About

Patricia Handshiegel

Digital Dish covers the ins and outs of an Internet executive moving into the television arena. Disher Patricia Handschiegel is the founder of Stylediary.net, which she sold to Stylehive.com in November 2007. She has a background in Internet infrastructure and technology business, was an advisor to Kaboodle.com (sold to Hearst in 2007), and has contributed as an entertainment/media business writer for Venturebeat.com. She’s also been an early visionary of professional Internet TV content since 2005 and is currently an advisor on several entertainment/Internet projects. Always an entrepreneur, she had a highly profitable babysitting monopoly at 11, lent her writing skill to students at 17 and landed her first published national article at 23.

She has also worked as a ghost writer for a national TV correspondent. At 22, she was recognized nationally for promoting the growth of women’s hockey and advised companies on creating hockey products for women. She’s been quoted and profiled in dozens of media outlets since and is currently developing two book concepts. A serial entrepreneur, she plans to continue to build Internet, entertainment and media companies, with the goal of promoting social change and charities. She is currently involved in the use of technology to help find missing and abused children, and has contributed financially to TheJoyfulChild.org and other organizations. She is the founder of Look|Shop|List.com (in development).

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Field Guide to the Web Game

October 14, 2008 11:13 AM

This week, “Saturday Night Live” and HBO announced that they’ll be launching online video efforts, joining the ranks of other Hollywood types like Hulu.com, Strike.TV, etc., in providing content on the Internet. It came with excitement, of course. The more big content players in the category, the better.

Success for everyone depends on how well the industry as a whole can attract an audience. Big names haven’t always meant success online. In fact, historically it has appeared to be the opposite.

The Internet’s a level playing field where two guys in a garage eating Ramen noodles can outsmart a multimillion-dollar effort. Success and failure all depend on the ability to understand the Internet and how to drive people to your Web site. No amount of money can guarantee it.

So what do giant players like “Saturday Night Live” and HBO need to do to achieve YouTube-like success? I believe it all boils down to thinking more like the little guys when it comes to developing an audience and ultimately, growing a Web business.

Start-ups put an intense, relentless effort into generating presence and building an audience at a very hand-to-hand level. Go to any Internet event and you’ll find many networking, speaking, presenting and working the crowd. They pass out stickers; people work their presence.

I believe big companies need to see the Web in the same way. If nobody knew about you, how would you tell them about it?

Start-ups also can’t afford to make mistakes and don’t recover as easily from bad ideas, so there’s a cautious look-before-launching mentality. They work to know a category, what’s missing, and what people want, then design from there.

A lot of the best ideas online, like YouTube and MySpace, spun out of a handful of small people noticing something that everybody could use.

Big companies can do the same. The market’s an easy read if you’re careful where you look. With “SNL” and HBO, they’re very different and so would be the strategy. It will be very interesting to see how both do.

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Comments (4)

Let's see whether NBC & HBO use the Internet interactively...and take advantage of all the exciting things it can do. Or will they just build sites that repurpose the network fare--providing another screen to watch SNL or Entourage on?

"In the name of 'progress' our official culture is striving to force the new media to do the work of the old." Marshall McLuhan, "The Medium is the Massage."

To see a longer pov on all this, click on my name which will get you to a recent post from my blog.

Sorry...my name here is the right link for the blog post. (Punished for my shameless self-promotion, I think).

I think the issue is that they (the powers that be) tend to focus on the obvious (ie Lauren Conrad or whatever celeb of the moment) and what they "know" rather than what works. The problem for them that on the web, the obvious, the classifible (is that a word?) isn't what normally works. I mean how would you classify Digg in traditional media terms? How would you classify Perez Hilton? or even The Budget Fashionista for that matter?

It's a completely new way of thinking for most in entertainment and I think the jury is still out on if they will be able to change...

Patricia:

@Scott, I agree. I think the largest problem in entertainment as it relates to the web is that companies in the business take traditional entertainment industry execs and put them into 'new media' departments. It just doesn't work. I have to work with experienced people in production because I'm not a showrunner - but in entertainment's approach to web, they would throw me right into doing it. The industry is faring better than music has, but not as good as retail, though long term still remains to be seen.

@Kathryn, it's so true. The industry has become so risk adverse, it's actually killing itself with boredom and bad characters. TV isn't nearly as compelling as it was 10 years ago. With Digg, I'd consider it a feature set. With your site (which is incredible, by the way) or Perez, it's a media platform - the sky is the limit. I think though it all depends on the owner. With you, the sky is the limit. Perez is limited to what entertainment can do for him - and that's limited because of the lack of wide scope in the current market. Just my 2 cents of course, but business is business.

I do believe it is harder for entertainment because start-up costs to do anything is so much more money, but still. It's all relative. When you're pulling in millions annually in revenue, $25k on a pilot doesn't seem like that big of an amount.

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