New media video content is getting plenty of play here at Variety‘s TV Summit in Hollywood. The question on plenty of people’s minds is what can we expect to see from the Huffington Post’s new “Streaming Network?” Thankfully, AOL Studios’ head of original video Gabriel Lewis was here earlier to explain.
“The mission is to take everything great and unique on Huffington Post and take it to video,” Lewis said in a panel discussion on the ‘surging strength of original web programming.’ “I do not have CNN’s budget, let’s get that out of the way. But we feel that people are beyond being talked to, they want to be talked with. We can create content that fosters autentic conversation, and not just talking points you have to hit before a break.”
Let’s see… Huffington Post as a model… no money… variety of viewpoints… are we talking about relying on a video network of unpaid contributors?
We spoke to Lewis after his panel was finished to get the full story.
“Our video content will be shot and produced in our studio, by paid professionals. We want a more democratic form of content, but we don’t want Chatroulette. You need a filter. If Huffpost contributors want to appear on those programs, they’ll be able to. They won’t be paid in that instance. But it’s like appearing on any talk show. You don’t get paid to be a guest on the radio either.”
Which makes sense. That type of show format doesn’t exactly sound too democratic in nature, however. It sounds like a traditional talk show format, where the host interviews the guest, throw in some filler segments and you’ve got your show. Where’s the new media interactivity?
“We will be hosting video comments from users,” says Lewis. “But, again, we don’t want to be Chatroulette.”
I may be slow, but it sounds like entire idea is to produce a few standard talk shows, focusing on relevant HuffPo content o’ the day, and allow users to comment on the shows in real time. Is that it? Do I have it? Unfortunately, Lewis was surrounded by a gaggle of Hollywood flesh pressers before he could confirm my intuitions. But at least we know one thing: Huff Post Streaming Network will not be a repository for live video dong shots. Looks like Chatroulette has that content niche pretty well cornered.