Freeing the computer's inner TV

Banff panel: Make Web content look, feel like tube

Young people might be flocking to the Internet, but they still watch television.

As such, content producers looking to digitally connect with on-the-go youth culture were told Sunday at the Banff World Television Festival that they should create video-based content that looks and feels like traditional television.

"Joost is not betting against television. We're betting on it," Stacey Seltzer, senior vp content strategy and acquisitions at Joost, an upstart Web TV player, told delegates at nextMEDIA, Banff's new-media sidebar.

Joost, now in the beta stage ahead of a pending launch, is streaming broadcast-quality content onto the computer. But Seltzer insisted that the Joost platform was conceived with TV in mind by offering free, full-screen, ad-supported video licensed from content owners.

The idea is to bring the emerging advantages of the Internet, including social networking and interactivity, to the Web TV player.

"We've created a safe haven for content producers to experiment in," Seltzer told Banff delegates.

Dale Herigstad, executive creative director at Los Angeles-based Schematic, a digital entertainment design firm, agreed that traditional television and the Internet should not be seen as mutually exclusive.

"It's additive," Herigstad said of a range of network-branding projects Schematic has done for Xbox Live, CNN.com, MTV Overdrive and Vongo, among others. Each attempts to harness the emerging potential of the Internet to help monetize video-based content from Hollywood and other established players.

An example is the ABC video player, which Schematic designed and built for ABC.com. The technology and interface to display and stream ABC content was specifically designed to look and feel like traditional television.

"It's not like I'm not going to watch television in my house," Herigstad argued. That said, consumers can watch video away from their TV sets, and their homes, on a range of emerging platforms, including mobile and MP3 players.

"We're addressing how people can watch video when they're not at home," he said.

The Banff World Film Festival kicked into gear Sunday with Canadian heritage minister Bev Oda handing out new public dollars for domestic new-media production.
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