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TVLand's trailers: a half-full cup

April 23, 2008 |  2:42 pm

Tvland_logo Movie critic and blogger Bill Goodykoontz drew my attention today to a new feature on the TVLand website: an impressive collection of movie trailers, sorted by genre and (more interestingly, IMHO) year of release. The site is embellished a bit with a couple of extras, but the main draws are the trailers and the accompanying descriptions from All Movie Guide. The site is built for idle browsing only -- there's no way to search for a specific trailer. (UPDATE -- Oops, you can rummage through the catalog of trailers alphabetically. You just can't find them through the site's search box.) Still, after spending a few minutes flipping through trailers (Note to editors -- just a few, honest!), I had to wonder -- why not provide the movies, too?

OK, OK, online movie services aren't exactly printing money. And admittedly, studios are still trying to figure out the business models they like online. A would-be Internet retailer can't ring up Disney and get a price quote for the IP version of the studio's home video catalog. Still, the TVLand preview collection seems like the perfect entry point for a streaming video service. And unlike Apple, Blockbuster, Netflix, Amazon and CinemaNow, TVLand doesn't have to wrangle with the intricacies of the studios' release windows. It's a nostalgia site, after all, so it can stick to films that have already passed through the final studio checkpoint (broadcast TV) on their way to gathering dust in the vaults. It seems like a win-win to me. The only question is whether TVLand can sell enough ads online to cover the bandwidth costs and meet the studios' demands for compensation. The site is taking a pretty laid-back approach to monetizing the trailers, putting a single display ad on each trailer's page. It's not even providing a "click to buy" link....

Having whetted your appetite for long-forgotten movies, I bring you this from Hulu: a youthful Burt Reynolds, in his "Gator" prime.

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