- yet another company that Hollywood studios should fear

John Shinal · November 21, 2007 · Short URL:

The list of existing business models that have been blown up by the Internet is long and growing longer every day. Remember when we used to phone people called travel agents to book a trip, or find an apartment to rent through the newspaper classifieds? Been a while, yes?

Well, all of that dis-intermediation -- of the travel industry, the media industry and many others -- is nothing compared to what we're about to see the Web do to one of the biggest, most profitable businesses of them all -- the television industry.

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- at some point, maybe five years from now, maybe ten -- people are going to look back at the 2007 Writers Guild strike as the tipping point in the evolution of Internet television.

At the very moment the creators and distributors of entertainment content are fighting for their share of digital media revenue, choking off the production of many of America's favorite shows, thousands of talented people at well-funded VC-backed startups are working their butts off to give consumers alternative shows and the means to view them via the Web at little or no cost.

It's a great example of the old adage: hard work + opportunity = success. 

Previously, in this newsroom post, we focused on the opportunity for independent creators of content. We'll look at those companies even more closely in our next episode of Vator Reports, our own original show, which will post in the newsroom Nov. 26.

Now, after seeing the video pitch of, it's clear to me that companies focusing on enabling technologies also have a good chance of striking gold in the Digital Media hills.

Founded by an executive team whose previous startup were sold to the toy company Mattel and the software company Corel, respectively, is beginning to give independent show producers the chance to broadcast live interactive TV shows over the Internet FOR FREE.

Their platform, which integrates live Web video with phone call-in and text-based chat, is like a TV talk show in a box. Can you guess how much cheaper that is than paying a studio full of workers?

No, none of these shows will have the reach or production flash of Oprah anytime soon. But long before Oprah was an international media brand, she was just a talented, hard-working woman with a microphone and a couch on one local network affiliate.

Someday, some of the shows on are going to feature household names. But don't take my word for it, to see what the buzz is all about, check out the video pitch embedded in this story.

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