Steven Bochco already has produced enough TV shows to populate his own TV channel; now he’ll get the chance to really program his own channel on a very different stage: Metacafe’s viral video platform. He told Variety the key to online success will be creating content that takes into account the unique nature of the medium. In the past, he said, “People were trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. They were trying to impose our old entertainment model on their new platform. You’re looking at a vastly different medium.”
Metacafe CEO Arik Czerniak is counting on this high-profile deal and other general content deals in the pipelint to help differentiate his site from YouTube. He told Variety: “We’re building a business around licensing content. … We want to inspire creators to come to us and start taking (online video) seriously. Five years from now, I can assure you Bochco is only going to be the first of many producers online.”
Bochco was close to Brandon Tartikoff, who saw the promise in online entertainment early, signing on with AOL in 1997 to create an entertainment section; Tartikoff died several months later. It turns out Bochco talked to Microsoft back in the boom although it didn’t get anywhere. Frankly, while it would have been intriguing to see what he could have come up with a decade ago, he’s much better off coming in now at the felicitous juncture of broadband access, PC processing power and advanced video technology. Bochco has long been known for experimentation — some that paid off handsomely and some that bombed — so what we’re going to see on Metacafe starting in early 2007 is anyone’s guess. The first project is unscripted with an interactive element.