For a week in the middle of the winter, all the world's film geeks trundle off to the cold -- to screen, drink, and party their way through the annual pilgrimage know as Sundance. Historically, you had to be there to be in the know. But this year, for the first time -- web video is bridging the gap -- and a live video show will punch through the noise and give fans and a worldwide film audience a look inside Sundance.
The Sundance Institute is working with the firm Weber Shandwick to stream a daily, hourlong show on the Sundance Film Festival's channel on YouTube.
The show will be hosted by web video superstar Shira Lazar -- who's show What's Trending has been making waves and gathering a significant audience since its launch. Jimmy Conrad host of 'KickTV' and Casey Neistat will contribute to the live stream along with Lazar. The show will be produced live from the YouTube studios on Main Street in Park City, Utah. The series plans to offer interviews, film cips, and coverage of premiers, parties and panels. The show will be live-streamed from 1 to 2 p.m. Eastern here youtube.com/sff.
It's hard to imagine, but even as we binge-view series and have random access to video from channels and sources big and small -- the emergence of watching the same thing at the same time is rapidly becoming a central part of how consumers engage video. Community, as it turns out, matters.
And on television -- the same thing is proving to be true. Despite the prevalence of DVRs -- live event TV is on the rise. From awards shows like The Golden Globes and the American Music Awards, to the Sunday night lineup of hit shows from The Good Wife to Downton Abbey, audiences want to watch, tweet, and share in real time... together.
While mass media itself may be in danger of being atomized into a thousand little pieces, entertainment seems to be evolving into an experience that is best engaged in groups -- some small, some large, but together.
So, where does web video fit into this equation? It seems that the act of watching video together, even if you're in different time zones, is taking off. Far-flung friends are connecting on Skype, syncing up -- and pressing play. The experience gives the 'back-channel' chit chat of snarky texts and funny one-liners a whole new life.
Video is alive and well. And, it seems, connecting audiences in ways that we're just now seeing beginning to arrive. So, "Stay Tuned" might be a phrase yet again.