Catching up with The Burg: Is There Hope for Hipsters?

A little over two years since NewTeeVee came online, we’re catching up with some veterans who’ve been working with the medium since before Google paid off YouTube’s VCs, Hulu was just a glint in News Corp. and NBC Universal’s eye and Apple hadn’t taken up their set-top box hobby. This is the second in a series by one of the original NewTeeVee writers, Jackson West. See also part 1: Chuck Olsen.

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Hipsters in bread lines — that’s what it’s come to in “Depression,” the very special Christmas episode of The Burg, the long-running web series produced by Dinosaur Diorama’s Kathleen Grace and Thom Woodley devoted to lovingly mocking the foibles of the young and hip in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The All-For-Nots (the faux Billyburg band featured in another eponymous production from Grace and Woodley) even pop in to spread some holiday cheer and drop some final product placement mentions. But it’s not all faux: When Paul (woodley) mentions Vuguru founder Micahel Eisner, Courtney (Kelli Giddish) asks, “Wait, you guys actually make money doing this?” And as unbelievable as it sounds, the answer is yes.

However, it’ll be a while before Grace and Woodley — or anyone on the show’s cast or crew — are in danger of becoming trustafarians. Street cred may have paid off, but it’s still no way to fund a 401k.

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Cisco: Professional Content, Not YouTube, Leads U.S. Online Video Boom

YouTube has almost become a synonym for online video in recent years, but professional online video platforms like Hulu.com are dominating YouTube’s dancing babies, according to a new Cisco (s CSCO) study. The company just announced the results of its Visual Networking Index Survey (PDF), which compared TV and online viewing habits in the U.S., China, Germany and Sweden. The survey finds that U.S. Internet users spend 2.5 times longer watching professional content as user-generated video clips on their PCs.

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Video viewing devices used by U.S. Internet users. Chart courtesy of Cisco.

These results should be music to the ears of Hulu’s management, but the survey also shows that content owners have to play catchup when it comes to licensing their catalogs for overseas audiences. Germans spend twice as much time on their PCs and laptops viewing user-generated videos as opposed to professional content, most likely because there just is no Hulu.de yet. However, Cisco and other devices makers still have some work left to do, as well:  Many Internet users around the world don’t seem to be too excited about the prospect of online video on their TVs.

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Whatever Happened To P2P Set-Top Boxes?

myka2008 was supposed to be the year when Internet video finally reached the living room, thanks to a whole bunch of set-top boxes. Part of that mix was supposed to be P2P, either in the form of distributed streaming, or good old BitTorrent downloads. Well, guess what: It hasn’t really happened — at least not on a large scale. Most of us still watch YouTube and Hulu on our laptops, and file-sharing continues to be almost exclusively PC-based.

So whatever happened to all those P2P set-top boxes that were supposed to revolutionize not only how we watch video, but also how those bits reach our living room? With the year coming to a close, we decided to check back, report about progress (and failures) and give an outlook for the fate of these boxes in 2009.

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Election-Themed Videos That Are Too Late to the Game

Tomorrow, no matter who wins the presidential election, there’s one group that will definitely be in a sad state — the intrepid content creators that have been putting out politically themed videos this week. So take a moment to mourn the online video filmmaker who produced a hilarious video while fighting off his Halloween hangover, because no matter how brilliant the concept, there’s an expiration date on America’s attention. Wednesday morning, we’ll wake up with a new America, and all of these videos will feel like old news.
But the fact that these videos are getting in just under the wire doesn’t mean they aren’t funny. Take, for example, Lando Calrissian for President, which is a hilarious mesh of Star Wars and American politics.
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The Ultimate Guide to Live Election Coverage

The interminable U.S. presidential campaign season will come finally come to an end tomorrow night. If you’re looking for a map with updating red and blue states (a tradition that dates back to NBC in the 1976 election, it turns out), we’ve got you covered. If you’re looking for more than that, we’ve got you covered, too.

Last week we wrote up some of the best places to watch election results online. Since we compiled that story, additional news outlets have finalized their plans of attack, and more people have pointed us to other great resources. [digg=http://digg.com/2008_us_elections/The_Ultimate_Guide_to_Live_Election_Coverage]
If you want to get your election news from a linear TV channel, that’s your call. But as Slate editor Joan Walsh told the New York Times, “At a time when almost anyone can check voter turnout in certain neighborhoods in Cuyahoga County, I don’t think everyone is going to sit there and wait to be spoon-fed the election results in the order Brian Williams thinks is appropriate.” So if you’re planning to set up a multiscreen command center, here are some sites to pull up:
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Pirate Bay Imposters Launch Streaming Video Site, Get Media Attention

A tipster this weekend told us about an upcoming streaming video web site by The Pirate Bay called The Pirate City. The site was apparently launched last week to commemorate the 30th birthday of one of the Pirate Bay’s admins, but was quickly pulled because “something went wrong,” and now features a note promising to return in a few days. A streaming media platform run by the Pirate Bay: That does sound like a good story. Too bad it wasn’t true.

At last check, The Pirate City’s was still down. Google’s cache is still showing a site featuring the Pirate Bay’s logo but also a web design completely different from all of the Pirate Bay’s prior projects, which tend to follow the Craig Newmark school of minimalism. To make matters worse, there are some signs indicating that the “tipster” may actually be involved in running The Pirate City.

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Amy Poehler to Star in Web Series for Girls

Hot on the heels of her skit with Tina Fey as Sarah Palin burning up the Internet, Amy Poehler will launch and star in a new web series for young girls. Smart Girls at the Party will be created and distributed through ON Networks and “celebrates young girls who are changing the world by being themselves,” according to a press release.

In each episode, Poehler will interview a girl with a unique talent, community interest or point of view, and the show promises to range from the funny to the serious. The first season of Smart Girls will kick off in October and will be shown on ON as well as syndicated to iTunes, Adobe Media Player and more. Though Poehler announced she’s leaving Saturday Night Live after the election, and she has her own sitcom in the works, its nice to see her creating a web series that’s a little different from what’s already out there.

Q&A With Cavalcade’s Seth MacFarlane

NewTeeVee has a video interview with Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, who’s launching his Internet series Cavalcade — which will be distributed through Google AdSense — today.

NewTeeVee Interview With Ashton Kutcher

I had a chance to sit down with Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg this morning, partners at Katalyst Media. The two launched their first web show, Blah Girls, an animated celebrity gossip series, at noon today following a presentation at the TechCrunch50 conference in San Francisco where Kutcher tried to combine, much as his TV program does, both the beauty and the geek.

Embedded below is the premiere episode of the show, along with a video of our interview, which covered topics like these:

Blah Girls will come out twice a week, most likely Monday and Thursday on BlahGirls.com, Yahoo, YouTube, and other partners
– Kutcher has never seen Arrested Development (he likes lower-brow humor)
– The challenge of making an animated (in other words, slow to produce) show about the fast-paced world of celebrity news
– What Kutcher watches online: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (though he didn’t quite get the name right), Funny or Die, YouTube, fantasy football stuff
– Kutcher’s impressions of paparazzi journalism and fair use

For me, the first episode didn’t kill, but at least it’s got a sense of humor. Besides, I absolutely love Arrested Development, though I have followed Beauty and the Geek too. Kutcher, of course, has an audience of his own, and said he’ll be promoting the site to his hundreds of thousands of MySpace friends…so that’s a start.