I just received my Hulu.com newsletter and was pretty excited to read that NBC will be experimenting with some of their line-up, which will be premiering online a week before television. That’s right, the next experiment from a major broadcast network and an effort to bolster online video ad revenue is “web first” – a break from what has been “web after TV”. Of course many have been calling for simulcasting of content, but it seems to not be something that the broadcasters are interested in…yet.
Of course this “web premiere” concept is indeed for now an experiment, and as far as I can tell only 2 series – “Knight Rider”, and “30 Rock”, will indeed premiere online a week before they’re broadcast on TV. In theory, the popularity of certain programs should command serious viewership and ad dollars for an online premier.
The future of online video is incredibly bright, and the models are being ironed out right in front of our eyes. Personally, I love Hulu. Why they didn’t launch a similar VOD network through major cable MSO’s is beyond me – it just may have dominated the airwaves.
Meanwhile, On The Other Side of Video Town
I had posted previously about theWB.com rollout, and I finally found a few minutes to really kick the tires on what has the potential to become a suite of very effective consumer engagement tools, namely the “video dialog search”, and the mashup tool.
The WBlender, a mashup tool that allows a consumer to mix and match video clips, stills, captions and effects is perfect for the younger demographic that is most likely to flock to theWB versus Hulu (when I last logged in the site greeted me with “Word Up, Jason! Have you met the sultry vixens of yet?”). The mashup tool is easy to use and offers an engaging experience that should prove effective as long as they keep it up to date with fresh content to play with. Of course in true beta fashion, I was getting errors saving my mashups and then to make matters worse, there was no easy way to notify any support at the WB about it – that’s a big mistake 2.0! The site provides tools, but no way of interacting with theWB – get it together folks! You’re still in beta so I won’t hold it against you…yet.
The dialog search utilizes DigitalSmiths technology, which translates the audio into text and allows for searching, and soon advertising, based on the relevance of specific keywords contained in the dialog of the video. The results bring up entry points to the parts of the clip where the dialog mentions the keyword. It’s a very cool glimpse at the future. This will prove to be a slippery slope to walk down due to inaccuracies with this type of technology, but one with a fruitful future. Think contextual advertising within video content. However, we have a long way to go until we get there.
Having just spent an hour on Hulu and theWb.com, I am very proud of where we have come and excited about where we are going!