From Disney to IPTV

Former head of the Disney empire, Michael Eisner, was in the vicinity last month and spoke to a local college. He described his new studio, Vuguru, and some of its projects. One of the most interesting items is a serial drama titled “Prom Queen“, comprising 80 episodes that last just 90 seconds each. The episodes are available on the Internet, including MySpace, YouTube, and the program’s own Web site.

Okay, there’s lots of IPTV content out there. One of the key questions is this: Is anybody watching? According to Eisner, on Saturday, April 21, 900,000 people watched one episode. That’s just a sniff short of a million. Okay, maybe that’s not much compared with the SuperBowl or American Idol, but it’s probably on a par with an NHL playoff game.

One of Eisner’s most interesting comments was about production costs. It apparently only cost about $200,000 to create each 90 second episode. Phew! That seems like a lot of money, but according to Eisner, some 30 second commercials can cost more than $2 million to produce. His point was that new technology has made it easy and affordable for people to create video content and distribute it over the Internet.

If Vuguru can make their sponsors happy with the success of “Prom Queen”, it could be an important stake in the ground for the new model of video production and distribution. As they used to say, “stay tuned“.