Youtube and its siblings have introduced the world to the 3 to 5 minute video and big media has noticed. Last week Sony announced they would start to produce 3 to 5 minute versions of old tv shows for the web. Some of the early shows will be TJ Hooker and Charlie's Angels.
Neither of these shows should have been 60 minutes in the first place, so I'm totally behind this. Sure, it's blatant money-grubbing but these shows will be fun to watch (assuming they're supported by advertising and don't cost money).
That being said, I'd rather see big media companies making original, well-produced minisodes. While there's some great comedy coming out of Acceptable TV and Super Deluxe, the production quality is (intentionally) low. I want to see something more.
The beauty of releasing content on the web is the lack of a programming schedule; shows don't have to fit into a grid. I see this as an opportunity to cut costs on critically acclaimed shows that didn't work with the traditional model, like Arrested Development. If the show had come back for a fourth season on the web, they could have done 30 ten minute episodes. This would have shaved costs significantly and their young viewer base would likely have followed (I know I would have).
It seems just a matter of time before big media tries something like this. Asynchronous content delivery allows for so many options and we're likely to see some great innovation over the next couple years. I have a feeling some of the riskier ideas out there might survive just a little bit longer.
Apperceptive recently added a new member to the team and she's already giving me great info. She's currently riding the PATH train to work and mentioned that they have these crazy flipbook style ads in the subways. As you pass by in the dark tunnel, there are a series of images pasted to the wall. Like a flip-book, the images in succession look like a movie. This video should give you a better idea of what I mean.
I have yet to see this in person but I'm completely awed by the concept. I might (gasp!) take a trip on the PATH just to check it out.
Update: I just found out that this was invented by Josh Spodek and the company he founded is Submedia. The sites have tons of info and some more videos. It turns out I have two friends who know Josh. Small world!