AOL Introduces Revenue To Filmmakers

    October 30, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Publishers can sign up with Brightcove, AOL’s partner, for an account that will allow them to receive up to 70 percent of the revenue generated by sales of their videos.

Hollywood’s creative malaise that has encompassed virtually all of its films may receive motivation to develop better work from efforts like the AOL and Brightcove partnership announced today. That motivation may be less a kick in the pants and more of an antifreeze-filled syringe jammed into its collective neck by a ballcap-wearing neo-Spielberg with a 3CCD camera and a copy of Final Cut.

Something of old Hollywood will be missed, but we can always find a copy of it on a street corner in Hong Kong anyway, so why worry about it? The industry has made its money and held the Internet at arm’s length for several years. Deals with Amazon and Apple to distribute films are the most notable of the online distribution efforts to date, by virtue of the powerful brand names backing them.

But the content has to come from somewhere. Some minor successes have been seen online already, as BusinessWeek noted with sites like Metacafe and Revver. Those sites have observed the growth in demand for videos from “Ask a Ninja” and “The Show with Ze Frank.”

Even Katie Couric has more viewers for her nightly news broadcast on CBS than these video netcasts gain, and they are among the most popular online. No Hollywood moguls have to worry about waiting for a table while the maitre d’ ushers a video blogger through the lines at popular nightspots.

At least not today. What about tomorrow?

“The high-quality and imaginative content from both large and small producers is a great complement to our growing video library,” said Kevin Conroy, Executive Vice President of AOL. “Working with Brightcove ensures that AOL Video will have a constant stream of some of the most exciting and provocative new video flowing from professional content producers and in turn, gives them a high-profile outlet for distributing their videos.”

The AOL-Brightcove deal places videos on AOL, where they can be indexed and viewed by site visitors. People can purchase videos for download, and the filmmaker gets a piece of the action. AOL described other benefits of the deal in a statement:

With an account, publishers can upload content, package it into titles, and select distribution options with AOL Video and They can also sell the same video downloads through their own site, using the Brightcove publishing services to create a custom broadband channel.

That just leaves video publishers the dilemma Alfred Hitchcock once cited as the bane of filmmaking: actors. AOL has not come up with a way to make handling them as easy as taking care of distribution. But then, filmmaking should pose some challenges.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.