Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Gawker Gets Into the TV Business — The Japanese Cult Hit Game Show TV Business

Gawker Media boss Nick Denton says he wants his blog empire to be more than a blog empirehe wants it to be like TV. So here’s the next logical step: He’s going to start running a TV show on one of his blogs.

Next week Denton’s Kotaku gaming site will start showing complete episodes of “Retro Game Master,” a long-running Japanese reality/comedy show.

I’m a little fuzzy on what the show actually entails, but as far as I can tell it involves a dude trying to master ancient, NES-era games, and it’s apparently a big hit in Japan and a cult favorite on the Internet.

Gawker Media has bought the rights to the first 12 episodes of the show, which have been dubbed in English, and has the ability to show more if it goes well, says Kotaku editor Joel Johnson. The idea is to treat the show both as “live” TV — a new episode will be made available each Thursday, at 8 pm ET — and as traditional Web video — Kotaku readers can watch the show on demand whenever they like.

Gawker has already made a significant commitment to video, via its Gawker.TV site. But that site is pretty much dedicated to other people’s viral videos and TV clip compilations that Gawker’s staff assembles. Here the company has gone ahead and purchased the rights to videos it will have exclusively in the U.S. (Eric Spiegelman, last seen on this site working on his “Old Jews Telling Jokes” series, put the deal together for Gawker Media).

This is an experiment for Gawker Media, and the publisher hasn’t sold advertising against the show yet because it doesn’t know how it’s going to perform. But if it does work, you should expect to see more full-length shows on different Gawker Media sites says COO Gaby Darbyshire.

So how much does it cost to purchase the U.S. Web video rights to a hit Japanese TV show, anyway? “Not very much money,” says Darbyshire. “Put it this way — it was not an extravagant experiment to make. Surprisingly small.”


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— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google