Commentary

Metacafe Movies Tries to Channel Access Hollywood

Metacafe started years ago as a popular YouTube clone, but it has since veered into a more curated and editorially driven approach to video. The launch this week of Metacafe Movies underscores the evolution and is the first of several video verticals the company plans to release in coming months. While it still looks like a typical assemblage of trailers at present, Metacafe Movies promises a blend of Hollywood teasers for upcoming films, relevant movie-related content from around the Web, and exclusive original material.

They are partnering with studios to bring behind-the-scenes clips, special featurettes and even a 3D showcase. Metacafe has a dedicated editorial team in place, with a veteran of Netflix and another from Rotten Tomatoes filtering the content and aggregating movie-centric material.

Metacafe Movies is creating a series of content features like Metacafe Unfiltered (interviews) and MetaHD (Blu-ray release previews). In June, the Meta3D series will preview upcoming 3-D trailers (in 3-D, I gather). The site is trying to appeal to its young male audience with "Metacafe Redband," which shows "edgy" trailers of upcoming mature films and M-rated video game fare.

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I wish them luck. Movie studios continue to look for quality inventory with which to flood the Web every Thursday and Friday. But it seems to me the Metacafe Movie destination could look and feel more like a discrete movie entertainment space. I clicked into the Metacafe Movies links several times before accepting that the site felt more like a film trailer park than something new and different. None of the promised franchises were apparent. And if there was a curator present, his deft hand was apparent mainly in a single "Our Picks" section that pulled four cool clips from recent or upcoming movies.

I gather that Metacafe Movies will do well enough with its target market. The site boasts over 22,000 fans on Facebook already. But it would be nice to see the site learn something from the success of Roger Ebert's blog, AintItCoolNews or even TV entertainment news vehicles like Access Hollywood and ET. Get your Mary Hart on! A little personality, why don't ya? Ok, even if the refugees from Netflix and Rotten Tomatoes are doughy movie nerds -- all the better. Movie going isn't just a media consumption exercise that fills the coffers of Hollywood investors. It is a fan-driven experience that begs for like-minded hosts, not just curators.

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