Yesterday afternoon, while driving home from work I herd an interesting story on NPR that made me sit up and listen. You can read it here.
Michael Eisner, the former head honcho at Disney has started a new production company called Vuguru. Here is a description of the company straight from their website ...
Vuguru is a new media studio for Michael Eisner's The Tornante Company. The studio produces and distributes innovative story-driven content for current new media and emerging platforms
The company's current project is a series of fifty, 2 minute video clips based upon the prequel of an upcoming Robin Cook novel titled Foreign Body. Eisner's company is telling the story before the story so to speak. The NPR story focused on the merging of different medias, internet video and published literature.
My first reaction was excitement. Anything that promotes books and reading is a good thing, right? Now I'm more in the maybe category. According to the interview, Robin Cook thought the project would help bring not only new readers to his work but younger readers on top of that. And he may very well be right, but I'm thinking that will be the case only because of the novelty factor.
Later down the road will non-readers really seek out video clips of prequels and then get excited enough to go out and buy the book? Will these videos create readers or will they merely feed those of us who are already hungry for more of our favorite characters. And will this be just another hurdle for the little guy or the new guy? I'm betting Eisner doesn't produce one of these spots for a guy like me who has yet to find a literary agent or editor who recognizes sheer brilliance. (that's meant to be funny in case any agents or editors actually read this post)
Robin Cook basically invited the medical thriller genre and already has a huge fan base that will no doubt check out the clips, as would Evanovich fans wanting an early look at the next Stephanie Plum novel. King, Grisham, Clancy, Crusie, Weiner, Rowling, Irving. I could list lots of authors that could bring fans in droves to a early teaser. Eisner can bank on their appeal to draw hits and thus increase the cost of advertising on the site, but will this project or idea help the publishing business on the whole or increase the interest in reading thus helping all of us struggling writers. I have my doubts.
Using name brand authors I imagine the company will get enough hits to generate a good amount of ad revenue, but I don't see a great advantage for any author even the big hitters. My guess is most of the viewers will be those who would by Cook's novel anyway. It's like selling pollen to a bee.
Of course, if Mr. Eisner would like to prove how beneficial these videos are to authors, he could really show the world by taking an unknown author ... maybe a big hairy guy from Texas -- and produce a series on some yet to be discovered novel of modern day piracy and human immorality ... maybe one titled Plundered Booty -- and if that turned said author into an overnight sensation ... well, that would prove this idea's merit to the world.
Truly it would.
What do y'all think?