Media Money with Julia Boorstin

Sony, Time Warner Going Online In Major Way

Sony Online Entertainment

Media companies have a pretty clear model: they create TV and movie content, and they try to monetize that content over a number of platforms, from video-on-demand, to most notably, the Internet. Now media companies are fostering creative divisions to create significant amounts of content designed entirely for distribution online.

Sony's new "Crackle" invests millions in online content annually, trying to find new talent and to create new properties to take across all platforms. And Time Warner's Warner Bros. is introducing 24 web productions, everything from minimovies, to online games, and mobisodes. The plan is to get advertisers to support the content, but Warner Bros. ditched the plan to have advertisers on-board to pay for production, and now it'll just pull on advertisers later. Warner Bros. and the other companies simply can't spend the time looking for advertisers, the need to stake a claim in new online content is too great for the studio tarry.

Among Warner Bros. new projects--"The Jeannie Tate Show" a miniseries about a soccer mom giving a talk show from her minivan, a mocumentary "Viral" about the attempt to create an online hit... Look for an online dating game from the "Gilmore Girls'" Lauren Graham and a project from the director of the "Charlie's Angels" movies.

In related news, Time Warner has just invested in a video ad company called "ScanScout", which it describes as similar to Google's AdSense, but for video. The software selects contextual in-video ads based on page information, audio and imagery patterns in video. The more appropriate an ad, the more likely viewers are to watch it.

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