FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

More Web Sites Embrace TV-Style Video

Video on the Web is nothing new... but now, some websites are launching TV-style programs that are available on demand, in a format familiar to TV viewers that goes far beyond the typical 30-second Quicktime clip.

An Atlanta-based company called Multicast is a pioneer in this field, making a name for itself by producing religious webcasts on its StreamingFaith.com site, which features sermons and inspirational programs lasting in length from 15 minutes to one hour. Recently it developed webcast programming for TheKnot.com, a website for engaged couples and newlyweds.

Mainstream networks aren't about to be left behind. To promote its new show Fat Actress, Showtime launched a simultaneous premiere of the show on Yahoo!

The on-demand feature alone will make webcasting attractive to many viewers. But for many would-be webcasters, the biggest variable is attracting advertising dollars. Product placements, as well as sidebar and banner advertisements have been considered for webcasts; the traditional 30- or 60-second commercial inserted within the webast itself has not. Though not all webcasters are concerned with advertising, a solid advertising model that would be effective for sponsors and accepted by viewers (those with broadband Internet represent an especially attractive demographic) would propel webcasting forward dramatically. Otherwise, webcasts would have to settle for being either loss leaders or pay-per-view events.

Sources: The New York Times, unmediated