Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Personal Video Gains Ground with Google, Gore: Everyman's Media in the Spotlight

There's a wave building for multimedia content from any number of angles these days. Australian scientific and technical publisher CSIRO is gearing up with Continuous Media Markup Language (CMML) standards that allows users to search, access, navigate and query time-continuous media the way HTML does for text [CIO Magazine], while radio and video make their way onto weblogs and multimedia-ready cell phones. But the big news this week is not how professional sources of multimedia content are gaining ground but how amateur video is gaining status. Google's video searching service is now accepting submissions of amateur video for inclusion into its online index, according to PC World and other majors. Google's search will show transcripts, if available, and still photos, just as it does with other broadcast sources. There's no built-in video retrieval, so this will not mean an easy way for an amateur video phenomenon like "Star Wars Kid" to propagate easily, but it does recognize that non-media sources of multimedia are gaining stature as both entertainment and information.

This trend is further underlined by former U.S. Vice President and presidential candidate Al Gore's new cable TV venture targeted at 18-34 year-olds that will include amateur video submitted by its viewers into the programming mix, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The new TV channel, dubbed Current, is slated to debut this August with a mix of professional and amateur content tied in closely to its Web presence. Currently Current's Web site is running contests and promotions to encourage amateur submissions - kind of an online American Idol looking for the next Star Wars Kid, if you will, to build up an inventory of clips. In all of this it's clear that the phenomenon of personal publishing that quickly swept the world of text is beginning to gain steam in shaping how traditional content outlets must position their multimedia value propositions. Just as PCs awaited the Web to unlock personal content to be shared with the world, services such as Google Video and Current are enabling a legion of personal camcorders to gain access to a marketplace for monetizable multimedia. Is nothing sacred...?
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