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First Made-For-Internet Movie To Premiere

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The first made-for-the-Internet, “theatrically budgeted” movie will premiere on AOL this Halloween, AUTOMATIC producer Adam Shapiro told the attendees at this year’s VON. Shapiro was part of a roundtable discussion about film and TV on the Web and how we get there.

iEntry Inc. CEO Rich Ord sat in on the discussion at VON about feature-length movies on the Net.

Joining the Shapiro for the discussion was Nick DeMartino, Senior Vice President of Media and Technology, AFI; Mark Langford, Vice President of Product Development, MovieBeam; and Michael Downing, Co-Founder and CEO, GoFish.

A “refugee” from network TV production, Shapiro said he was “amazed” at the excitement surrounding video on the Net. The excitement drove his company to produce a teen-targeted horror movie entitled “Incubus” and release it through AOL on October 31.

“The idea [is] that if anyone is going to bridge the convergence of the Internet and TV, it is going to be by young people like my 14 year-old daughter. This will be the first theatrically budgeted film for the Internet.”

“Does it include snakes?” asks a wisecracking audience member. Shapiro showed a preview to remove the mystery.

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Mark LangfordMark Langford hates to rain on everybody’s parade, but that doesn’t mean he won’t. The online movie services out there still have a ways to go before gaining critical mass. There are two reasons for that, chiefly: people don’t want to watch a movie on a PC; and, joining the chorus of the telecoms (whom he is formerly associated), bandwidth isn’t exactly infinite.

“I’m going to say something controversial,” he said. “If everyone at this conference is successful with video, we are going to have a bandwidth crisis. I hear some say that bandwidth is unlimited. Well I’m sorry to say that they are wrong – especially at the metro level.”

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Michael, Downing, a good executive, knows his numbers. GoFish’s interactive reality program, Online Dream Date, attracted 1.6 million visitors in 4 weeks time, streaming 4 million videos during that time.

Michael also says that 80 percent of Hollywood is unemployed at any given time. So you know what that means – cheap labor! Ahem. He didn’t say cheap labor. He said something about “professional grade content” being available.

And how do online video and film pioneers pay for all this talent, content, and bandwidth?

“I predict that within two years there will be groups acting like ad agencies that will produce deficit financing to fund Internet films,” he said. Just like the old days, then.

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