With the Internet poised to basically become offer millions more television stations, networks like VH1 have to fend off new competitors. But that also means we get to create cool new things. We have a slight ace in the hole, having the chance to leverage our television strength to help launch, incubate and sustain companion sites online. Hence the creation of the VH1 Linked Media Group, funded out of TV production dollars, with the task of creating properties that shine on-air and online. The gurus in this endeavor are Michael Hirschorn and Fred Graver.

The site that best exemplifies this potential is Best Week Ever's web site (bwe.tv) which airs some of the show's weekly segments but plays off the show's sensibility in unexpected ways. It's become one of the most popular celebrity-related websites; its podcasts consistently rank in the iTunes Store's Top 20; and in terms of pure eyeballs, the website traffic trumps TV viewership.

I'm old school when it comes to digital media (working at inside.com and many years of technology reporting) so I'm interested in this revolution anyhow! But getting the chance to help pitch and develop a few "linked" project has been a pretty cool opportunity (though as Fred jokes, it's also like a start-up with none of the upside.)


VH1EYECANDY.COM
 

 
There's an old news biz adage that says news outfits use only 10% of what they've collected and the viewer only sees 10% of what ends up getting used...so a 1% yield. We realized this too - 99% of the footage VH1 News collects no one ever sees!

But someone out there wants those unused Beyonce quotes and red carpet moments! So this idea germinated to where we not only combined the assets of VH1 News but with some outside partners, build a massive archive of 20 years of pop culture news, photos and video, where visitors can waste hours watching celebrity interviews and gawk at celebrity outfits...and even take those moments, make their own videos and slideshows and seed them on their own blogs or all over the web. Combine this with some existing fun VH1 material (like the wonderful songs and segments on Celebrity Eye Candy and our own VH1 News red carpet segments.

Conceptualizing and creating this site, we have been guided by Fred Wilson's four laws for the digital media future. It could represent a unique and distinct online presence for the whole of VH1, where celebrity footage is our commerce. And with "time spent" on websites becoming a vital metric of a website's success and so-dubbed remix culture growing as a dominant form of cultural expression, we hope this site will be well-poised as a web destination.

 
SAMPLE VH1EYECANDY.COM SLIDESHOW
   
SAMPLE VH1EYECANDY.COM VIDEO
 

SECOND PROJECT STILL IN STEALTH MODE - CHECK BACK IN SEPTEMBER