recently declared podcasting dead (or at least conceded the battle to Apple). But iPod's play video, remember, and video podcasting (or vidcasting, or vlogging -- pick your favorite term) is alive and well, and still a wide open space. Mostly when we think of online video, however, we think of amateur videographers talking into a webcam. Even some of the most well-known and respected video podcasts have a distinctly amateur feel too them. Diggnation and ScobleShow, which attract hordes of viewers for their content, are still mostly shot with hand held consumer/prosumer-level cameras, are obviously unscripted, and are often marred by low-quality audio.Valleywag
A new video podcast network, ON Networks has a killer combination that many video podcasts lack: quality and content. ONN boast a lineup of 8 shows ranging from "Zen Living," in which an attractive host guides viewers toward a healthier life, to "Raw Golf," which takes an indy band and films them at a golf lesson, to "Budget Health Nut," a cooking show that would feel at home on the Food Network.
As a former film student (one of my many discarded college majors), what immediately struck me about ONN was their high production values. The video is sharp and high quality, with impressive motion graphics, and very little of the noticeable background hum that plagues so many amateur online videos. Further, the onscreen talent in ONN productions is actually quite talented.
One of the best podcasts produced by ON Networks is the cooking show "Stump the Chef." The premise is that a professional chef is given 3 random ingredients and must then create a meal that pleases the palates of a panel of judges. If that sounds familiar, that's because the show has a feel very similar to "Iron Chef," complete with a pair of announcers providing a whispered, golf-style commentary speculating about what the chef is preparing. However, because of the show's polished presentation and the host's charisma, it is compelling entertainment.
ONN's shows, which range from 5-10 minutes in length, are packaged as nicely as they are produced. Their site features a slick, large-sized flash video player, RSS subscriptions, comments, and eventually the ability to embed clips on other pages.
There's no denying that video is very hot right now. But even the most well produced video podcasts, like the snarky news daily Rocketboom, have an amateurish feel (notice that audio echo?). Some people will certainly argue that this is part of their appel. However, I think that as with traditional blogging, eventually we'll see the rise of more professionally produced content that will turn the video podcasting into real business.
That's not to imply that Revision3 and PodTech aren't making any money. More accurately, I am pegging them as the first generation of podcasting business where quality of content matters more than quality of production. In the future, though, production values will begin to matter more because advertisers (and viewers) will have more choices. ON Networks, which produces some of the nicest video podcasts I have seen, and in non-tech areas to boot, may be the beginning of that trend.