Slate.com launched its own branded online video network today, Slate V, with all of the snarky media commentary and witty meta-textual analysis a growing media junkie needs. Slate V takes Slate.com’s distinctive “Slatey-ness” of the blogged word and applies it to the embedded video.
Back when Slate V announced itself in a Wall Street Journal article, it promised a clip a day. With already a decent amount of video content posted, Slate V’s importance as a voice of video topicality will be determined if it can continue to churn out quality video content regularly. But between Viacom-approved Daily Show/Colbert Report coverage, the Onion News Network, and viral hits from smaller companies like GOOD Magazine, the video site has some stiff competition.
Using Slate.com’s model of bite-size zeitgeist critiques, Brightcove-powered Slate V applies a great visual and aural treatment of irreverence and
slanty-ness slatey-ness to its videos. Just like its parent Slate.com, a subsidiary of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, the site is unabashed as it wades into the thick of the muckraking that it itself is commenting on. Sponsored by Infiniti, the site and videos sport ad for the automaker’s new SUV offering.
Of three launched channels — news & politics, arts & life, and business — the first has by far the most content, split up into several different shows. John Dickerson’s punditry in the Damned Spot series does an interesting and entertaining job of examining and contributing to the growing political discourse across the web 2.0 mediascape. However, the highlight of the network’s razor wit culminates in its NewsLit (embedded above). NewsLit rehashes old scandals in snappy three-minute videos, mixing some ole-timey narration, black and white footage, and Photoshopping. Think The Daily Show with Buster Keaton.
Attempting to position itself as more of a media hub than mere content network, Slate V also sports a “Did You See This?” video playlist (similar to NewTeeVee’s vod:pod bar running at the top of our page). The user interface is OK, but where the heck is my search bar?. Slate V also promises integration of user-generated content, with contests coming in July “which will reward those who can make us laugh the most about the sorry state of our world.”
It is interesting watching these media sites struggle to integrate the moving image into their existing blog-centric networks. Does SlateV.com really need a separate URL from Slate.com? Similarly, The Onion News Network feels tacked onto The Onion‘s main site. Merging the word, the photo, and the video in a genuinely synergistic and novel media consumption model seems to be a ways off. In the meantime my desk will continue to be cluttered with print versions of the NYTimes and Wired while I cruise the blogosphere for videos and daily commentaries.