Back to the Future

TV shows like "Battlestar Gallactica" have made headlines recently for their Web-only episodes but the show getting accolades for Webisodes at OMMA is the long-defunct "Homicide." In 1994, Homicide launched "Second Shift," Web-only episodes that were online between broadcasts of the TV show. "It was just really, really genius," said Emil Rensing, vice president, programming, and founder of NextNewNetworks -- which describes itself as a "media company, creating micro-television networks over the internet for targeted communities." The 13-year-old "Homicide" wasn't the only effort to garner praise, but was perhaps the most surprising. "Battlestar Gallactica" itself also drew kudos for a new initiative to supply material that will enable online visitors to create "mash-ups." As the executives discussed past, present and future TV efforts to change with the times, Rensing reinterpreted MTV as the original user-generated content play -- analogizing the bands of the early 1980s to first populate the network with videos to "users." For the first 10 years or so of MTV's existence, the network ran nothing but the musician-supplied videos. "The value of that business," he said, "was all about the packaging."
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