That’s entertainment: YouTube, AOL, Amazon vs. TV

Eric Schmidt has been talking a little trash about TV. The chairman of YouTube owner Google reportedly told advertisers this week that Internet video has already displaced television watching. With that in mind, let’s take a look recent developments in tech and TV:

• Among the things YouTube touted this week: The video site recently said it now has 1 billion unique visitors each month. And DreamWorks bought AwesomenessTV, a YouTube network for teens, for $33 million. And did they mention they think YouTube is better than television? “TV is one-way. YouTube talks back,”  Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s global head of content, said during the presentation mentioned above.  Google, of course, is among the many Internet companies competing with traditional TV for ad spending.

• Let’s change channels. AOL has 15 original projects scheduled for the fall, according to AdWeek. AOL is focusing on what it calls premium content. “We’re not an open platform. We’re doubling down on originals. This investment is unprecedented. We pick and choose content,” Ran Harnevo, senior vice president of AOL Video, told Adweek. Among the shows coming this fall from AOL: a show built around Nicole Ritchie’s Twitter account (now that sounds premium); “The Sartorialist,” a chronicle of urban style; and a documentary series focused on the New York City Ballet produced by Sarah Jessica Parker.

• Amazon is taking the original content idea further by streaming 14 TV pilots for free and asking for feedback that will help the company decide which shows will make it. It’s what some are calling beta testing by audience. Variety says it’s a different, less-expensive and sensible approach than the one Silicon Valley’s Netflix is taking. (Netflix recently said it’s spending $2 billion a year on original programming and licensing rights.)

• A New York Times article earlier this week offers some support for the displaced-TV claim by Schmidt. At least, among travelers who bring their laptops and tablets and Netflix and Hulu subscriptions along and snub the pay-TV options at hotels. The NYT reports that LodgeNet, which provided in-room entertainment such as video on demand for hotels, recently filed for bankruptcy protection. This comes as hotels change their entertainment options, with some offering Apple TV, or Samsung tablets in each guest room.


Photo illustration from Mercury News archives


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