This Just In Will Go Offline at HBO

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Sometimes even I get tired of repeating myself – but I have to. The big media, especially Time Warner (my former employer) is a tad clueless about this new video revolution. With a studio mentality, management by consensus and a bonus-driven culture, they are waddling in a world that moves at light speed. So what’s bringing on this latest rant?

HBO plans to shut down This Just In, an online comedy site it had established last year. It was seen as a source of development pipeline. The irony is that the destination site didn’t even get to celebrate its first anniversary, which kind of shows that HBO didn’t really have its heart in it.

The channel was a JV with AOL (a company that is owned by Time Warner.) It is hardly a surprise, This Just In failed to take off. I tried to find a link to the site on HBO.com, and wasn’t really surprised to not be able to find it. Of course, when you get there, the comic relief is hard to find.

From this report in Variety, the site seems to be a victim of classic Hollywood ego-death match. Some executives left early on, having realized that the site wasn’t going anywhere.

Former Icebox CEO Steve Sanford was brought in to run the site, which offered a mix of celebrity riffs and goofy videos from assorted standup comics. ….Sanford reportedly left the site several months ago.

HBO is said to be working on a broadband site focused on delivering on-demand programming in partnership with its cable partners. I fully expect HBO/TW to bumble their way through the online video world, as they did in the early days of the Internet.

10 Comments

ohigotchya

Alright, alright. thisjustin.com collapsed.

You’re right. There wasn’t much heart in it. The problem HBO has is that it is terrifically afraid of putting it’s artsy-billionaire brand on anything web-like (and especially grainy) in quality. Also, AOL, the sinking ship that it is, is chock full of 45 year old females who log in to read gossip and play Slingo until the broadband cows come home. So when AOL puts a thisjustin.com link on its main comedy page, it’s ushering tens of thousands of viewers…. who don’t exactly relate to the humor.

comedic math lesson:
comedy sites + the internet = a younger, male dominate demographic.

mathewingram.com says it should adopt NBC’s mantra “nobodycomeshere.com”, but it really should be “getting huge funneled audience traffic from the wrong highway.com” (i dont know if that domain will fit)

the site itself registers at around 45-50 thousand in an alexa ranking.. and thats been in the past 5 months since its birth. come on, guys, give a site like this some time! the beauty of start ups with no corporate overhead means going on for YEARS with a little funding and not bowing to any pressure peer networks or shareholders. If this had more time, I wouldn’t be surprised if this thing took off better.

granted the quality of humor was a bit off par, but TJI really had no idea what the mission was from the beginning. it’s leadership was backwards and was it going to be a replication of The Onion? Just what we need.

It’s better to experiment and fail than not experiment at all. Because the only fools bigger in this case are the networks that don’t try anything.

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