Money: The Web Series
Monetization of online video has been an elusive goal for many publishers over the years. But if you really want to get close to the cash (and this may be as close to monetization as some startups will get) then you may try a unique government-funded set of video podcasts on, well, money. See your tax dollars at work at NewMoney.gov where an ongoing series of video spots illustrates and explains the process of creating the next generation of U.S. currency. The latest in the scintillating six-part mini-series "The Art of Banknote Design" explores how the new $100 banknote was developed to thwart counterfeiting and remain functional and easy to use at all of the ATMs and cash-eating machines that now populate the retail and banking world. Webisodes can get a little creepy - in that old industrial video way. Our host introduces himself only as "Hi, I am David." Even the superimposed tag IDs him only as "David."
We're not sure what "David's" story is (witness protection?), but kidding aside, the government-sponsored NewMoney.gov site is an elaborate and video rich example of our tax dollars at work supporting the online streaming media economy. And there are some good ideas at work in here. The project is at its best as an educational tool aimed at schoolchildren. There is an interactive game to design your own currency that introduces concepts of security design. Downloadable teaching materials include lesson plans, an interactive CD-ROM, and activity packs.
But our favorite part of the site from a video-lovers' perspective is the Interactive Video Quiz. Here questions about the materials a visitor just read are posed in video questions. The user answers in a multiple choice interface and the answers are given in video clips from employees of the various government agencies. One of the cool aspects of the online game is that it that the question set is not static. The quiz seems to change with every play. It is an engaging mash-up of informational, game and video assets.
Except of course for our ubiquitous host "Dave" who seem to be ever-present. What is up with that G-Man?