Saturday, March 08, 2014

New Media

Former Hanna-Barbera topkick Fred Seibert speaks.

... [Fred] Seibert, whose Frederator Studios operates the Cartoon Hangover YouTube channel, was just tapped by HLN — formerly Headline News — to create an animated news show, “I Can Haz News Toons.” This week he also signed a deal with British animator Simon Tofield, creator of Simon’s Cat — the second-most popular cartoon channel on YouTube — to handle advertising and distribution. ...

You’ve said this is a golden age of animation on the Internet. Explain.

Take Simon’s Cat as a really great example. As a producer, when a creative person comes in to me with a piece of animation in it with no dialogue whatsoever — it’s virtually a silent film from 1925 — I almost always say “no” without thinking. Simon didn’t make Simon’s Cat to make producers happy, though. What the Internet does is, it introduces all sorts of creative output that has no obviously-commercial value in the traditional marketplace. As soon as you bring in new creative people in droves, anywhere, the world changes. ...

Fred's certainly right about a changing world. In 2008, all the entertainment guilds were fighting for something called "new media", which was -- mainly -- live-action and animation delivered over the internet. Six years later, the world has been altered in a major way, because Netflix and Amazon are now buying and creating fresh content, and delivering it over the internet. No broadcast or cable networks are involved, just a lot of websites and computers.

These new players and delivery systems offer fresh opportunities for content creators, but the road ahead will be rocky. Wages and profit participation will be all over the map, and a lot of the work will need to be organized. Including some of Fred's.

But what I like about Mr. Seibert is, he doesn't b.s. He gives you his view of the universe straight, without top-spin or shading. I particularly liked how Fred ended this interview:

... When I was young I had a reputation — not a positive one — about being certain I was right all the time and being incredibly arrogant about it. Now I believe I’m right at any given moment, but history tells me that on a really good day, no matter what I’m saying is wrong eight out of 10 times. A bunch of things I said today will probably be proven wrong in the not-too-distant future.

Very few execs that I know about would 'fess up to being wrong 80% of the time. Mostly they tell you how totally right they are, 24/7.


Site Meter