in Web Issues

Are micro-chunks the next big thing?

CNN has a great article on micro-chunks, which are starting to take off in America. What are micro-chunks? Well, in short, they are short video clips and animation clips designed to be shared with friends and used as either a marketing tool or a way of making money.

So what makes micro-chunks (also spelt “microchunks”) different to say vlogs (video logging)? Well they are very similar to vlogs, except they are much more viral and can be e-mailed to, linked to, etc… Of course, micro-chunks have been around for ages under the guise of flash movies such as “All your base are belong to us” and Photoshop comics like the rather tasteless “Ate my balls” phenomena.

But unlike back then when broadband was expensive and pipelines were small, now media giants are learning how to use the latest broadband technologies to play the microchunk game –and they hope to start making a lot of money at it. It’s essentially “broadband entertainment”.

Quote from CNN Article;

“Comedy Central’s clip service, called MotherLoad, offers one take on how a microchunk business model might work. It’s entirely free, but it plays in a pop-up window alongside a giant ad. (Short commercials also play before some segments.) In operation for only a few months, MotherLoad makes Daily Show clips available the morning after they air; hot ones have been watched, e-mailed, and blogged about hundreds of thousands of times in subsequent days. Instead of coming to the network’s website twice a month, the average visitor now shows up three times a week. “The real revelation for us has been the demand for having the segments online very quickly,” says Beth Lewand, Comedy Central’s vice president for digital media.

Of course, microchunking requires a radical transformation in the way media companies do business. In the past, consumers were content with media bundles: bulky newspapers, full-length albums, three-hour prime-time TV lineups. A flurry of recent digital distribution deals, however, is all about unbundling. MTV Networks is reorganizing itself into two parts, one that focuses on short-form video and one for longer shows. ABC and NBC are selling Desperate Housewives and Law & Order episodes for $1.99 a pop to video iPod users. ABC’s news clips with ads are available free online and through iTunes. CBS and NBC are selling on-demand reruns for 99 cents via cable and satellite. America Online and Warner Bros. (both, like this magazine, owned by Time Warner) are streaming old shows like Welcome Back, Kotter for free, hoping to make money from the ads.”

It is certainly very interesting, especially with Google now moving towards and may even start charging for the service.