Making Money on the Internet… Or Not

// April 3rd, 2008

The South Park guys struck again with yet another brilliant episode last night called Canada On Strike. Drawing hilarious parallels to the recent WGA strike, the head of the World Canadian Bureau, Steven Abootman, leads the country into a long and painful strike over earning more theoretical money from the internet and the boys come through to broker a settlement so they don’t have to watch repeat episodes of Terrance & Phillip (they’re Canadian you know!). Here’s are some of my favorite scenes:

Meet The Internet Stars:

Shut Your F*%^’ing Mouth, Laughing Baby:

The Promise of Future Revenue:

BTW, major props to South Park & Comedy Central on South Park Studios (and on The Daily Show site as well). They’re damn good sites with great quality videos that meet the strong demand for their shows, which is why so many clips ended up on YouTube in the first place.

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Don’t Fuck With Jesus

// March 12th, 2008

Hulu went live today with a whole smorgasbord of content from TV shows, films, and digital content.

Here’s a taste with one of my favorite clips from the classic Coen Bros. film The Big Lebowski:

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I Got My Hulu Invite

// November 14th, 2007

I finally got my Hulu invite last night - not through work mind you - and have been messing around on the site since then.

As many bloggers & reviewers have already said, the site is actually quite impressive. The interface is clean & neat, the videos are in great quality & play quite seamlessly, and the experience is quite enjoyable overall. Contrary to what many people expected, this joint venture between NBC Universal & Fox might actually have delivered on its promise.

I’m going to catch up on some of the shows I’ve missed since moving out here to LA like Heroes and K-Ville (although there is currently only 1 episode available). I guess the only downside so far with Hulu is that entire archives of shows are not available as of yet. On the other hand, Hulu is an impressive advancement in the IPTV space

Here’s the first episode ever of Alfred Hitchcock Presents embedded below:

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TV Links

// August 24th, 2007

 

Wanna watch any TV show ever?

Check out TV Links.

This UK-based site has:

compiled various links from the latest to some long forgotten TV shows, classics, films, documentaries and much more. How much does this cost you? Nothing, its all Free of charge!

It’s something the companies behind these classic TV shows should be doing, but still aren’t. You can stream & watch old episodes of The A-Team or 21 Jump Street through your web browser with a DivX video player plug-in. It’s pretty sweet.

You know what else is pretty sweet? This site called The A-Team Shrine that I just stumbled upon.

On another note, another new site I just learned about from my man Hitesh is VideoSift, which is basically a Digg for videos. Users vote on videos from video sites like YouTube, MySpace, Daily Motion, and the rest of the gang. Just like Digg, the videos that are “most sifted” rise to the top.

We’re gonna be working on something like this soon, so keep a look out!

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The Masterpiece That Is Trapped in the Closet

// August 22nd, 2007

R Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet came to a triumphant conclusion this week, capping the 2nd set of chapters of this masterpiece hip-hopera with chapters 13-22.

Like most artistic geniuses, R Kelly is truly aware of his greatness.
Kells, accompanied by some nerd host named Matt Singer, presented one chapter each night for the past 10 nights, chuckling & feelin’ himself on every episode & its intricacies while Matt just nods somewhat befuddled or condescendingly.

What many people wonder, though, is if he is in on the joke or not. Maybe that’s what makes R Kelly some sort of genius. We just can’t tell, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still absolutely hilarious TV, viral, and it’s the one amp; only hip-hopera from the Pied Piper of R&B, who’s now calling himself Mr. Showbiz. In short, Trapped in the Closet is a masterpiece amp; you should see it over amp; over again.

To get the run down on all the chapters and the web of sex, lies, deception, and the package that envelops Sylvester, Gwendolyn, Twan, Rufus, Cathy, Chuck, James, Bridget, Big Man, Tina, and Roxanne, check out the Trapped in the Closet Wiki and YouTube.

Here are some poignant reviews of Kells’ epic:

Village Voice:

Many of its biggest fans seem to think they’re laughing at Mr. Kelly, not with him, as if the whole thing were some sort of glorious, terrible mistake. People like Weird Al and Jimmy Kimmel have done “Trapped” parodies, which is pretty ridiculous when you consider that “Trapped” itself is already total self-parody of a particularly broad sort. Anyone who doubts that Kelly possesses the ability to laugh at his own sexed-up persona should really see the Live! The Light It Up Tour DVD; the opera version of “Feelin On Yo Booty” should dispel any lingering doubts. Kelly knows that he’s being funny with “Trapped in the Closet”; any storyline that includes a midget shitting himself at a pivotal moment can’t be taking itself all that seriously.

New York Times:

Mr. Kelly’s outlandish achievement seems to inspire overstatement, especially online. The Web site for New York magazine (nymag.com) proclaimed this “the cultural event of the year,” while one fairly typical commenter at ifc.com called it “a perfect storm of the worst artistry ever.”

No doubt Mr. Kelly is enjoying all the attention. He seems drawn to the idea of being an old-fashioned all-around entertainer, and he has recently taken to performing beneath a lit-up sign that reads, “R. Kelly as Mr. Show Biz.” He already stands as one of the last true giants in the twinned worlds of R&B and hip-hop, and now he’s relishing the idea of branching out into IFC territory. (He told Variety he “thought of ‘Trapped’ as an independent film.”) Mr. Kelly seems giddier than ever.

