Kara Swisher

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Kara Visits NATPE: An Online Video About Online Video

Here’s a little video I made while in Las Vegas at the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) yesterday.

The one-time mighty conference has obviously lagged, as the way the entertainment industry buys and sells programming has drastically changed over the years.

Also a concern: the impact of interactive technologies–digital issues seemed to be the biggest topic for attendees.

eisner

I was there, for example, for a panel–called “Possibilities and Perils of Internet TV”–about online video with Walt Disney head Michael Eisner (pictured here), former Viacom head Jonathan Dolgen and Dmitry Shapiro, founder and CIO of Veoh.

Both Eisner and Dolgen are investors in Veoh–one of the many online video services out there. And Eisner has been dabbling in the new-media content space with several efforts at original programming.

The conversation was lively, with Eisner bullish that the online video market would explode in the coming years, both in terms of influence and profitability.

He compared the situation to the early days of cable television and also noted that it would take a new generation of talent to make it happen at lower costs.

And Eisner quite correctly noted that a lot of the new stuff that is being produced for the Web from Hollywood is simply weak material that failed to get on television.

But he did point to all sorts of interesting experimentation going on, and said he was convinced that advertisers would eventually follow.

Both he and also Dolgen expected the advent of better editorial control and programming efforts would increase audience.

I was less sanguine, in my ongoing role as official grump of the Web, wondering how overblown production costs and this-is-the-way-we-do-it stubbornness in Hollywood would change.

More importantly, I am still waiting for better answers on how really serious money will be made in the medium.

In any case, here is a short video I made, with interviews with Shapiro and Dolgen. Of course, Mr. Online Video, Eisner, declined to be interviewed by me and my little annoying Flip camera:


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work