Saturday, May 3, 2008

Not so sure this is a good idea

The big thing about the web and media is how do you produce content for the web and make money off of it?

You got some people with online stores, such as Apple, who rent and sell digital coppies of movies and TV shows. You have online video portals, such as Revver and Youtube, that monetize free videos with advertising content.

In a way these two models make sense. With feature films and TV shows, these are commodities that people actively seek out to watch. A demand for that content has been built out marketing and promotion. People will pay for the content.

The content on sites such as Revver (I'm pushing them because their video quality is higher than Youtube's. YT transcodes and overcompresses video in my opinion.) the videos aren't necessarily something that people have a desire to see. More likely, the viewer wants a brief distraction for a few minutes. While something like Mediocre Film's Retarded Policeman are funny and awesome, I found it merely by happenstance. I viewed it because it seemed like a fun two minute break to a day full of emails and outlines. If there had been a charge to watch it, I most likely would've hit the back button on Firefox and done something else.

That's the beauty of the video portal sites though, they offer free user-generated content. We're entertaining ourselves. Some videos will suck, sure, but some will also be awesome. Fact is, it doesn't cost us to sift through the dreck to find the gems.

However, there's a start up that wants to change the video portal model. Gorilla Tango thinks that you will pay money to watch videos on their site. Their idea is to have user-generated video content and charge you a pay-per-minute rate to watch these videos. The worst part of this is that we're not talking about professionally made video here, we're talking amateur video. Take a look at a sample of the Gorilla Tango experience.

I don't know about you, but that sample video is pretty awful and the idea of spending any sort of cash to watch what looks like a bad After Effects 101 class project offends me.

Skimming through their FAQ, it seems as if the proprietors are assuming that people will pay. They seem to have a superiority complex over sites such as Youtube, calling their content garbage. They just assume that people will pay for their videos instead. (Of course, they also suggest using YT as a promotional tool to drive people to your Gorilla Tango video, so go figure.) Also, take this quote from their FAQ:

Why don't I just put it on YouTube (and the like)?
Free video sites are great for generating traffic to short content but they will not generate you any revenue. If you want to put the movie that you put your valuable time, effort and money into on YouTube next to yet another video of some guy getting kicked in the balls, go ahead, it's your movie.

My main concern is that assumption of people paying. While people are wanting higher quality content, no one I know would want to spend cash on a what is essentially a pay-per-view Youtube. Besides, sites such as,, and are offering high-quality, professional internet video for free.

I'm curious though, any thoughts?

Iron Man

Okee dokee, I went to see Iron Man last night, adding my few bucks into the opening weekend gross, helping guarantee a sequel. (They're already talking about Iron Man 2 in 2010.)

I'll spare you a long review since there are already a million of them. Short story: It was pretty awesome.

It's your standard origin story and the story arc of Tony Stark becoming Iron Man is great. The fight scenes are awesome. You're getting exactly what you want for your ticket.

I gotta say, Downey Jr. was the perfect choice for Stark. After watching it, I don't think they could've picked a better actor.

Quick political complaint

Very, very rarely will I get into anything political on here as there are a skajillion other forums on the web for it, but I do want to voice a complaint.

I'm sick of riders on legislation.

I just read an article about how Bush wants to spend $770 million on alleviating rising food costs for impoverished countries in Africa. When I saw that, I thought, "Really? He actually wants to do something philanthropic?" Helping feed the hungry is awesome! What can be wrong with that?

Well, upon reading further, it turns out that the money to help feed the hungry is part of a larger bill to spend $70 billion on the Iraq war for 2009. In essence, the millions for food is only attained if the billions for war is approved. Not so philanthropic after all.

The bitch of this is that if Congress poo-poos spending any more money on a war that the majority of the American people want to be done with, the GOP will say that the Dems are horrible human beings who won't help the starving. The only other option in this case is to fund a war you don't support for the year after Bush leaves office.

I'm sickened by this tactic of taking something important and using it as a kind of hostage to get a horrible piece of legislation passed. The worst thing is that it usually works. Hey, here's a bill to give all kids with cancer a cute puppy! Of course, it's only a part of a bill that allows mercury dumping in water reservoirs. Don't deny them bald kids the puppies!

It works the other way around too. Sometimes there's a wonderful piece of legislation to be approved, but there's a rider in it to allow something absolutely horrible. For instance, a bill could be introduced that did away with mandatory sentencing on non-violent drug felonies, leaving the sentencing to the discretion of a judge, but in the bill is a rider for immunity to the telecom companies for illegal wiretapping.

I know it won't change, but I sure would like to see some sort of reform made to stop this practice of adding things to bills.