I’m speaking at a panel this Wednesday at the Third Screen Film Festival, but a lot of the e-mails going back and forth among the speakers and moderator are talking about online video — the “second” screen. I usually hear of the “third screen” as mobile and even conversations about a “fourth screen” (video, out-of-home video, car, and other ever-present screens).

I shot some random thoughts on both the “second” and “third” screen out to my fellow panelists yesterday and thought I might share some of them here.

  1. Two of the live-action half hours for kids that I produced — How2Kids.com and iKidTools.com — are making a nice little sum each month now with a healthy CPM (cost per thousand) and revenue split with Blinkx, who is syndicating them around the web. The viewing numbers and money are going up each month. I’m about to launch my third Blinkx channel with Click2Discover (on local cable), a show on Internet exploration for older adults.
  2. Demand Media is making money on live-action videos by second guessing what Google search is telling them about what people are interested in. On-demand non-fiction storytelling.
  3. One of the questions for this event is how to get seen by Hollywood Gatekeeprs. I’m not sure why being seen by Hollywood Gatekeepers is important in the age ahead. Getting seen by sponsors who will fund you and by niche audience who will love you – more important.
  4. Through Sarah Szalavitz‘ Delicious Digital Brunches, I’ve met very interesting people making a nice little living making online video who have turned down offers from cable and TV networks for their shows, who keep asking them “where do you get your audiences”?
  5. I adored Dr. Horrible (2008) and am one of those folks who contacted everyone I knew that it was coming out…but I didn’t buy the album…and only memorized some of the lyrics. The sequel and an upcoming production studio make this more interesting….but here’s someone with street cred, not a newbie…
  6. Sanctuary is one interesting example of jumping the fence from short-form broadband (8 webisodes in 2007) to Sci-Fi/Syfy, but it did have the Stargate SG-1 escapees with street cred and the benefits of a Vancouver shooting environment…and CGI, shooting cheaply with the RED camera, etc.
  7. The Guild is another interesting example (http://www.watchtheguild.com)(recent Wall Street Journal article link), including the Sprint deal on MSN, Zune, and Xbox Live (Gold & Silver) (second, third, and fourth screens!) and Felicia owning her on IP in the Microsoft deal (and Microsoft even writing it up as a case study).
  8. …and lots of sponsored storytelling in the news recently (NYT piece on the Disney Online/Clorox show plus others — and the rebuttal mentioning Ctrl (http://www.nbc.com/ctrl) and Gemini Division.
  9. But most of this is “second screen” — except The Guild’s migrations onto screens 3 and 4. Regarding that mobile third screen and storytelling – what is working on mobile video so far? Short-form comedy has gotten some traction, along with sports and immediate info (weather, news)….we’ve tinkered with soap opera formats and storytelling like that since at least the mid ‘00’s… but how will that supercharge with all these Smartphones and app stores?