LIVESTRONG.com, Demand Media's newest venture and a trademark of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, wants to differentiate itself from other health information sites with its variety of high-quality content and the community surrounding that content, Director of Community Lex Friedman says.
Demand Media CEO Richard Rosenblatt, the former CEO of MySpace, knows a thing or two about social communities. Friedman told me that his MySpace experience is "tremendoulsy influential with what we're doing at LIVESTRONG."
LIVESTRONG.com's interactive "Dare To" feature allows users to take dares together to change something in their lives, like quitting smoking or losing weight. In addition to challenging and encouraging each other, users can also ask questions of the experts from the site's 5,000 original video clips, which cover topics ranging from fitness to fishing.
The site, launched in June, accrued video quickly largely thanks to the connections of Demand Media how-to video site Expert Village, Friedman says.
John Heilemann at Business 2.0 estimated Demand Media's VC value to be at $500 million over a year ago, but reported that Rosenblatt insisted he wanted to build his media empire, not sell it. It looks like he's sticking to his word.
--Kelsey Blodget, Associate Producer
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Michael Wright, Senior Vice President, TNT/TBS/TCM Content Creation Group, discusses how quality, experienced showrunners are key to strong series. Jon Lafayette of TVWeek conducts the interview at the TCA summer press tour.
The technology-fueled 'Culture of Participation and Sharing' is now changing the content and media industries at a very rapid pace. Youtube has changed TV and video, forever; blogging and self-publishing has changed journalism and print media; P2P, web radio and now on-demand streaming has uprooted the recorded music industry. Any successful 'content' player must now develop and put in place a web-centric (and web-native!) business model that is based on unrestricted sharing and user-engagement as THE crucial starting point.
Toronto-based video platform mDialog lets users upload, share and watch user-generated and professional content online, on Apple TV, and on iPhones.
mDialog launched its authorized iPhone application in time for the release of the iPhone 3G, and gained attention for being one of the first video sites to do so. (Check out TechChrunch's early review of the product.) CEO Greg Philpott demonstrates some of the application's features in the segment.
mDialog uses the same MPEG-4 H.264 video standard as Apple, and its compatibility with Apple products could trigger its mainstream appeal. Its high-resolution video also sets it apart; mDialog is able to easily compress high-quality and large video files with its mLoader application.
So far mDialog seems most useful for personal video sharing, but it is working on expanding its professional content. The company got the rights to distribute HBO web series Blood Copy and is also the online video platform for French Maid TV, which was announced earlier this week. In the clip below, the maids provide a tutorial on using the site.
The site will also publish an original web series, "Cooking to Get Lucky," starting sometime this fall. Co-hosts Eden Riegel from "All My Children" and Bob Guiney from "The Bachelor" will help users cook meals to impress their dates.
Rob, Turtle, Brendon, & Danny Reno wonder if downloadable content is headed in the wrong direction. For more Arcade, visit www.maniatv.com
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Metro Brokers' Mark Harrison impressed by Inman content and vendors like frontdoor.com. Distributed by Tubemogul.
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Branded content is still a relatively new and developing advertising format, but Ogilvy & Mather is ahead of the curve: In June 2007, while many digital ad agencies were still experimenting, it launched the high-production 12-episode web series "In Search of Real Food" on Yahoo for Unilever's Hellmann's. The second season, Real Food Summer School with Bobby Flay, launched May 22 of this year.
Ogilvy teamed with Bobby Flay's Rock Shrimp Productions to create the series, which aims to demystify back-of-the-fridge foods like mayonnaise, one of Hellmann's best-known products, by explaining its ingredients and range of uses, Ogilvy Entertainment President Douglas Scott told me at the Omma Global conference in New York last week.
In the second season of the series, Bobby Flay teaches America's worst cooks to make simple dishes. The first season, which followed celebrity chef Dave Lieberman around the country as he spoke with house-makers, restaurateurs and others about real food, received one million unique visitors and five thousand "Real Food" community members, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.
--Kelsey Blodget, Associate Producer
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BNET, the business information site of CBS Interactive, has just announced a content sharing agreement with Seeking Alpha, the influential financial site. Earnings calls and other data from Seeking Alpha will surface on the BNET site, while company information from BNET will appear on the big finance site.
Last year I interviewed Greg Mason about BNET when he was a CNET executive. After the acquisition of CNET by CBS, he has become general manager of the CBS Interactive Business Network. I've republished the interview today.
Here's the press release on today's news.
-- Andy Plesser, Executive Producer
Disclaimer: BNET is a public relations client of Plesser Holland.