Tuesday, April 04, 2006
You may have heard about YouTube and the viral video craze that’s become one of the hottest Internet trends since the birth of social networking sites. Two major viral video portals you may not know of yet are Channel 101 and Channel 102. Think of these sites as the localized, viral video equivalents to American Idol. Here’s how it works: anyone can submit a TV show pilot (up to five minutes long). Every month the shows are screened for live audiences in Los Angeles (Channel 101) and New York (Channel 102), and viewers can vote on which shows to renew and which shows to cancel. The top five shows then become the “prime time” lineup, while the losing shows are cancelled forever. At the next month’s viewing, the prime time shows test new episodes against a new selection of pilots, and so on.
Currently, the biggest success story is a series called Yacht Rock, that’s become an underground hit with over 300,000 downloads. Created by four clever Michigan natives, the satirical comedy pays homage to a different smooth sounding late ‘70s/early‘80s track (think Hall and Oates, Doobie Brothers, Kenny Loggins, etc.) each episode. The show has become so popular that the term “yacht rock” has entered the music lexicon, with a mention in a New York Times review of the new Steely Dan album and a Wikepedia entry. There are rumors that the Yacht Rock creators have been asked to do work for big brands, and that they have some even bigger plans brewing for the future.
With people increasingly looking for creative control in the content they consume, these sites are setting a stage for a trend that real TV should sit up and pay close attention to because what audiences really want to see may already be out there.
Go to Channel 101
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