Destination TV on Net? Not


NEW YORK – "Quarterlife" tried to be a destination on the Web for quality original TV-like programming.

Then, briefly, it tried to be a TV series on TV, as well.

But the time of destination TV on the Web may already be over, according to the former vice chairman of MTV Networks, who is now a creator of micronetworks on the Internet.

“The days of being a destination are behind us,’’ said Herb Scannell, the CEO of Next New Networks, at the 2008 Media Summit, held at the McGraw-Hill Building in Manhattan. “You have to go where they are.”

“They” being viewers of video content on the Web.

Next New Networks gathers audiences by placing its shows on a variety of sites, in an online version of program syndication. Only one of these is YouTube, the most popular site where short video programs get shared.

“You have to go where the audiences are,’’ said Scannell. “Everyone’s a friend.’’

Shows on the company's micronetworks were viewed 100 million times last year; and are now picking up fans. Viewership in the last three months: 20 million views, 25 million views, 33 million views, Scannell said.

The shows can break even, roughly speaking, at 1 million views if advertisers are charged $10 per thousand, he said. Production costs are in the “hundreds of dollars a minute,’’ he said.

“Compensation will follow the consumption,’’ said Jonathan Miller, co-founder of Velocity Investment Group, one of four investment firms which said Wednesday they were putting $15 million, all told, into Next New Networks.

Next New Network’s 12 networks include VOD Cars, Channel Frederator, Barely Political, Indy Mogul and Ultra Kawaii.

Cable system operators are looking for “transformative experiences” to transfer onto their networks from the Web, said Patricia Gottesman, the executive vice president of digital marketing and commerce.

But that may come initially in the form of allowing viewers to order products straight from ads they see, rather than new forms of professionally or user-produced content, she said.