In our corner of the world, the argument du jour seems to be: Will pro TV networks kill web creativity? It’s a valid question and the sparring is fun to watch. But ultimately there is a much bigger, more interesting story — about the bold new places NewTeeVee will take us, where video has not been before.
As for Web vs. Pro? I agree with the gist of this essay by Scott Kirsner — which says that professionally produced material will make it tougher for small-time innovators. Right now the Web stuff is fun, free of censors, and shows the enthusiasm of ideas. And now that creation tools are cheap and easy, and distribution is essentially free, anyone can get video creativity in front of a potential audience. What the Web doesn’t do, however, is guarantee that you can make a living off it.
Already, the networks are putting plenty of stuff online, which exploit popular shows like CBS’s Survivor and introduce new ones, like AOL’s Sessions music shows. The great addendum (which Kirsner and others note) is that the doors will now never close on garage-band creativity. The smart guess is we’ll see big media snap up the top web plays — like Amanda Congdon, and maybe soon Ze Frank. Expect to read all about those stories here.
But –back to the headline — the overall story is much bigger than Web pirates vs. network entertainment. There are entire video worlds that may include corporate business uses, local information, product training, travel — that are only starting to be explored.
Right now it’s kind of clunky as everyone uses old rules (the sit-down interview) to take the first steps. But as more distribution channels emerge (mobile, handhelds) whole new video forms may emerge that neither NBC nor Webheads will find compelling to produce — but may have big businesses attached to them. What are some of those ideas? That’s what we’re here to find out, and to tell you about — or listen, as you tell us.