Sunday, January 29, 2006

Amazon show

I checked out amazon.com's new show Fishbowl, and was really impressed and surprised. The draw to the show is the host, Bill Maher, but personally I'm excited that they're putting an original program so prominently on their site.

I kind of figured that an amazon show about books and movies would be a glorified ad for whatever the guest was hawking (in this case it was Stephen King, and his new book Cell. Instead I found the show to be more like Letterman and Leno, and the conversation ranged from the political to the social realities of being America's most famous creepy author, but barely even touched on the book itself. All in all, I found it very entertaining.

As for the interface, here's a screenshot of the show on the amazon home page:

I think this is a great example of how original entertainment can be integrated into the everyday use of a high traffic site. Amazon is an agreggator in of itself and something of a portal, but this concept can be applied to a wide variety of sites. I firmly believe that the most successful video content distribution on the web won't come in the form of dedicated entertainment channels or large portals, but from placing video strategically along the path that users like to take when they wander around the web.

Just because Amazon sells mostly books and movies doesn't mean that their only original programming has to be about books and movies. In fact, I can quite easily envision a variety of programming offered on Amazon, where each user is offered different programming prominently on the interface (like in the screenshot) that caters to their individual tastes - using the Amazon recommendation software.

From the article I posted above, you can see that Amazon's definitely thinking about other content:

Kathy Savitt, Amazon.com's vice president of strategic communications, content and initiatives, said the long-term goal is to help Amazon.com become more of a "destination," where offerings such as this help people find artists whose works they might not previously have thought of buying...

Savitt said the company has other, similar series in the works for 2006 and 2007, but she wouldn't provide more details.


Expand this concept a bit, and I can see video distribution functioning more like ad distribution, where video that you might like is offered everywhere you go, and you're able to either view it there or download it/subscribe to it, etc. It's reverse advertising - instead of an advertiser paying to imbed their ad into your content, the advertiser pays you to have your content associated with their site. My "network" will be a slate of entertainment content that is offered on a variety of high traffic sites, programmed through recommendation style filters (with the user able to refine the filters if they want to.) Everybody's talking about their model for content on the web, well this is my version...

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