ManiaTV Celebrates One-Year Anniversary
"We have a 15,000 square-foot studio that we hook into their system and broadcast and run these things around the clock almost flawlessly," Massey continues. "VT allows everything from the switching of live cameras between CJs to managing the almost ten thousand pieces of content we have available on-demand."
For Massey, one key advantage of the VT Suite that it provides capabilities that at one time could only be found in expensive systems that relied heavily on dedicated hardware. "The cool thing about VT is that it’s just computer-based, so being able to use it is not reliant on buying a million dollar Avid system," says Massey. "It’s been incredibly helpful to us to keep our costs low and to power our system."
"The beauty of being on the Internet is that it’s completely interactive," Massey continues. "We tap into that by allowing our viewers to influence our network. They can participate in chat in real-time, they can go into the Webcam room and see other viewers at the same time, they can even make requests live over what videos we play on air." Massey goes on to recount a handful of times when they’ve actually pulled videos off the air at mid-run because viewers complained about them.
But ManiaTV isn’t only about live content. It also encompasses VoD, even if the company has a slightly different perspective on consumers’ demand for both live and on-demand content on the Web. "The live part of this is the really special part. We offer VoD just because there is a demand for it, but people will want both," he says. "It just so happens that more stuff on the TV box is viewed live and preprogrammed rather than on-demand. Everyone thinks that the Internet is the other way, with a larger emphasis placed on VoD content, but we think it’s both. Why did 52 million people tune into the live Friends finale when most if not all of them have VCRs or DVRs? They do it because they feel like they’re part of a community that’s built up around content."
While ManiaTV goes so far as to include TV in its name and URL, that doesn’t mean that there are any plans for extending the ManiaTV network to traditional TV sets. "Our whole viewpoint is that the TV’s dead. If you talk to anyone born after the Thriller era, the computer is where they spend all of their time. We consider the platform of the future to be the computer," says Massey. "We’re not going to be replacing TV overnight, but we’re not spending our efforts on (traditional) TV. We’re all about the junkies that are online. And to them, it’s more than just a media platform, it’s their culture."