The Rise Of Geek-Focused Online Video Networks

from the and-the-geeks-shall-inherit-video? dept

There's been a really interesting trend going on recently. For all the talk about how the entertainment industry must be dying (it isn't), a whole bunch of internet-aware celebrities are wholeheartedly embracing the internet as a new video platform -- and this includes a bunch of folks we've written about before. The first to make a big splash was Felicia Day, who already has been hugely successful in building a massively popular online-only video program, while also being thoughtful about new business models. On April 2nd, she and some friends -- including folks like Wil Wheaton, Veronica Belmont and Paul & Storm, -- launched the awesomely named Geek & Sundry, which includes both her existing show, The Guild, and a variety of others (including Wheaton's Tabletop, which looks awesome).

That same day, Chris Hardwick, of the Nerdist (or, I guess we should now call it "Nerdist Industries") launched his special YouTube channel with a variety of shows of its own:
While some of the programming is based on already-existing Nerdist properties, most of it has been specifically conceived for the Nerdist YouTube channel. For instance, "Face to Face with 'Weird Al' Yankovic" brings in the beloved song parodist (and frequent Nerdist guest and contributor) to interview celebrities, and "Ain't it Cool News with Harry Knowles" will adapt the infamous film gossip site to a filmed talk show. Hardwick will also host "Chris Hardwick’s All Star Bowling," a bowling competition/comedy show with a nod to Hardwick's father, champion bowler Billy Hardwick. Nerdist will also stream episodes of the legendary sketch show "Kids in the Hall," with new interviews and segments hosted by Hardwick.

The Nerdist YouTube channel will also incorporate adaptations of Nerdist podcasts, and plenty of wild cards, most notably: "Neil Patrick Harris’ Puppetopia," "Gif Gif City," "Cute Things Exploding," "Weird Shit From Japan," "Untitled Rob Zombie Project" and "Star Talk with Neil deGrasse Tyson," a video version of the podcast hosted by the famed astrophysicist.
While I note that there's a lot of overlap between these two worlds (Wheaton and Hardwick are good friends and used to be roommates, and I'm pretty sure Hardwick is friends with Paul & Storm too), it seems pretty cool that they're both starting to flood YouTube with cool content.

Amusingly, when I first started writing up this post, I was going to mention all of the cool things that Kevin Smith has done with his Smodcast network, but I was realizing that was just audio. Well, no matter. Just as I was reading up on the details of the other two networks, I saw the news that Smith was launching Smodcast Internet TV -- his own online video network too! Perfect timing, Kev.

Like both of the other networks, the plan here is to take some existing shows (in this case, from the Smodcast network), and then add some new ones as well.

Who knows if all of these (or any of these) will survive, or even thrive. But, the awesome thing is that they can do these things and just see what happens. They don't need to go through gatekeepers. There are no gatekeepers anymore. They can blaze their own path and find out for themselves what works and what doesn't work -- and we're talking about a bunch of folks who all have pretty long histories of really embracing what the internet allows, so I'm excited to see where these experiments go, and I'd imagine we're going to see plenty more like this. Some will succeed, some will fail. But you have to be blind to think that creativity or the industry is struggling. People who can't help but create cool and amazing things suddenly have many more tools at their disposal for creating, distributing, promoting (and, yes, monetizing) content than ever before, and tons of new opportunities are opening up.

Anyone who thinks that the entertainment industry is in trouble isn't paying attention. The rest of us are over here checking out all sorts of cool new content, which didn't require a big studio exec deciding whether or not it deserved to be on TV.

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  1. icon
    gorehound (profile), 16 Apr 2012 @ 5:28am

    The more INDIE Type stuff I see Online the better for all of us.MAFIAA Must Die.
    INDIE TV, Films, Music, Books, Art will I hope slowly destroy the MAFIAA by Offering Non-Greedy Suit, No DRM, and No Lobbying of Governments to take away our Rights.
    Screw You Big Content !
    I have Censored you from my Wallet for life.
    Oh and to those who think I will cave in to buy that new Game of Thrones or Star Trek or Whatever.................well I am very Patient and can always buy stuff Used if I really wanted to actually watch Hollywood things.

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