WeTube – YouTube the Movie

Products by on February 25, 2007 at 6:19 pm

Rahul, Alison and I went to WeTube, an incredibly entertaining YouTube event last night. Yes, it was as funny as it sounds.

The lights dimmed and the show started with Peanut Butter Jelly Time, while people ran around the small theater tossing out peanut butter jelly sandwiches (awesome at 11pm). They then experimented with three formats during the show:

  • moderated: the hosts gave a bit of background on YouTube and some of the types of videos popular on YouTube. The moderators were big fans of the ‘remixing’ that happens with popular videos and showed a number of original and remixed versions of the same idea.
  • mad lib searches: “Name a sport”, “name a food” then search, etc. This didn’t work out too well - we mostly stumbled on random, unamusing clips: try a search for ‘breastfeeding cracker’ and you’ll understand.
  • audience competition. Three people from the audience got up and each selected a video, and the audience voted on their favorite. This was actually the best part of the show, as people brought up tried and true favorites.

It was fun laughing at the same thing you’ve seen before ,but this time with a hundred other people. I also enjoyed seeing the gems that other people found. However, the format still has a way to go. Video quality was poor (although it kind of worked on the big screen), and the audio timing was a little off. Numa Numa just isn’t as funny without the millisecond audio-video lip sync precision.

Before the show, Monica Guzman, a reporter from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer approached us and asked us a few questions aimed at understanding what we thought about the YouTube format (both on the big screen, and as entertainment in general). We’ll see how coherent Rahul and I sounded if the article gets published, but it did get me thinking a bit about the role that YouTube will play in the future of media.

Does Internet video threaten Hollywood?
Mark Cuban posted that YouTube was to TV as snacks are to a meal. That is certainly true today, but I don’t believe it will apply in 5 years. Many people have a tendency to associate YouTube with the “stupid human tricks” that frequently become viral phenomena (America’s Funniest Home Videos anyone?). But YouTube is much more than that - there is a tremendous depth and variety of content being developed. Sure, the format is pretty limiting today, but that will change. Rahul described it best in our discussion with the reporter - “It isn’t that different than independent film”.

As the costs to produce go down and the quality of delivery goes up (joost), we’ll begin to see longer, higher quality videos distributed online that begin to replace traditional TV shows and Movies. Is there any difference between telling your Tivo to record Friends and telling it to download the next episode of ‘Lonely Girl’?

Hollywood has long had a lock on video distribution. There will always be a place for high budget films that are promoted heavily, but we’re going to see a lot more low-budget, innovative films find and build audiences online first. In time, Internet Video be able to deliver ‘prime-time’ size audiences to creative filmmakers. We’ll see more and more unknown filmmakers get discovered and build their careers online.

The PI article is on the web - it was less about the future of media and more about the event itself and is a good entertaining read. I also corrected the paper (I originally had the Times, not the PI).


  1. davenaff — February 25, 2007 @ 6:19 pm

    BTW, Mark Cuban also has a must-read post post on the challenges GooTube faces as it tries to thread the needle between search, copyright, advertising and the DMCA.

  2. Monica Guzman — February 27, 2007 @ 11:12 am

    Hey Dave. This is the reporter from Saturday night (and it’s the P-I, by the way). Story ran today, but I wondered if I could link to your blog post from my blog, Net Native, to give readers some more perspective? Let me know …

  3. davenaff — February 27, 2007 @ 1:29 pm

    Monica, Yup of course. I also updated my post to include the correct paper, a link to the article and your blog.

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