Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Wired News: ManiaTV: MTV for the Web?

Wired News: ManiaTV: MTV for the Web?: "DENVER -- Venture capitalists told Drew Massey, founder of the 1990s young men's magazine P.O.V., that old media was dead and he believed them.
Five years after he sold P.O.V., Massey jumped into the battle for the entertainment dollar with an internet company aimed at college students and twenty-somethings that serves up film clips, music videos and chatter 24 hours a day.

Think early MTV, only this time it's "broadcast" live online for worldwide audiences. "The whole mission is to do with internet TV what Ted Turner did with cable," said Massey, 35.

In August, ManiaTV went live from a 15,000-square-foot warehouse in Denver with a roster of green "cyberjockeys" or CJs, recruited mostly through craigslist and hired more on personality and looks than experience. The production booth was put in an old school bus.

"It's like any new technology -- you don't know what's going to work until you flip the switch," said Gregg Champion, vice president of programming. "We flipped the switch and the damn thing worked. That was scary.

Viewers can watch a somewhat grainy, halting feed from ManiaTV's website, or pull up a smaller pop-up window to keep on their screens as they surf the web, chat live with CJs, who will rearrange their playlists to fit in instant requests, and ask for videos from a vault.

Massey envisions office workers and students watching, looking like they're working on their computers. An on-demand channel launches in May."

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