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Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday links: MeTooTube to Launch Soon...Sony Tries Again with PSP... Collaborative Filmmaking ...And More

- The NY Times says that the networks are close to announcing a joint venture video site that would compete with YouTube, using their content. (I've been calling it "MeTooTube.") Close to announcing, I would point out, is not the same thing as close to launching -- and time is of the essence here. If they don't launch a site by January/February, I think there is no way they can succeed. From the Times piece, by Richard Siklos and Bill Carter:

    Executives from the companies have been in intense negotiations over the ownership and management structure of the new entity — which is as yet unnamed — and the talks could continue until the end of the year or fall apart entirely.


    “They really want to do it,” one executive briefed on the talks said of the partners involved. However, this executive predicted, doubting the ability of the competitors to play well together: “Ten minutes after they do it they’ll want to kill themselves.”


    None of the companies involved would comment for the record, and several executives familiar with the discussions, citing their sensitivity, spoke on condition of anonymity. The site would be supported by advertising and feature shows and clips from each of the participating companies, and encourage viewers to contribute their own videos and other material.


Once this site launches, the networks will sic the lawyers on YouTube, I predict, demanding that significantly long clips of their content (say, more than a minute or two) be removed. That will make MeTooTube the definitive site for viewing network content. (Of course, the networks would be smart to let people embed their content in other sites, especially if it included advertising or promotional material.)


- Sony's PlayStation Portable has always been a great little device for viewing video... but Sony muffed its first shot on goal, by introducing movies on the UMD disc format (shiny proprietary discs about the size of a silver dollar), and making it difficult to move content from a PC to the PSP. According to the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal, there's a new initiative to bring video to the PSP. From the Journal:


    The new service has been in the works for about a year and will likely be introduced in the first part of 2007, according to one person. Movies from Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Japanese electronics company's Hollywood studio, will be available, and executives expect to widen the selection to offerings from other studios as well. News of the service was reported last night on the Web site of the Financial Times.


    Also in the works, according to one person with knowledge of the matter: a video-downloading service that would allow consumers to bypass their personal computers and send new video content directly to their hand-held devices. The time frame on that offering isn't yet clear.


The new Sony services may provide access to movies from Amazon, CinemaNow, and Movielink, but not (no big surprise) Apple.


Interestingly, the Financial Times refers to Apple's iTunes Store as "the dominant film download platform." Does the data back that up, I wonder?


- Three interesting collaborative filmmaking projects that have come to my attention recently:


I'll be eager to see the results.


- Comcast is experimenting with making VOD movies available the same day a DVD is release, according to the NY Times. Ordinarily, there's a 30 to 45 day delay. “I don’t expect it to cannibalize sales on DVD," Andrew Mellett, vice president for the video-on-demand division of Warner Digital Distribution, tells the Times. "What we are really interested in seeing is whether this increases the buy rates [of DVDs].” Mellet trerms VOD a "sampling mechanism" for would-be DVD purchasers.


- I hadn't been aware previously of TestTube, YouTube's lab for new features. (via ReelPop.)


- iFilm has compiled a few "ten best" lists for 2006: movie trailers, viral videos, and ads.


- David Lynch talks a bit about digital cinematography in this NPR piece, which aired on Sunday.


- Cool idea for a web-based film festival where Internet users do the picking. We'll see the results in February 2007.


- `Four Eyed Monsters' earns more kudos, winning $100,000 from the Sundance Channel's Audience Award. That should show other filmmakers the power of building an online fan base.

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