Are Hollywood Pros Smarter Than You?

Jul 31st, 2007 | By | Category: Citizen Media, Commentary, Digital Video Downloads, Internet TV, Making Money with Podcasts, Streaming Video, Video

A new Hollywood video destination site, My Damn Channel, is the latest attempt by mainstream media companies to break into the exploding Internet video market. While the site is getting hyped by the Associated Press & Variety, it appears to be a variation on all the other mainstream media video destination sites that have failed to make much of an impression with Internet surfers.

My Damn Channel brings together Hollywood veterans, including comedian Harry Shearer, filmmaker David Wain and music producer Don Was, with the idea that Internet audiences are starved for professionally produced content. The site hopes to be a destination site, and plans to syndicate its content to other Internet video sites and collect a share of the revenue.

The concept appeals to content creators because the Internet can provide creative options not available through traditional channels.

“If you walk into any of those places today, you will sooner or later be smothered by network creative input,” Shearer said. “And unless you have made the studios about a billion dollars, your project will be creative inputted to death.”

While demand for Internet video, both amateur and professional, is exploding, there’s also a long history of Internet video destination sites announced by traditional media that get spikes of hype and then quickly disappear. My Damn Channel’s site, which is much harder to navigate and much slower than established video destinations, looks like it could follow the path of HBO’s recently demised This Just In. HBO’s site, like My Damn Channel, promised to make a splash in the world of Internet video by offering professional mainstream content, but failed to make an impression and was put out of its misery in less than a year.

Here’s an example of the type of content that My Damn Channel is staking its fortunes upon:

Are Hollywood Internet Video Sites Doomed To Fail?

The current generation of mainstream video sites are built around the idea that Hollywood pros are smarter than you are. The sites assume that the pros will produce more appealing and interesting videos than you and the other millions of people that create Internet content.

These sites also assume that pros can intelligently decide which projects to allocate money to. The pros select a small group of projects to fund, assuming that they can pick high-quality content that a lot of people will want to see.

In effect, sites like My Damn Channel assume that a handful of Hollywod pros are smarter than the millions of people that make up video communities like YouTube.

YouTube’s success, though, is based on the opposite idea. It assumes that if you have hundreds of thousands of people posting content, there will be a lot of interesting stuff. YouTube also assumes that its community can effectively separate the good from the bad and make it easy to find the most interesting videos

It’s early to be making predictions about My Damn Channel, but it looks doomed, unless it can learn from the few Internet video destination sites that have been successful.

No Responses to “Are Hollywood Pros Smarter Than You?”

  1. Eric says:

    The only thing that separates this video from video podcasts and YouTube is the lighting quality, which is outstanding. Too bad the rest of the video isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, the song was amusing (and who doesn’t like Darth Cheney lampooned?), but it wasn’t anything above or beyond the many other pieces of parody out there.

    Hum. Drum.


  2. Drew says:

    Harry Shearer is brilliant!

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