Time was when everyone was starting their own online video studio, inspired from the early successes on YouTube. It wasn’t that long ago when Disney (NYSE: DIS), HBO, NBC and AOL (NYSE: TWX) started funding these projects, with flashy announcements and high-profile backers. Now, as the bubble on original online video has burst, most of these efforts have been stalled, and network-backed options such as Hulu have taken off, LAT surveys the scenario and trends going ahead:
— In Feb last year, Disney launched Stage 9 Digital with an initial roster of about 20 shows. With the exception of its first series, “Squeegees,” a comedy about window washers, none of the others saw the light of the day. Earlier this year, it laid off most of its staff, and in March Stage 9 was shut down.
— Turner’s online comedy venture SuperDeluxe, launched in 2007 as edgy, multiplatform brand aimed at men 18-24, folded last year into its much more recognizable AdultSwim brand.
— HBO and AOL’s comedy venture ThisJustIn folded due to, well, pure and simple mismanagement, besides the macro issues. Then we all know siste company Time Inc’s doomed venture with OfficePirates: that closed down two years ago.
— Besides big media, startups like 60Frames and ManiaTV have also closed down in the last year. Some of these moved away from creating original content but served as distributors, but even then, ad dollars didn’t grow fast enough to cover production costs, let alone overhead, as LAT story explains.
— Just yesterday, CBS-backed EQAL announced that it is moving away from development and funding of its own standalone series, in favor of running the online video properties for existing brands like CBS