The digitization of entertainment was exactly what we thought it was
going to be, though we didn’t know it at the time. Silicon Valley
(writ large) deals with digitizing stuff. Hollywood creates content. When the Internet brought the two crashing together we knew both were
going to have a role to play.
At first it looked like technology would control the digital entertainment agenda, and that professionally developed content would be moved to the margin and in its place would emerge a million spontaneously generated, user-driven, long-tail broadcast networks. Networks with no production cost and almost personally customized content offerings.
But the failure of many of these services to drive consistent audiences and attract premium advertisers has made it clear that Silicon Valley won’t usurp Hollywood, content is still king.
This isn’t to say that “platform plays” are gone, clearly innovations like social networks, Twitter and the iPhone create the stage upon which new services can be deployed, but in the end it may just be that those platforms are the conduits for compelling content.
Even in the face of a powerful global economic headwind, new media innovation continues at a refreshing pace. The 2009 OnHollywood 100 is stacked with new companies, many of which are finding markets eager for their offerings.
The digital media ecosystem continues to thirst for effective ways to distribute, track and monetize their content. This is where companies like Digitalsmiths, Vobile, and Ooyala are finding active markets. Companies like Mogulus and Ustream are creating new platforms for live broadcasts, with services like roundbox extending broadcast reach to mobile devices.
The gaming sector, where innovation continues at a scorching pace, is well represented on the 2009 OnHollywood list. PlayFish, PlayPhone, Zynga, Ngmoco, and Tapulous (whose Tap Tap Revenge game was recently reported to be on one third of all iPhones) all exemplify the rapid rise of interactive entertainment.
While consumption for many new entertainment services has been robust, monetization has too often been anemic. To that end we sought to identify companies leading the charge for new forms of monetization. PlaySpan, Viximo and Peanut Labs are all showing that (and how) money can be made in digital media, and sometimes in the most surprising ways.
Consumers will be thrilled by the innovations in access and discovery from new companies lala and Project Playlist and the continued creativity of some more familiar names like Pandora and Roku.
Our top newcomer, ZillionTV is banging the drum for the return of the content king. Their service is bringing an entirely new level of personal control to your TV experience.
The overall Winner of the 2009 OnHollywood 100 is OnLive.
This company will shift the tectonic plates of the gaming industry by fundamentally changing the way games are consumed. By moving the entire gaming platform to the “cloud,” OnLive is able to remove the console and game media from the equation. If a consumer no longer has to spend thousands on gaming platforms, equipment and media, where does that expenditure go? How does that market reform?
The 2009 OnHollywood 100 are companies you should know and even more importantly products you’ll enjoy.
We congratulate the winners and are encouraged by the rapid pace of innovation in digital media!
See the rest of the list here: AlwaysOn.