And yet there is something slightly unnerving about the kind of attention “Trapped in the Closet” has received. Many of its biggest fans seem to think they’re laughing at Mr. Kelly, not with him, as if the whole thing were some sort of glorious, terrible mistake; as if the far-fetched plot turns (most infamously, the policeman cuckolded by the “midget” hiding beneath the sink) and cliffhanger endings (“Oh my God, a rubber!”) were the work of someone who set out to make a traditional musical and failed. It’s hard to think of a work that has inspired more parodies, from Weird Al to Jimmy Kimmel, from sketch comedy to cabaret. Why do so many people think the funniest pop star on the planet is the butt of the joke when he is so obviously in on it?

Trapped in the Closet may be an anomaly, but it’s no fluke.

Slate:

Surely this is the most widely viewed psychedelic chitlin-circuit soap opera in history.

Instead of singing about sex, Kelly is singing about singing about sex. He’s gone meta-love man.

Trapped in the Closet is a riot, but it is also, in its way, profound. The real triumph of Kelly’s meta-love-man routine is how it underscores something essential about sex and desire: the comedy and absurdity that so often accompany the desperate lurchings of our loins.

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RIP John From Cincinnati

// August 14th, 2007

HBO’s John From Cincinnati had its season finale on Sunday night & forever, as it was just announced that the show won’t be returning for another season.

I watched every episode of the show, which was created, written, and produced by David Milch. Since Milch created & wrote the great Deadwood, which featured one of my all-time favorite characters, Al Swearengen, played masterfully by that motherfucking cocksucker Ian McShane, I figured I’d add his new show to my must-see DVR list.

It’s shame it didn’t last beyond 10 episodes. I liked this show. I wanted to like this show even more b/c of its quirky characters & surfing sub-theme. It was just too weird I guess & too difficult to follow. The season finale didn’t help any, making things a bit confusing, but at least resolving the family crisis that has been affecting the surfing Yost clan. All thanks to John from “Cincinnati.” John seems to be some sort of angel, helping these residents of IB aka Imperial Beach, a small surf-town south of San Diego by the Mexico border, find some sort of spiritual redemption. They might have gotten closer, but we the audience just couldn’t get close enough to the characters to see it through…

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Take My Show, Please!

// August 6th, 2007

 

AdAge had a nice article today about the leaking of a variety of fall TV show pilots online last week & how while the broadcast networks are sort of freaking on it, some are actually welcoming it.

In Go Ahead and Watch This Show Illegally, Jenji Kohan (cool ass name girl!), the creator & exec producer of Weeds, is totally cool with the fact that the 1st 4 episodes of the upcoming season of her Showtime show are available through torrent sites:

“Revenue aside, I don’t expect to get rich on Weeds. I’m excited it’s out there. Showtime is great, but it does have a limited audience.”

14.5 million subscribers to be exact. For Showtime, this is actually a plus in bringing wider exposure to the show. The paid cable networks don’t rely on advertising, so getting clips or episodes of their shows out there is essentially free marketing & promotion, which could spur subscriber growth or stronger DVD sales, which are a very lucrative business for them.

Showtime has also inked an exclusive deal with my great friend Netflix to provide the pilot of its new show Californication to subscribers 3 weeks before it premieres on Showtime. Showtime pursued a similar strategy in making episodes of shows like Dexter available on MSN, Yahoo!, etc…

HBO featured the first episode of Flight of the Conchords online before it aired on the cable network or on demand. There are also a whole bunch of Conchords clips on YouTube, which so far, HBO has done nothing about. The show lends itself to online video clips since it features short, hilarious songs from the duo. It’s all about building the buzz & getting it out there for people to see.

Last season, HBO premiered episodes of The Wire (one of my favorite shows ever) on HBO On Demand on Mondays only to show them on the air for the first time the following Sunday. Since The Wire is one of those strong word-of-mouth shows (everyone’s probably had someone like me tell them how great it is), this works to keep the fans pleased & build a stronger audience. The Sopranos doesn’t need this type of exposure b/c everyone already knows that it rules. Best. show. ever.

The article moves on to talk about my favorite company that won’t hire me, Joost, which is getting all sorts of buzz right now. Joost announced a few weeks back that it would feature the entire series of VH1’s I Hate My 30s 2 weeks before it would premiere on the TV network itself.

The rest of the article is very repetitive w/ the same old talking points i.e. Joost wants to change the way people watch TV, how the founders started Kazaa & Skype, etc… A great point that is made however by EVP of Content Strategy & Acquisition Yvette Alberdingk Thijm is:

“All these audiences are going to look for content online. Networks might as well protect the content and also make a little money in the process. Plus, because it’s free, you persuade the consumer to watch on a legal platform.”

NB: A funny thing with piracy now that everything’s going digital is this notion that copyright holders have created that watching something or listening to something is illegal. Isn’t the act of leaking it, the act of posting it, but really the act of selling it at a profit, the illegal act? At least that’s what I thought…

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