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Gotuit and Web video 2.0

Gotuit_logo When commercial television made its U.S. debut in 1941, programs were little more than radio with pictures. It took a while for stations to grow into the new medium and take full advantage of the technology. The same could be said today of online video, which so far has been little more than TV with a progress bar. There have been plenty of experiments with interactivity, but for the most part, videos made for the Web have essentially been the same as those on TV, only less expensive. In other words, the production process hasn't really adapted yet to the fact that computers and the Internet are way smarter than TVs and broadcast pipes.

For a hint of how things might change, check out the announcement this morning from
Gotuit Media Corp. and Sports Illustrated. Gotuit's technology makes it easier for content owners and viewers to break a video into scenes and add metadata tags that describe the contents of each segment. These tags can then be used to search for and retrieve scenes from a library, and to create playlists of thematically related segments from disparate productions. Sports Illustrated's implementation is a straightforward collection of college football highlights, assembled into a video-laden website for the coming NFL draft. But the technology can also be used to power user-driven video remixing, as Gotuit demonstrates on its Scenemaker site. In addition, it can enable sites to sell and insert advertising timed to capitalize on what's happening within a video. For example, Nike might be willing to pay more to insert its ads into NBA highlight reels if they're guaranteed to run right after clips featuring Kobe Bryant (one of its clients), not those with Allen Iverson (a Reebok client).

The point here is that the beauty of the Web isn't in its ability to delivery video. Broadcasters have been able to do that since 1941. It's in the power to manipulate and customize what's delivered and viewed. That power needs to be unlocked by changes in the production process, and that's what is exemplified by companies such as Gotuit.

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Times editorial writer Jon Healey pens opinion pieces about a variety of business issues, and blogs about technologies that are changing the entertainment industry's business model.

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