In Part 1 of our interview with Amit Shafrir, CEO of Internet2.tv, we discussed the idea behind the web video aggregation site. In this portion of our conversation, Amit talks about the creative side – what is happening with web video, and what makes it different and new.
TV Mama: Is this field growing? Are more artists, filmmaker types going into it rather than film school?
Amit Shafrir: Yes!
Participate – yes. Take over, I don’t think so.
Will this video “graduate” to the networks/studios?
Some of it will. There has already been some talent that has migrated over and some content that has also done so. I do not think that “graduate” is the right term. In the past show-business had the hierarchy of “stage” > “TV” > “Movies.” I believe that has changed and you see major stars now migrating from one platform to another. I believe web video will be yet another platform.
Are these “test reels” for unschooled (hopeful) video artists?
Yes, and no. The cream will rise to the top as with everything else. That is why you need someone (like network2.tv) to help you find the “good” stuff.
Will this content migrate to “real” TV’s through AppleTV and other devices?
Absolutely. AppleTV, XBOX360, Tivo, Sling, MCEs, DVRs are various means by which Web video is already making its way to living room TV’s today. However the technical quality of what is good for a small browser screen does not always translate well to a large 60” TV screen. There are a slew of proprietary solutions in the works to address that, too.
Is it better online or on the big (plasma/LCD) box?
Is vanilla better than chocolate ? It is a matter of personal choice, timing , position, disposition, location, whim, etc. The point is that the way a person chooses to consumer video content should no longer be dictated. In the past, if you wanted to watch a certain TV show, you had to open a TV set on a certain date and time, point to a certain channel, and see it. You had no CHOICE. In today’s world you should be able to see what you want, wherever you want (place-shifting), whenever you want (time-shifting) on whatever medium you like (PC, TV, PDA, iPod, phone, etc.)
Is there anything artistically defining about this content – short form, humor/sarcasm/edginess – that distinguishes it as designed for the medium (Internet, mobile, etc…)?
This is evolving. Currently short form is more prevalent as it is cheaper to produce and simpler to consumer (less bandwidth requirements and also less attention required….). Humor is more prevalent, because it appeals to a larger audience, and therefore more likely to be produced and more likely to surface to the top in terms of popularity, thus becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Also, not many people are interested/able to watch a 60-minute documentary on 16th century Italian art on a 2” mobile phone screen (I think). As things evolve, the long tail effect will take place, and there will be enough audiences for niches and more types of content.
Is this an emerging art form different in any significant way from plain-old TV?
Yes. It is much less costly to produce, and more tolerant to experimentation. It is a good breeding ground for innovation. This does not mean that in the future things do not become more streamlined. The TV industry is being disrupted from the bottom. I am sure it will adopt certain ways from the independent web TV producers and vice versa.