No Shit, New York Times

The New York Times has apparently discovered the amazing and little-anticipated truth: people will watch web videos that are more than 2-minutes long!  Apparently this fact was also the subject of some deep discussion at the LATV Festival, according to those in attendance.

Forgive my sarcasm, but I just find this story to be so ridiculous.  It’s a discussion that we had on the forums of Broadcast Assassin months ago: how long can a web-show go?  The conclusion we reached: as long as it wants to as long as it’s engaging and entertaining.

I have little doubt that the Times analysis of why web videos remained short for so long (technology that made watching video on the web unpleasant until relatively recently) is accurate.  However, anyone who has poked around a few web series is able to see that times of episodes are getting longer.  The internet is allowing for larger files to be uploaded and streamed at increasing speeds.  Watching video on the computer has become par for the course for us – to the point that we feel too constricted to be tied to the computer, and would rather upload our videos to our smart phones, mp3 players, and other portable devices.

So I’m not surprised that people are watching longer videos.  I’ve at the privilege to start talking to the creators of several series, and I find all of them to be emotionally engaging, and entertaining.  So I’m not put off by the length of an episode of Gold, or Captain Blasto.  In fact, I was surprise to realize how much time had passed after I watched the first episode of Captain Blasto.  I was honestly too engaged in the story to notice the passage o time.  And I have little doubt that their new series, Mercury Men, will be just as good.

So wake up, guys.  Web video is going to keep pushing the envelope, we’re going to keep stepping up production values, and pushing our run-times out.  Network television shows streamed online (hello, Hulu!) have proven that you can sustain audiences at traditional episode lengths online.  Why would anyone suppose that this wouldn’t also be true for original, made-for-the-web content?

Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now.  Off to the New York Web TV Meet-up tomorrow night.  Probably no post tomorrow as a result, as I’ll save my talking points for a summary of the experience – it will be my first time attending.

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