It’s a lot easier to follow what’s been proven, what’s known, than to start from the ground up. This summer at the movies, as much as any summer, has been living proof. We’ve been given Die Hard (Part 4), Harry Potter (Part 5), Ocean’s 13, Spiderman 3, this week we’ll get Bourne Ultimatum (part 3) …and there’s a long list of others. Hollywood loves a good sequel.
That same tendency to follow what’s been proven is fueling Hollywood’s new love for Internet video. Audience’s appetites are growing larger and larger and like a well tested sequel ready to capitalize, professional entertainers are embracing Internet video now that the marketplace is burgeoning.
Today, a site called My Damn Channel will become the latest addition to the list of Hollywood backed video outlets online. Apparently, the bandwagon is moving and, as it passes Sunset Blvd, it’s time to jump on.
My Damn Channel was packaged by former MTV executive Rob Barnett, who believes, like others (myself included), that there is a market opportunity for better quality, better produced Internet video. Joining him in the endeavor are a handful of Hollywood talents.
One of his colleagues is comedian Harry Shearer who’s known for voicing several Simpson’s TV characters. Another is Don Was, a music industry veteran with production credits that include the Rolling Stones and Bonnie Raitt. A third is David Wain, a filmmaker, who’s the writer and director of Jessica Alba’s upcoming feature “The Ten.” (The movie also stars Adam Brody, Oliver Platt, Winona Ryder and Gretchen Mol in its ensemble cast)
Was, Shearer and Wain will all contribute content related to their various disciplines. Was, for example, will cohost a music focused show. David Wain will produce comedy shorts.
My Damn Channel will have plenty of neighbors in the marketplace. Their effort will put them next to comedian Will Ferrel’s Funnyordie.com, next to Jerry Zucker (of Airplane fame) at National Banana, and will make them competitors with the Coen Brothers who are working with recently launched 60 Frames Entertainment. They’ll also compete with specialized studios aimed at creating for the Internet like Michael Eisner’s Vuguru or even Sony’s recently rebranded Crackle.com.
Based on a first look, the site is very well designed. It has a clever interface that’s minimalist and easy to use. They provide embed codes for those who want to link or include the shorts on their MySpace pages or blogs. The tone of the site is irreverent and much of the limited original selection is well done and entertaining.
My Damn Channel will rely on advertising for revenue. To increase their audience reach they plan to syndicate videos on other Internet sites, sites like YouTube and Veoh. When the credits roll at the end of the features, Okapi Venture Capital should get a production credit for contributing the seed funding.
The consumer appetite for web video is unquestionable high and there is certainly room for professionally made content like what’s being offered How much room? And whether it’s financially worth well for those involved? Time will tell. (As HBO’s recently failed ThisJustIn.com channel shows, success is far from assured).
But if first impressions count? Based on a first look, My Damn Channel seems to be off to a good start.