This morning Dan pointed me to an article in Today’s NY Times about Nobody’s Watching. Nobody’s Watching is a sitcom in the form of a reality show about creating a sitcom. (A bit convoluted, no doubt).
Nobody’s Watching is a pilot that hasn’t yet been picked up by any networks but has been posted on YouTube. This online posting and the subsequent audience response that it has garnered has the networks rethinking their decisions. Taking a look at the YouTube page, we find that the show has had more than 300,000 views and more than 600 comments. While not huge numbers compared with television audiences, these are big big numbers for any online video.
Based on this, I am betting that the networks are about to learn something about the possibilities of online video. I am also betting that they get it wrong…
Stephen Speicher in Engadget’s The Clicker: The Clicker: People are watching “Nobody’s Watching” writes:
“Now, make no mistake, the likelihood of this show rising from the heaps and living to the tender age of two (err… episodes) is about as likely as Stephen Colbert replacing Tony Snow as the current administration’s Press Secretary, but really that’s not the point. This experiment shows that people will watch, comment on, and enjoy pilots on the web in a way that today’s traditional broadcast systems won’t allow. What’s missing is the networks taking the next (obvious) step: instead of spending multiple years and countless dollars trying to determine what to show the viewing public, why not let the audience decide? Put the pilots on the internet before you make the decision. Not only does this give a more accurate assessment of what people might watch, it has the potential to dramatically speed up the decision process.
“Yet, despite their best efforts, the entrenched powers behind modern broadcasting just cannot get their heads around the potential of the internet. This is evident at every turn. Whether it be the pulling of the wildly-popular “Lazy Sunday” clip from YouTube (and then later re-releasing in a harder-to-find corner of the NBC site) or the treatment of the internet as a dumping ground for dead projects, the current regime views the internet as, at best, additional revenue. More often than not, the internet is considered a nuisance.
Exactly right, given the opportunity, people will tell you exactly what they like and what they don’t. There is incredible value in this, should the networks decided to start paying attention.
YouTube is an incredible phenomenon. If you haven’t yet explored it, I suggest you checkout my playlist: Interesting videos from YouTube. It shows a wide range of what YouTube has to offer (the good and the overwhelming bad), from Nobody’s Watching to home videos about cats and everything in between.
Speaking of online video, “research” has brought me to: Where the Hell is Matt and Rocketboom’s version. I personally respond to the freedom offered by “regular people” to just have fun with the medium. I also think there is power in how these folks are referencing each-other.
Last, I have to make plug for Ze Frank’s The Show. Ze gets it, he truly engages his audience! He shows that the possibilities for audience participation and feedback are endless. On his wiki member’s of his audience (now participants themselves) have taken it upon themselves to transcribe every single one of his daily shows. Ze even fits in time to play chess by vlog as well as inviting and showing audience member’s doing their “Power Moves”.
So.. Online video, starting to move forward? YouTube becoming more than just drivel?
Perhaps both. And that is how it should be.