R.I.P. Bud.tv

budtvThis keg is tapped. Bud.TV, the high-profile online video site from Anheuser-Busch, has served its last video, and now only has a message that reads: “Bud.tv is no longer available. We’d like to thank millions of viewers from over 200 countries for visiting us over the past couple of years.”

Bud.tv launched at the 2007 Super Bowl and quickly floundered due to a complex age verification system that hampered widespread adoption. Anheuser-Busch’s V-P of marketing, Keith Levy, told Ad Age that the cost and discipline to produce massive amounts of content was too much for the beer company, which spent $15 million on the site.

Bud.tv had hoped to pull in 2 million unique visitors a month, but shortly after launch it was clear that was a pipe dream. It lasted longer than many predicted, however, including receiving a stay of execution in September of 2007, when the company said it would keep the site alive through at least 2008.

So what can Adidas.tv, a soon-to-be-launched branded video site from the shoe company learn from Bud.tv’s demise?

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Bud.tv’s registration process was a nightmare that turned people off the site almost immediately.

Have content that fits your brand. One of the better-known web series on Bud.tv was the animated apocalyptic tale Afterworld. How this fit alongside beer commercials, we’re not sure.

It’s OK to try new things. Bud.tv was a bit of a running joke at NTV HQ as almost every writer posted a story on it, but despite the failure, at least the company adopted a relatively new technology early on and didn’t give up on it after it went south. I’ll raise a glass to that.

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