Thursday, May 11, 2006

Brilliant ideas, not yet cancelled

Things will probably be quiet here for a few days at least. I'm taking tomorrow off to make another long weekend, since my deranged friend Britomart is visiting. She's never been to Vancouver, so of course one of the main things I'll do is drag her to Abbotsford (slogan: "City in the Country") about an hour away, to the wedding shower of a couple she's never met. Either way I'm a bad friend. I'm helping organize the shower (more a sign of my affection for the friend than any shower-organizing zeal), so it would be bad form of me not to show.

But for your reading pleasure, here's a few items about a pet subject of mine: better use of the Internet by TV networks for fan engagement and content delivery - and, from their perspective, more opportunities for ad delivery.
  • From The Futon Critic: Just a week after CBS launched its broadband channel Innertube, Bravo announces the May 23 launch of a broadband channel, taking over the webspace of the Trio channel, which formerly played brilliant but cancelled shows. Shows will include EZ Streets from creator Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby), and many other shows I've never heard of but were, apparently, brilliant. And cancelled. The website will be supported with iTunes and DVD releases, as well as episode airings on Bravo - yes, they're calling the broadcasts support for the website, not the other way around. I really hope these new broadband channels affiliated to TV networks pay off, literally. Because it's all very cool, but I'm sure the networks aren't in it for cool.
  • From USA Today: TV ad sales find plenty of new outlets: Cellphones, computers, iPods complicate deals. "For the upcoming fall season, NBC Universal TV head Jeff Zucker has mandated that all new programs have an element to involve fans — through cellphones, computers or iPods." This article gets into those economic motivations behind networks' interest in Internet tie-ins.
  • From Forbes: WB Sails with Tech Pirate. "Warners has signed a deal to sell and rent its movies and TV shows through a content store that BitTorrent will launch this summer. It likely won't be the only major player on board, as BitTorrent has already approached or is in discussions with nearly every major studio and network." Bittorrent may no longer be a dirty word in the industry.
  • Here's one that doesn't involve a network, brought to my attention by Bill Cunningham at DISContent: Iron Sink Media Launches Interactive-Webisodic Romantic Comedy Series: "Soup of the Day". "The interactive-webisodic romantic comedy 'Soup of The Day' will launch in May. The show empowers viewers to become involved with the fictional characters, played by actors from improv troupes such as The Groundlings, in three weekly 5-minute episodes over eight weeks. Through the blogs of each of the characters at, viewers will track the round-the-clock comments on their romantic relationships, as well as the on-air stylings of the sexy host of a new Internet video news program now being broadcast at At the end of its run, 'Soup of The Day' will be re-edited with alternate, unrated scenes into a feature length movie to be released on DVD, with hours of additional bonus features."
I think this last one is the kind of thing that makes networks shiver a little. They were pretty slow to catch on to this whole Internet fad, but they have to be catching on to the fact that the traditional network model is going to feel irrelevant to consumers who not only are getting used to the idea of seeing what they want when they want, they're beginning to find alternate programming like this to take their attention further away from the TV.

OK, that was way more than I intended to write. Gotta go clean the apartment before Brit gets here ...