88SLIDE.com: Video Blogging Goes Interactive

Posted on May 04, 2006 at 07:05 AM

Last week I received an email from Noah Bonnett, Executive Producer of 88SLIDE.com, asking me to check out his new trivia video blog. I was intrigued, as 88SLIDE.com is really unique to the video blogging world due to it's interactive format. Most vlogs or video podcasts (still not sure what to call them yet) are only one-way communication, like watching T.V. 88SLIDE.com is different because it gets the viewer involved with what's happening on the show.

If you're not familiar with 88SLIDE.com, here is a synopsis of the show: For just 60 seconds each day, host Rachel Smith presents the viewer with a multiple choice trivia question and asks them to either email or text message the correct answer. In return, 88SLIDE.com rewards one correct winning entry (randomly chosen from all correct entries submitted) with a prize of varying dollar amounts. Usually it's a $10 gift certificate but they have be known to give away an iPod or two.

The questions themselves aren't that difficult to answer, as spending no more than 15 seconds using Google will yield the correct answer. And at the end of each show the winner of the previous days' question is announced, so you have to "tune in" again to find out if you won.

Curious to know more about 88SLIDE.com, I sent Noah Bonnett a few questions in which he was gracious enough to respond.

Joe Schmidt: Where did you come up with the name 88SLIDE and does it have any specific meaning?

Noah Bonnett The name 88SLIDE is inspired by great up-tempo jazz music. With the standard 88 keys on a piano, a jazz musician can incorporate so much, while keeping the spirit of their music moving forward. The SLIDE is a reference to all of the graphics moving in and out throughout the minute, and how these 60 seconds move so quickly. 88SLIDE is all about movement; we're constantly in action like a jazz pianists hands.

J.S: 88SLIDE's format seems to be unique as I really couldn't find any other game show/trivia vlog's out there. Is 88SLIDE unique to the vlog world? If not, who do you see as your major competition?

N.B: 88SLIDE: The Daily One Minute Trivia Challenge has pioneered interactivity within video podcasting and vlogs. So many video podcasts and vlogs are one-way experiences; we've created a loyal and growing community by asking our audience to text or email their answers to us daily. When someone submits an answer, they return the next day to see what the correct answer is, and submit again, and visit the next day, etc…We’ve created a unique viewing cycle; our day-to-day audience retention is extremely high. I don't see other vloggers as competition per se; I see them on the same team. My competition is the major broadcast and cable networks.

J.S: How long does it take to film one episode? Do you film more than one a day? How many shows at any one time do you have "in the can"?

N.B: It takes about 30 minutes to tape one episode. We sometimes tape more than one a day, but it really depends on what’s coming up. We don't have so many in the can, as we like to be able to react to what’s going on in the world. We're able to develop and produce the ideas very quickly, which is one of our strengths. The biggest difference is cost and time. We can come up with an episode and literally be outside shooting in a matter of minutes, and distributing it a few hours later, for a fraction of the cost. We can produce one episode of 88SLIDE quicker and cheaper than an executive’s Beverly Hills power lunch. These media conglomerates are playing catch up now, and they haven't realized that you can't just take your half-hour or hour long television shows, edit them into 1-5 minutes, and call it a podcast. It simply doesn't work. We move super quick, and don’t have unnecessary layers in our production model.

J.S: I saw in your terms of service that prizes can range from $10-$4999.99. What is the biggest prize you've given away so far and are you planning to give anything major away in the future?

N.B: The biggest prize we’ve given away has been an iPod, and we’ve done this twice. We are currently talking to some wonderful sponsors who are interested in seriously upping the ante on the daily prize. It’s very, very exciting.

J.S: So far what is the most popular way people access 88SLIDE: a computer accessing 88SLIDE.com directly, iPod via iTunes, or mobile phone?

N.B: Most of our audience watches us through the Web site, and then through iTunes, and then via mobile phone. We are talking to a number of alternative distribution outlets about 88SLIDE. If there’s a screen, I want to be there! In your car, on your wristwatch, wherever...our one minute daily format is perfect for any type of screen...2 inch cell phone to 60 inch plasma...

J.S: Any futures plans for 88SLIDE you can share/discuss?

N.B: I’m currently developing follow-up properties to 88SLIDE. As for 88SLIDE, we're simply going to continue making great episodes and building our audience.

I think Noah has really hit on something big here as the format he's developed is quick and easy to digest by the viewer, can be viewed on many different devices, and it's an addictive form of entertainment, which will definitely keep the viewers coming back for more.

I was also interested to find that Noah doesn't see other video bloggers as competition but on the same team, as he considers mainstream TV shows the real competition. Getting people to tune into web and out of traditional TV shows will be the challenge for 88SLIDE.com and other video blogs like it.

To check it out for yourself go to 88SLIDE.com or click here to subscribe to the show's feed via iTunes.

I would be curious to know what you think about 88SLIDE.com, so feel free to leave a comment below.

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I tried to access the website at 6:32 PM CT on 5/4 and got the "Firefox can't find the server" error. Maybe you crashed their server with all the traffic your website has been sending their way!

Posted by: Lisa | May 4, 2006 06:35 PM

Seems to be working now....Love this thing...

You didn't mention the host was hot!!!!!

Posted by: Jeff in St. Louis | May 4, 2006 08:27 PM

I tried to access the site about 10 minutes after you last night and also found that it was down. (Though it was up about 15 minutes later.) While I would love to think that this blog generates enough traffic to take down another site, I've seen my logs and know that not to be the case. :)

Posted by: JoeSchmidt | May 5, 2006 11:37 AM

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