Thursday, October 06, 2005

Smaller Video Producers Seek Audiences on Net - New York Times

"In 1999, 'The Blair Witch Project' became one of the most profitable low-budget movies of all time through word-of-mouth promotion helped along by a mysterious little Web site that the film's creators put up.

Now Dan Myrick, the movie's co-director, is turning to the Internet, not just for marketing, but to deliver a whole series called "The Strand of Venice," a moody drama set in Venice, Calif.

Instead of watching the show on TV, viewers will have to go to Mr. Myrick's Web site,, where a 50-minute pilot episode is available free. Future episodes will cost 99 cents, for a 30-minute film.

Video delivered over the Internet, which has been embraced by media and Internet giants like Viacom and Yahoo, is quickly shaping up as a way for smaller producers to reach an audience without having to cut deals with movie studios and the big networks that are the traditional gatekeepers of television.

Not every independent producer believes it needs to have an elaborate distribution scheme to reach viewers. Start-ups like the youth-oriented ManiaTV and ChannelBlast, which just introduced its first program, "NewzViewz" (, a live public affairs discussion program, are trying to become Internet TV networks simply by putting video on their sites.

"Our distribution is the Internet," said Mark Lipsky, the executive producer of ChannelBlast, who said he had no need for supporting technology from companies like Brightcove. "Two to three years from now, we will be able to compete with any television network, but we will be global and they won't be." (more)



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