“Sometimes in the arena you look really stupid.” a report from the Studio C fireside

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Note: don’t forget your Saturday deadline!

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It’s just down the 880 from me, but somehow I’ve never heard of the Silicon Valley Comic Con and so I didn’t know this was happening:

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And because I somehow finally managed to unsubscribe from the golf-for-MBAs-laden BYU Alumni email list, I didn’t know about this either:

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But Mormons morming as well as they do, I heard about both. And my kids were insanely excited to drive over to Temple Hill this evening to see their current favorite YouTubers. (This is a lie. Their actual favorites are these guys.)

I knew about Studio C when they were nascent, by which I mean I knew they grew out of Divine Comedy. But when I was at BYU, there were so many comedy troupes one tended to pick favorites and feel loyal. I picked Garrens because they were defunct and so cost me very little in time or money. And so, you know, screw Divine Comedy.

This disinterest was a bit embarrassing when I was at a movie-meeting-thingey and the biggest person in the room suggested Mallory of Studio C to play Ref. I . . . had no idea who they were talking about. After they flew me home, I watched all of Mallory I could on YouTube and agreed she should at least be auditioned. Then the whole thing fell apart la de la da and that was the last I thought about Studio C until Scott Sterling took the world by storm. My kids loved Scott Sterling and a month or two ago it occurred to them to watch more Studio C. Since then, it seems that’s all we watch together.

Anyway. 269 words and we still haven’t arrived in Oakland. Let’s go, shall we? Continue reading ““Sometimes in the arena you look really stupid.” a report from the Studio C fireside”

Mormon versions of Netflix, YouTube and (sort of) Itunes

Since the Internet began to take off in the mid 1990s, there have been many attempts by Mormon entrepreneurs to translate various e-commerce approaches into something that will work for the Mormon market. For example, back in 2004 I discussed Latter Day Tunes, an attempt at an online MP3 store for the Mormon market. It’s now defunct.

Three other ventures have started up over the last year, each a Mormon take on a very successful video content site. What’s interesting is how each of them reflects the two major difficulties of online LDS commerce: 1. The monetization and scale issues that all Internet businesses face 2. The difficulty of establishing the parameters of what a Mormon/LDS business should stock so that it doesn’t offend it’s audience, but also has enough selection to make it worthwhile to go there, but also doesn’t dilute the Mormon-ness of it.

Basic Model

1. The newest venture is called LDS Movie Rentals. It’s a Mormon version of Netflix. Subscribers pay a monthly fee to be mailed a DVD (or two). When they return the DVD, they get mailed another. At my last count, they had more than 180 titles.

2. The second newest venture is Mormon Web TV. It’s basically a YouTube aggregator. It takes YouTube videos that are Mormon-themed and embeds them in its own interface. In addition to tagging/categorizing the videos, the Mormon Web TV team highlight specific ones that they think are the most interesting/humorous/well-made, etc. and provides a sentence or two about the video and/or the people behind it (and often a link out for more information). It currently has 351 videos.

3. The oldest venture is is iShows2Go. It’s a download site for mobile content (or for watching on a laptop or desktop), an iTunes of sorts. It offers download of videos from content partners for a onetime fee (usually $1.99 to $10.99). Downloads are in iPod and WMA formats. For movies, it also provides a link to various online stores to buy the DVD. Continue reading “Mormon versions of Netflix, YouTube and (sort of) Itunes”