Yesterday we mentioned Dotsub for the first time on Rocketboom and the audience took it upon themselves (like they do with wikis) to translate Rocketboom into 7 languages. A closed caption version for the hearing impaired, French, German, Slovak, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Croatian. I’m in heaven, this is one of the most exciting features I have ever implemented on Rocketboom.
Consider this post fueled by whatever you will – I find it very important and worthwhile. I’m going to set aside all of the technical problems everyone has already mentioned with the video distribution and the ABC platform – the fact that there are no RSS feeds, the video scrolls have been turned off, one is forced to view long, irrelevant pre-roll ads that outlast many people’s curiosity and especially the closed platform with no mobile or local potential.
In other-words, the only difference between this video platform and one from say, 1997, is that for this one, the video does play.
I’m going to suggest that the greatest problem with this project however has to do with the severely expensive resources that are being used for a product that can be much more valuable for a mere fraction of the effort and costs.
My question is, how much money did it take to do this?
Also, if all of the effort only goes into a once-a-week show, how effective and interested are the people behind the show to take so much time and money to do so little?
For instance, we know they are probably paying Amanda Congdon a professional salary. They are also paying two senior level producers for this. Then there is at least one editor, a camera person (unless one of the producers is a camera person), lighting tech, audio guy, all with premium ‘ABC’ salaries. I am just speculating, perhaps I have missed some.
In addition to that, the entity ABC needs to make revenue (beside the people), yet they also have at least one rep that works with Congdon besides the producers and other production staff. Surely they have someone who works on the website if not a section of a team. Amanda’s agent needs a professional share. Amanda’s manager needs some. They obviously have a very aggressive PR team too (which they will definitely need to drive people to the show). Lets not forget the advertisers! They are the ones supporting this and because so many people need to get paid such high salaries, the advertisers need to get paid most of the real-estate of the website. In turn, ABC must pay to advertise to drive people to these advertisements. In many ways, this scenario is typical of one where the advertisers are way more important than the show itself. The show is just a tool for ad sales, after all.
The point I want to make is this: There are probably WAY too many people needed to pull off this one 5 minute production exclusively for a small low-bitrate flash file on one website.
This kind of spending can have it’s place. A company like ABC could perhaps use their expensive resources to produce content that needs expensive resources. Was there special access gained? Was there need for expensive equipment? Travel expenses? 3 producers?
No, there was no sign of any need for any of the above that I could see.
While people often assume I am anti-established media, I have always believed and said the best way to get through these times is to work together closely and thats what I have always done.
Meeting Joanne and bringing her experienced talents and resources into Rocketboom has been the best thing that ever happened to Rocketboom since it began.
In ABC’s case though, they are not working with any new conventions or gaining any “new media property” or collaboration and simultaneously, they are putting themselves at odds with everyone participating (see first paragraph above) especially by spending even more money on leeching:
This could also warrant more spending via a legal buffer in the budget due to the false advertising claims about the show being “daily” <-I tease of course. . . but paying to intercept people searching for Rocketboom?. . . perhaps the greatest expense of all could be the loss of brand value and respect from playing the fake taxi driver who preys on visitors that don't speak the language.
I’m feeling a bit disillusioned.
Some of the legal documents between me and Amanda Congdon are circulating and I have received several calls from the press on the “Amanda story” or “Amanda Gate” as I have heard it said in one email.
A writer from the LA Times, Richard Rushfield, who was referred by Gina Piccalo, is currently investigating the information and mentioned I could say as much here so let’s just wait and see his take instead of hearing it from me.
I will say this: yes, it is in fact my position that the Amanda Across America, ABC News and HBO projects are all Rocketboom projects that were usurped out of Rocketboom by Amanda when she quit.
And when I say usurped, I don’t just mean a little bit. I spent months working on these projects and relationships. I spent a great deal of legal fees on contracts, etc. – we are talking deep, deep development.
Cory Bergman is asking people what they think of her new project and others will no doubt be pitching in with commentary. Well I have an opinion too and I am going to be candid. This is a subject that is important to me and my field.
After seeing what she has done with Amanda Across America (no spirit or production value) and now ABC News which is a carbon copy of what I hired her to do for Rocketboom, I give her an F for creativity and originality and a D- for effort. Seeing her take a “turn to camera 2”, just as we do in today’s episode of Rocketboom is just embarrassing.
So besides all this, which only just scratches the surface, there is a great deal of news that I will leave up to Richard to report on regarding the progress that Rocketboom has made, some pretty damn big news that no one yet knows!
Best wishes to the family of the brave and smart James Kim who passed away after setting out into the cold solo from their stranded vehicle.
Susan and Arin from Four Eyed Monsters are in NYC all week. It’s likely you have heard about them through their online film making activity.
They are very aggressive at self-promotion and I found it kina of annoying at first but in retrospect, I think they are forging a very promising path for future independent film makers. Their methods on promotion and distribution are definitely worth studying closely.
From the most recent press release:
Wednesday, December 6, 2006, following the 7:25pm screening.
Cinema Village, 22 East 12th Street, New York, NY
New tools are being used to make films. It started with cheap access to high-quality digital video, and now the Internet is getting into the mix, not just as a way to share video but as a way to create it. The ability to have someone “subscribe” to your videos gives filmmakers a new story telling tool. The fact that you don’t really need to shoot any footage at all and can just use the material that is online and that more and more every individual walking around has a portable camera that can be utilized as a filmmaking tool. See some examples of things we consider “filmmaking 2.0″ and contribute to the defining of what these new tools are and what the word ‘collaboration’ means in an interactive conversation about the current shift in filmmaking.
Video: Streaming Media West 2006: Keynote by Evan Young, Director of Broadband Services
Evan is the mastermind behind TiVo’s online integration. Not only am I indebted to him for having Rocketboom as the first content to hit the home via their online services, I think he is one of the nicest guys I have ever done business with. I am very optimistic for TiVo’s future as far as his vision for seamlessly merging i.p. and broadcast content.
2 million TiVo boxes out there are broadband enabled and over 500,000 of these boxes are now plugged in.
I wonder what the deal is with this. Diggnation, one of my favorites, has about 50 citings a day but about 48-50 of these citings each day appear to be spam blogs: