Monday, January 23, 2006

Business Week: Is the Web the New Hollywood?

The Internet is becoming a breeding ground for filmmakers and TV producers in both the indie-video and mainstream worlds

When Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs flashed a clip of the video blog Tiki Bar TV during the October launch of Apple's new video iPod, he turned the rollickingly sophomoric show into an instant online hit. Filmed in a 1950s-style bachelor pad, the bimonthly program is a farcical series of ad-libbed skits built around cocktails with names like the Volcano and the Red Oktober. Tiki Bar TV was launched on a lark about 10 months ago, and it attracts about 200,000 viewers, an audience the size of some established cable shows.

After years of hype, the Internet as TV is finally coming into its own. Never before has the opportunity been so great to take programming straight to the audience, circumventing the traditional film-industry production and distribution system. Until now, clever animated shorts or video clips that made a splash online have trod a well-worn path straight to TV, showing up on MTV, the Tonight Show, or even commercials. But not everyone considers online TV a stepping stone to Hollywood's bright lights. (more)


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