I’m at OnHollywood, the second annual Silicon Valley-meets-the-entertainment-industry conference held at the Hotel Roosevelt in L.A. I was a moderator and “industry expert slash judge” last year. (Disclosure: My registration was comped as a blogger and citizen journalist.) I posted some initial photos on Flickr, though the dark room makes shooting very difficult. That’s Arianna Huffington, above.
The conference is still far too one-way and non-interactive for my tastes (putting up an IRC chat on the big screen is far from enough). No questions or comments from the audience at all in the first two days. I’m running around meeting people so can’t do live blogging this week. Still, my notes show a few nuggets from last night and today:
• Late night talk show host Carson Daly and Richard Rosenblatt, CEO of Demand Media, unveiled dot.tv, which looks pretty cool. A few thousand people have already joined this new site, which lets users aggregate videos from around the Net. Host Tony Perkins joked that it’s “a MySpace killer.” It was said a bit flippantly, but I think in two to three years more and more of us will want to create our own multimedia homesteads and the big social networking sites like MySpace will suffer if they try to keep their members locked in a virtual cage.
• Celebrity sighting: I was having dinner with the gang from BlogTalkRadio last night and who passed by our table but Sarah Silverman, whose off-color comedy show was recently picked up for a second season by Comedy Central. Sarah stepped out of the hotel and gabbed on her cell phone before crossing the street solo.
• Chad Hurley, co-founder of YouTube, was available for interviews last summer after his talk at AlwaysOn. But not now, after Google bought the company. A two-person PR entourage followed him and he left town before giving any interviews (though his PR team promised they’d try to set up something at a later date). Hurley from the stage: “Just as bloggers are beginning to make money, hobbyists who make videos will start to, too.”
• In response to a question, Hurley said, “We’re seeing the optimum length of a video is 2 minutes.” YouTube didn’t create that phenomenon. “It’s the environment of the Internet. I’s not a sit-down and watch TV experience.” More Chad: “We’re concentrating on the mobile market rather than TV right now.”
• Blake Krikorian, founder-CEO of Sling Media (and a great guy), suggested that in the coming years, if a producer can aggregate 2 million viewers around the world — say, shows that might generate a cable network audience — that’s a number too small for network TV’s current mass media distribution system but it’s big enough to create a whole new economy around these mid-level content creators.
• Michael Robertson, founder of mp3tunes.com, doesn’t see it. He recalled his prediction a decade ago about the coming rise of the “middle-class musician” whose income would be enabled by the Internet. But now, he says, “I don’t see it.” There are label-signed artists and everyone else. “You don’t want to resign yourself to that middle tier, you want to reach for the top. I don’t see why it’s going to be any different with video. … If you want to
make money, you’re going to have to graduate up the video food chain.”
• More Robertson, on the transfer of ad dollars away from traditional media channels and toward the Internet: “Yes, it’s happening, but God damn, that iceberg is melting slowly!” There’s no reason a major corporation shouldn’t be spending ad dollars for targeted advertising, but “there’s no network out there yet” to facilitate that.
• Richard Rosenblatt, co-Founder and CEO of Demand Media, said don’t write off the idea of an emerging “middle musician or filmmaker” just yet. They’re seeing quite a few people creating home-brew instructional videos. A lot of these people are spending 10 hours in their basements making an instructional video for, say, $500. Once that can be monetized for, say, $700, you’ll see an explosion of these.
• More Rosenblatt: “The more you empower a niche community and help them monetize that small vertical, the more you’ll succeed. I think the very targeted micro-niche is very valuable.” His dot.tv harks back to 1996 and Geocities by giving people the ability to build their own profiles (and communities).
• More Krikorian on brain-dead digital rights management and content
protection: “Steve Jobs saw it coming. It’s just infuriating that you
can’t play iTunes songs you bought on the Sonos player you bought.
That’s a problem.” Yes!!!
• Arianna Huffington says the New York Times, with its Times Select, and other newspaper companies are making a mistake by taking themselves out of the online conversation and putting major chunks of their material behind a pay firewall. Doc Searls and I have been sounding that alarm bell for years.
• Padmasree Warrior, chief technology officer of Motorola — whom I had the pleasure of spending some time with last August at the Aspen Institute mdash; on the coming phenomenon of the “personalcast”:
the mobile device should know my location and let me access my content in the format and context I want. How fast is mobile exploding? There are now 2.7 billion cell phones on the planet mdash; three times the number of PCs or cars in the world.
You can join a live chat during the daylong session Thursday.