A couple of posts back I went through the idea that release windows would not just collapse but actually reverse. The idea is that video content should start at the lowest cost point of distribution and marketing and grow to breach the highest cost channels. In other words, something like a TV sitcom should start out as a pilot uploaded to every major video publishing service available (YouTube, Google Video, etc.) Those pilots that show promise should move on to syndication via DVD (with improvements suggested by the pilot audience). Broadcast television should follow and distribution to theaters should be a final destination. This is almost the exact opposite of how things work today.
But already we are starting to see this system emerge out of sheer necessity. ‘Nobody’s Watching’ is a pilot TV show that never made it past the pilot phase with the WB. The creators uploaded the thing to YouTube to see if viral growth could prove wrong the TV execs who shit canned the show. I watched the first part and it seemed pretty innovative and funny. Still not something I would probably watch on a regular basis, but still better than some of the other drivel I have seen on network TV lately.
But whether Nobody succeeds or not is irrelevant. It is a harbinger of things to come. And it won’t just be pilots that got cancelled that wind up on YouTube; YouTube (and others) will be a fixture of the pilot schedule from Day 1. The days when a few guys in suits made all the decisions about what everybody is going to like are numbered. And it will happen because gambling $100M on a show or movie based upon the opinions of a few guys (no matter how talented) is going to look more and more insane.