, has post about MTV’s ad pitch at the upfronts:

“The network is also trying to sell sponsors on its “podbusting” techniques—i.e., making commercials that are like mini-shows in themselves. The theory, of course, is that making ads more like regular programs will defeat the almighty Tivo, with content so compelling that you cannot help but watch, slack-jawed, as the hypnotic 60-second Mountain Dew Bourne Ultimatum spinoff flickers before your eyes.”

We’ve been seeing more and more of this on TV with everything from mini-animated extras on USA’s “Psych” to a weird mini-soap opera with Alicia Keyes.  These efforts have been less than compelling and the trend worries Gawker:

“Please keep our television commercials in neat little blocks, so that we can get up and go to the bathroom while they are on, or, if we have the proper technology, skip them altogether. This whole “great ads that you want to watch just cause they’re so great” is a huge backlash waiting to happen.”

The problem is that it is only recently that us viewers could easily avoid standard advertising.  As our ability to avoid the ads grow, their impact will decrease and the brands will not be so interested in the model any longer.  Then who’s gonna pay for the TV you watch?

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Web Indies Still Looking for the Money

There are a couple of posts out there this week that look at just what, if any, money independent web content producers are making.

Over on Gawker they talk to Yuri Baranovsky, the writer for Break a Leg, an original web comedy produced by the guys at For Your Imagination.

“Here’s how it all breaks down: with over 2 million views on YouTube, we’ve received roughly $1,600 from their Partner Program. We also over half a million views at YouTube competitor Blip.tv, worth a whopping $100. Finally another competitor MetaCafe featured us on their front page and with nearly 100,000 views, we made $500 – which is great, except the only way you’ll ever get that many views is if you win a contest (like us) or your show is primarily about how round and pretty the female breast is. Plus a year later, MetaCafe still hasn’t paid us.”

At first glance that seems like very little money for so many views and it is, kind of.  The thing is, these are cumulative numbers for multiple episodes.  Before real money can be made these shows need to be getting at least 500,000 per episode.  At least that puts them into the low-end cable numbers.

Over on TVWeek they compare early-adopter and cash-success story Ask-A-Ninja, high-end vloggers BeetTV and life-caster iJustine.

The short story is $100,000/month for Ninja, $15,000/month for BeetTV and $1000/month for iJustine.  Each of these projects has a different set of costs so it is not clear how much they are actually putting in their pockets.

Any way you cut it, the web content game is not a get-rich quick scheme.  However, there is tons of opportunity out there and we’re only seeing the beginning in terms of people trying to tap the market.

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Pirate Paps!

The old grey lady of blogs, Gawker, pointed me to a fun piece in the WSJ about the rise of what they’re calling “citizen paparazzi”:

“…an Internet-fueled industry that feeds on the public’s seemingly insatiable interest in entertainment news. Photo agencies are increasingly relying on submissions from regular folk who either happen to bump into celebrities while carrying digital cameras, or who have injected themselves into the cat-and-mouse game of celebrity snapshots, despite any formal training.”

You kinda had to see this one coming.  Nowadays, nearly every single person out there has some kind of a camera, and thanks to the paps, we know what every star looks like and where they hang out.   The challenge for the pros is going to be how far they’re willing to go the beat out the casual snapper.  I’m sure that’s one reason paps have gotten more aggressive in general.  Competition breeds aggression.

This is also another great example of the modern pirate economy in action.  Also, at what point will their be so many people supplying pics of stars that the price drops to the point where there isn’t really a market for them at all, at least monetarily?

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Pilot’s Finding New Paths

NewTeeVee has a really interesting look at the path of NYU-student created UNDER THE ARCH – a web video which caused a fair amount of buzz when it was first released last year.

“The YouTube version has since been taken down, and now that Murray has changed his privacy settings on Facebook, it’s no longer available to the public via that channel, either. But not before it was spotted by an intern working at Madwood Entertainment, which was looking to develop a show around just such a concept. Filming is now complete on a new, 22-minute version slated to be released online in three 8-minute installments.

What struck me is how the show’s development has been fueled by feedback from the public — as opposed to network executives armed with focus groups. In a phone conversation last week, Executive Producer Patrick Corcoran described the show’s casting as “organic.” He and Murray repeated the term in comments to the Washington Square News, NYU’s student paper.”

I believe we’re going to be seeing a whole lot more of this sort of thing.  WE NEED GIRLFRIENDS has followed a similar path and is shooting a pilot for CBS.

One big question is how long will the networks be able to offer a better deal than one might get simple by remaining online.  Networks tend to take all rights and can easily destroy the indie nature of these projects once they are forced to meet the needs of a much broader demographic.

The internet is designed for niche viewing. Network TV is not.

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Gawker (and Nick Denton) Finally Notice Quarterlife

Gawker, which used to make fun of the NYT for being so late on “breaking” culture news, is finally taking a swing at quarterlife.  In fact, it is Gawker’s own top dog, Nick Denton, telling us how it is:

“Marshall’s not stupid; it took a lot of skill to market his show and convince NBC to give him full creative control. And that’s great news for creators. But in doing so, he’s changed the Great American Internet Dream. It was just about to evolve from “make a good web show, get famous on TV” to “make a good web show, get famous without TV.” Now many indie creators will water down their work to make it palatable for NBC and other buyers. Hollywood exiles will spend their budgets not on promising fresh creators but on Quarterlife clones”

Not to disagree with one of the kings of the blogosphere, but he’s wrong.  Quarterlife will not spawn clones since, as he does notice, the show sucks.  Just because it was picked up by NBC and MTV does not make it a hit.  People will actually have to watch the show.  Considering there have been less than 5M viewers total to the online series, this does not bode well.

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Gawker calls out The Onion

Although Gawker is not usually my go-to-site for new media news, there is a nice, concise slam of The Onion’s latest web video offering, a review of the top “viral” videos in the land.

As Gawker so succinctly puts it:

“This isn’t just the product of a snide writer, it’s true; but why bother telling me not to watch these things? If they’re so important and buzzed about, save me the time and sum them up instead of just saying “Man, we hate this guy.” You’re writers, aren’t you? Give me a run-down or go find me something worth watching, so you can at least rack up pageviews with the embedded video.”

Sing it, my brother!

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