Blog Post

Di Bona Returns to Well with Reality.tv

The man behind broadcast staple America’s Funniest Videos (AFV), Vind Di Bona, is partnering with DAVE Networks to bring your hilarious home movies to the public with Reality.tv, which debuted yesterday at the National Association of Television Program Executives. Built around a web-to-TV model, prospective reality show producers or stars are promised a shot at a distribution deal if the public votes up their clips.

I’m no economist, but I have to wonder if there’s really more public demand for reality programming than supply on the market.

Of course, for clips of boating accidents, pet tricks and comically curious toddlers, Americans already have a fairly popular source — it’s called YouTube. What Di Bona has that YouTube doesn’t is a backlog of videos, already edited and classified, along with full licensing rights. The terms of use make it pretty clear who owns the content once you’ve uploaded your video: “All Submissions submitted to the Company become the property of the Company.”

Variety reports that the site will be operated through the Hollywood licensing arm of Vin Di Bona Prods., which already has the ear of networks looking to syndicate dirt-cheap programming packaged with a minimum of Hollywood flair (and no writers clamoring for residuals).

Say what you will about AFV, but at a crab feed on Sunday it popped up on television and my friends and I watched. The show’s format, borrowed from Japan’s Fun TV, hasn’t changed much. Reality.tv, in borrowing social networks, democratic discovery tools and online distribution, similarly appropriates from models online — though, personally, familiarity is already breeding contempt.

2 Responses to “Di Bona Returns to Well with Reality.tv”

  1. I don’t know if this will work – part of the appeal of reality shows is social; they are frequently dissected around the office watercooler… With few exceptions, online video viewing is far too fragmented to cross over to the extent that it could encourage (and benefit from) this activity.

    Moreover, you could argue that an accompanying part of their appeal is some strange combination of personal and communal support, schadenfreude and/or envy, an effect that probably increases as more people tune in and participate. To see someone embarrass himself or succeed against all odds in front of 50,000 YouTube viewers might not be comparable to seeing the same thing take place in front of 10 million viewers.