Tuesday, May 09, 2006

MTV and CSPAN showing their age

I'm interested in what Warner Brothers is doing with Bit Torrent because it's obvious and everyone should be doing it.

I'm interested in what Fox is doing with iTunes, because it shows that interest in that market is growing, not fading.

I'm much more intrigued with what MTV is doing with their "Overdrive" online property - launching a web simulcast of their popular shows, focusing on what's going on backstage:

So while Michelle Rodriguez, an actress from the CBS hit show "Lost," was being interviewed on the "T.R.L." set by one MTV host, Jamie Foxx, having finished his onstage appearance, was being followed backstage by the Overdrive cameras. Walking through the corridors and into the green room along with Mr. Foxx was an MTV V.J., Vanessa Minnillo, who introduced viewers to members of Mr. Foxx's entourage and took Mr. Foxx through the metal detectors that screen everyone on their way onto the "T.R.L." set.

(For the record, Mr. Foxx set off the alarm, which required Ms. Minnillo to give him a thorough full-body frisk for weapons. Though he had none, he did not appear to mind the procedure.)

Their approach plays to the fact that most young people watch tv with their computer in front of them. MTV takes into consideration that user experience is different for online viewing than for television viewing, and they're creating original content that takes into consideration their audience's behavior.

The only way that original content online is going to find a commercial audience is if producers adapt the conventions of their work to the new medium. MTV is doing that, Lost is doing that, and I'm sure others will follow.

What CSPAN is doing, however, is TOTALLY STUPID. No imagination, no comprehension of how web distribution models differ from television. Just lame.

It is important for online video providers to understand that C-SPAN-produced programming is protected by copyright in the same way that the video of any other news network is protected. Our goal in enforcing our copyright has been and continues to be to ensure that C-SPAN’s reputation for unbiased coverage of the political process is maintained.

It is more important for CSPAN to understand that no one is going to watch an hour and a half video on google so they can see a funny clip of Steven Colbert. And nobody is going to stop posting funny clips of Stephen Colbert. So just brand it, let it go where people will see it, and get over it. It was lame when it was Saturday Night Live, but CSPAN? Give me a break.


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