Can you imagine if everyone had a video camera in their house that piped images directly to broadcast television and people could do whatever they wanted and put it out there for anyone to see at any given moment?
Welcome to the Internet.
OK, that’s not news. I get that. The complete, utterly wide-open democracy of posting content on the Web is nothing we haven’t already debated ad-naseum. And then some more. The problem today is finding new ways to capture the attention of the surfer and present him or her with engaging content that makes the viewer want to stick around for a while or maybe come back later. That, in a nutshell, is the basic business model of any site on the Web, today.
Now there’s TalentDiscovery.com, a new, Colorado-based (and L.A., ’cause, well, that’s just the way entertainment works) enterprise carving out a place for itself on this basic model—with the understanding that pretty much everyone thinks they’re talented and just needs a place to showcase their abilities. Sure, there’s YouTube, but TalentDiscovery offers something a little different: access to real industry judges and a chance at a $100,000 prize…every six (or so) months. The current crop of Judges include Barry Katz (producer, Employee of the Month, Good Luck Chuck), video post-production company Therapy (Gnarls Barkley, Jennifer Lopez) and Helyn Taylor Casting (Anthony LaPaglia, Chris Noth, Debra Messing), to name a few.
It’s an interesting curve ball and the brain child of CEO Steve Stith, who has led massive organizations in companies like American Airlines and Coors.
“I was seeing amazing talent everywhere,” he says. “On Venice Beach, the subway in New York, on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. …Those who didn’t make the cut onto the talent shows on television. A few of them, in my opinion, were better than some of the ones that did make the cut. That’s when I thought, ‘We will give talent a new way to be seen. We will give them a new way to be discovered. They deserve it.’”
Perusing the current videos on the site across a slew of categories ranging from stand-up to lead guitar, it’s evident that there’s still some talent to be discovered out there…and a lot of other stuff. Is this really a viable business model, though?
“Revenue will come from two sources,” Stith says. “A nominal fee to enter your video, which is only $3.99. This will help pay for the encoding of the videos, the judging, administration, etc. And the second is advertisers.” At $4 a pop, there’s still a lot of inventory left to be filled though. Why should the aspiring performer (or film maker or video editor) bother?
“Would you rather post your talent video on other video sites with hundreds of millions of other videos…right alongside the ones of ‘Dogs chasing their tails’ and ‘Babies laughing’? Or would you rather have your talent seen by the professionals who can make a difference in your career?