My expectation is that Techcrunch TV is going to work out well. I am somewhat surprised there is not more press around the launch, this being Techcrunch. There are a few blog posts on Techmeme only (and without commentary) and I dont see any main stream media mentions. I’ve noticed no matter how cool an online video play is, and no matter how ahead of the game it is, if it’s not YouTube and if there is no money being talked about, the press doesn’t really care. It’s a sad but relatively popular scenario. I’m assuming there must be some ad revenue deals underneath Techcrunch TV but it’s not apparent, and apparently there was no special launch sponsor that was rolled out with the programming, which I am surprised about too. If the headline included a budget price, a VC get, or even a launch sponsor, the press would have had more to say about it. After all, this is a very expensive kind of effort.
The network only hosts 40 minutes of live programming a day, but you can see where this is going. Obviously they will continue to add more and more shows into pre-fixed time slots. They’ll design new shows with regular spots, likely interrupt for breaking stories, and probably pitch the camera to experts spread-out around the world.
There is one major risk I foresee, and that is time vs. the marketplace. It’s the right time, and Techcrunch TV is getting in early which is a major win, but running a station with live programming for more than 40-minutes a day takes a lot of talent and a lot of talent takes a lot of money.
I foresee the need for significant investment to ramp this network up and that investment would be risky coming from Silicon Valley VC’s because it might take a much longer period of time to ramp up than anyone can predict. And you wouldn’t want to burn through too much, too quick. I think it can work without VC, based on the now maturing ad market and my guess is that the network will scale up in minutes over time at the rate they are able to garner more sponsorship funding.
One other challenge that is not so much of a risk is the interest people will have in watching the content. While I can imagine tuning in for those special breaking events, it’s going to be hard to commit the time to what is ultimately the most boring kind of content you can have on camera – talking heads. If you are a total geek for the people on camera, you may very well watch but wouldn’t you rather get the headline and read the story right quick on Techcrunch.com? On the other hand, look at YouTube – its filled with super-popular talking heads and this is just the beginning. As the network scales up, the possibilities for where to take the creative content in the future are limitless. Congrats to Techcrunch, this is a major win for everyone involved in online video.