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New Media Is New Kid on Block at Event

Jan 27, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Television studio and network representatives attending NATPE will have their day planners filled with meetings with new-media companies, many of which weren’t even in existence a year or two ago.
As NATPE and the syndication business it was built on continue to morph, the annual conference is becoming a playground for digital deal-making. Executives attending this year’s event hail from video sites such as YouTube and Break.com, Internet TV networks such as Next New Networks and online distribution platforms such as Joost and Vuze.
The new activity underscores the changing dynamics of the television business as it shifts under the influence of widespread distribution of TV and video content across the Web.
Herb Scannell, CEO of Internet TV network Next New Networks, said he’s meeting with several studios and networks to discuss carrying Next New Networks’ shows on their Web sites.
Late last year, Next New Networks struck a deal with ABC Family for the cable network to carry two of Next New Networks’ online shows, “Indy Mogul” and “Threadbanger,” on the ABC Family Web site. That was the Internet company’s first deal to distribute its shows on a cable network’s Web site, Mr. Scannell said.
“Our basic point of view is to go where audiences are aggregating, and if they are aggregating at cable Web sites, we are interested in finding out if our content fits into the vision of the kind of content they want to be offering,” he said.
YouTube is doubling its presence at the show from last year, sending six executives. They will meet with both traditional TV studios and smaller, independent producers, said Jordan Hoffner, head of premium content partnerships for YouTube. “We offer the opportunity for monetization, since we are running ad rev shares in the partner program, and we are also talking about how to incorporate YouTube partners into other products like Google News,” he said.
Traditional media companies are eager to distribute their video libraries online, creating new revenue streams for the content owner and the distributor. Break.com, for instance, wants to expand its library material into pranks and “just for laughs” material, said Keith Richman, CEO of Break. That’s his goal for NATPE, he said.
“There are a lot more players on the traditional side recognizing the value of online distribution and a lot more people on the online side recognizing the value of produced content,” he said.
That includes distributors such as Vuze, which has grown to 18 million worldwide users in the past year, said Gilles BianRossa, CEO of Vuze. In the past year Vuze has signed up about 150 content partners, including CBS, Showtime, A&E and the BBC.
“NATPE achieves two to three objectives, and those are increasing our awareness in the content provider community and learning from them what their needs are in terms of monetizing their content and how we can be more helpful in terms of features and offerings,” he said.
Other new-media companies headed to Las Vegas include Ripe Digital Entertainment, Move Networks, MSN, WorldNow, Livid.TV, Yahoo, Permission TV, Hulu, Blip, Roo, Veoh, MySpace, Yahoo, Google and TVLoop.
TVLoop, a new social network for fans of TV shows, expects to announce a deal at NATPE to carry clips from prime-time shows within its Facebook application, said Kevin Chou, president-CEO of the company.
NATPE appears to be embracing the change. “We have always said that NATPE reflects the business,” said Rick Feldman, president and CEO of NATPE. “So as the digital video and linear television models expand and contract and merge, NATPE will be the single focused U.S. market reflecting the transactions resulting from the transforming models.”

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