Hollywood Pros to Launch Online Video Site

When it debuts Tuesday on the Web, My Damn Channel will become the latest attempt by Hollywood professionals to cash in on the huge popularity of online video.

Comedian Harry Shearer, filmmaker David Wain and music producer Don Was, among others, also hope to find creative freedom seldom offered by traditional media companies.

The site is the brainchild of former MTV and CBS Radio executive Rob Barnett, who believes Internet audiences want to see professionally produced shows other than network TV fare.

"The old media companies don't know how to program for this medium," Barnett said. "There is a focus on reruns and outtakes, and I don't think that cuts it."

Shearer, who provides the voices for several characters on "The Simpsons" TV show, will produce a weekly political and pop-culture satire show for the site. Was, who has produced records for Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and Bonnie Raitt, will host a music interview show with actor Paul Reiser.

Wain, writer and director of the upcoming film "The Ten," starring Jessica Alba and Paul Rudd, will produce 10 comedy shorts.

Barnett points to the buzz created by the Will Ferrell video "The Landlord," which helped launch Ferrell's Web site, "FunnyorDie.com," as an example of video Web opportunities.

According to the site, the video has been viewed more than 40 million times.

My Damn Channel will syndicate its videos on other Internet sites and collect revenue from advertising. The site has already signed a distribution deal with YouTube, which is owned by Google Inc.

The site is backed by Okapi Venture Capital. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.

Source: AFP

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