Anheuser-Busch (BUD) is standing behind its much-maligned online video network Bud.tv, keeping it alive at least through 2008. Tony Ponturo, the beer giant’s VP of global media and sports/entertainment marketing, said while at a conference that the company can still learn and gain assets from the service, but must do a better job creating content and expanding interaction with the users.
Writing about Bud.tv is almost a rite of passage at NewTeeVee. Jackson, Steve, Karina, Liz, and Craig have all written about the network. So am I flogging a dead Clydesdale? Nah. I don’t even like beer and I’m all for keeping the site up, and my reasons are as basic as Bud is.
Sure, a lot of mistakes were made by the King of Beers in Bud.tv’s initial launch: complex registration, player issues, bad content. But the company poured between $20 million and $30 million into creating the site — a huge amount of money for what was basically an experiment. So you can’t say it wasn’t committed to the idea, or that they treated it like an afterthought.
Media critics are always calling on companies to embrace online video, to try new things. Bud did, and it flopped. Since Bud.tv launched in February, it’s averaged between 50,000 and 100,000 monthly unique visitors, with just a little over a million videos watched in total.
But if anyone has the deep pockets to dust themselves off and try again, it’s Bud.
Ultimately that means more people will get paid to make more online content, new findings will be discovered about how people interact with online video, and hopefully more companies will be inspired to give it a go.
And that’s something we can all drink to.