Tom Hanks. Louis C.K. Lisa Kudrow. Kevin Spacey. David Fincher. Bill Maher. Jennifer Lopez. Judy Greer. Steven Van Zandt. Anthony Zuiker. Morgan Spurlock. Ed Begley, Jr. Heidi Klum. What do these Hollywood A-Listers (or near A-Listers) and other stars all have in common? They're all involved in original online video projects which are helping upend the Hollywood ecosystem, legitimize the online medium and further fragment audiences. Each no doubt has his/her own reasons for getting involved, and taken together they're creating momentum that is going to draw in even more talent.
Of course, the big news this week was Tom Hanks partnering with Yahoo for the animated series "Electric City." Hanks, one of Hollywood's most bankable stars, said he was drawn by the opportunity to make "ambiguous attractive" which feels like another way of saying he's searching for greater creative freedom. While creativity may be motivating Hanks, in Louis C.K.'s case, it seems more about tweaking the System and proving that when presented with a compelling offer (in this case a $5 DRM-free download of his "Live at the Beacon Theater" special), people will behave properly (i.e. pay rather than steal).
Online video continues to attract more mainstream Hollywood talent and the latest is Tom Hanks, whose company Playtone, this week launched "The Three Minute Talk Show" hosted by comedian Barry Sobel. I watched the the first couple episodes and was impressed (an you have to love the little 3-minute countdown icon in the lower right corner). It's a little manic, but the fast pace holds the viewer's attention. Hanks appeared on the first episode and actor Bryan Cranston on the second. The show is part of Lexus' LStudio, so presumably there won't be any additional advertising. As connected devices proliferate, this is the kind of high-quality content that will play well for couch potatoes.
VideoNuze is the authoritative online source for original analysis and news aggregation focused on the burgeoning online video industry. Founded in 2007 by Will Richmond, a 20-year veteran of the broadband, cable TV, content and technology industries, VideoNuze is read by executive-level decision-makers who need to get beyond the standard headlines and achieve a deep understanding of online video’s disruptive impact.