Metacafe Teams With Bochco For Video Confessions Channel

Online video startup Metacafe is attempting to bring a little gravitas to the world of consumer-generated media with a video confessions channel created by Hollywood producer Steven Bochco that features short videos of twenty-something non-actors sharing highly personal experiences.

Sponsored by urban clothier American Apparel, the channel, Cafe Confidential, is targeting 18- to-30-year-olds. The unscripted confessions--about two minutes each--are also designed to encourage viewers to respond by posting their own video stories, thus growing Metacafe's community and content library.

Along with a producer rewards program--which pays video creators $5 for every 1,000 views of their video shorts--Metacafe is trying to separate itself from a crowded video-sharing market with a higher caliber of CGM.

Indeed, the company prides itself on its screening process -- also followed by rival Revver--which guarantees that all posted clips are screened by a panel of volunteers to prevent pirated, inappropriate, or just plain boring material. According to Metacafe, this process also makes its platform highly advertiser-friendly.

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"There's just too much content out there right now, and people are relying on us to manage it," said Allyson Campa, vice president of marketing for Metacafe.

While the process of consumers posting confessions online can happen organically, Metacafe and Bochco are trying to set a higher standard through intimate Q&A sessions with selected interviewees.

"Instead of dictating an entertainment experience, Hollywood can now have a dialogue with an online audience and transform the narrative in partnership with them," said Bochco.

Some ethics experts, however, have expressed concerns over media companies profiting from the highly personal admissions of young people who might not recognize the consequences of their actions.

"A lot of it is self-exploitation from a new generation who is very savvy about what's going on," said Ali Colon, an ethics professor at the Poynter Institute. "But this trend does have the potential to reach a level of exploitation we haven't seen before, and it's important for media outlets to take that into consideration."

Metacafe, which is paying the full production costs of Cafe Confidential, originally announced the content partnership with Bochco Media last November.

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