There’s a hint of the future (in more ways than one) with this online hit I discovered only recently (as work has been keeping me crazy busy of late). Now in its 4th season, production of Red vs. Blue (RvB)
has gained fans from around the world and serves as a kind of prototype for how entertainment can be a success online. Awarding high-resolution feeds to those who donate, "RvB" is able to generate revenue without suing its fan base! (Imagine that!)
RvB breaks the traditions of TV programming in a number of other ways. Episodes are short (averaging 5-8 mintues) and use polygonal characters generated by the Microsoft XBox game "Halo" as cast. Voiceovers of the game avatars serve as the dialague, where frankly most of the focus of the series is at. But the comedy that comes out of it all is very, very real.
I gotta wonder if the MPAA and Canadian Government are watching. Here we have only one of several viable means for the entertainment biz to make its money online & without all the fearmongering and worry that accompanies the traditional business model. Someday (not that far off), entertainment may well be completely solicited online. The traditional Nielsen-ratings-driven approach of determining where ad dollars are best spent seems to quickly becomming archaic as the Web takes more and more time away from "the boob-tube".
The next big hurdle (perhaps coming sometime between 2008 and 2010) will be when the web overtakes TV for largest share spent by the individual viewer for entertainment. Will Hollywood finally realize by then (only when it’s really too late) that suing people to stop ’em from getting their entertainment online isn’t gonna work?
Maybe Microsoft isn’t so crazy to be spending all this time and money on entertainment technologies…and maybe MGM and Paramount and all the rest oughtta take heed. I can see the desire for them to defend their existing revenue streams; but in the end – people’s lives are gonna get ruined and the effort won’t make much difference in terms of slowing public demand for online content down any.
Hats off to RvB for making the future a reality online. And here’s hoping this reprsents the dawn of a trend away from the courtroom and back into the job of making people laugh.