MORE ON WEB VIDEO: Adam Keiper (who did the videoblogging from the Foresight Nanotechnology Conference I mentioned earlier) emails in response to the post below:
I know your interest in web video extends beyond liveblogging. Can I make one prediction and one observation?
First, the prediction: In the 2008 presidential election, the number of political video advertisements made by ordinary citizens and distributed online will equal or exceed the number of ads officially released by the campaigns. Not because of ad contests, like the MoveOn.org contest that resulted in the notorious Bush-as-Hitler ad, but just because ordinary people will be frustrated with slow pace of the parties' and campaigns' ad teams. With election-related footage easily available (thanks to C-SPAN, ifilm, the campaigns' own websites, and other sources) and easy-to-use video editing software freely available, it will be hard to resist. (Some of this already started this year. After that footage of Edwards fussing over his hair and Bush giving the finger to the camera hit the Internet, ad-like parodies quickly appeared online, like this one set to the song "Rawhide," and another one that I made in about an hour.) These ads will appear faster than the officially sanctioned ads; they'll be funnier than the official ads; and they won't be limited to the TV-commercial length of 30 or 60 seconds. And of course some candidates and some FEC officials will be very unhappy.
Second, the observation. Building on what they did with Jon Stewart a few days ago, Amazon now has launched Amazon Theater, "a series of five original short films available exclusively at Amazon.com as a free gift to our customers." These little films have been made in cooperation with Ridley Scott's production company, and in fact it looks like Ridley Scott's brother, daughter, and son each directed one of the films. The first of the films, starring Minnie Driver, debuted today. And these films aren't just little dramas to bring traffic to Amazon's site: they are each exercises in intense product placement, and during the closing credits you can click to buy the products featured in the film. I don't think any other online retailer could pull off something like this today, but in a few years this sort of intense product placement could become much more common online and on TV.