Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

An Online Ad Bright Spot: Short Videos Made by Grown-Ups. One Catch, Though

If things keep moving along their current trajectory, it is going to be a very glum fall, and a very unpleasant 2009. So let’s take good news where we can find it. Like this: Research shop Gartner says it has found an online ad sector that will grow 600 percent this year.

The catch? You already know about it. It’s “Protail video”–i.e, short clips made by people other than kids in their bedrooms. Like “Dr. Horrible,” the mini video series created by Joss “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” Whedon. The stuff that we’ve been hearing advertisers like, for quite some time.

Oh. Wait. There’s another catch. That 600 percent growth will bring the market to a grand total of…$75 million this year, worldwide.

It’s paltry numbers like these that explain why Google’s (GOOG) YouTube was predicting 2008 sales of $200 million–and that was the number the company was floating this summer, before the ad market started plummeting.

OK. Back to good news. Gartner figures that sometime in the future, this market really does take off: It thinks protail will generate $1.5 billion by 2012. I will do my part by using my newly purchased Flip video camera (though not the HD model, which no one bothered to tell me about before I shelled out for my Mino) to generate some compelling and ad-friendly video content ASAP.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald