What a year it has been for Internet content. In January, it was like someone had found and removed the flaming sword, opening the gates of Eden to the masses. Now at year-end, Web entertainment providers look more like confused, panic-struck animals scurrying around Noah's place looking to hitch a ride. Let's take a look at what we've learned in 2000 about Internet entertainment. You can't pay big salaries to lure in big executives in the case of the first major dotcom disaster at DEN.com. You can be a big boy on the block and lose, like we saw with Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard's Pop.com and Stan Lee's Stan Lee Media. Offline deals with the likes of HBO can't make your Net business work as in the case of AntEye.com. And finally, the most important thing is that there is no fairy tale "happy ending" on the Internet. Web companies need to make money. They need to have a business plan. They need to be real companies. In the chill of the dawn of the new millennium, a good idea might have gotten you millions. But now - if you're lucky - you might get a pat on the back.
Companies, like Icebox, that boasted they were going to make programs unlike the crap on TV are now on their hands and knees begging for crossover deals. Even firms, like DotComix, Z.com and Eruptor, which have already signed high-profile deals with Hollywood talent and Hollywood production houses, are on shaky legs. In the name of profitability, the two biggest names in the Net - Shockwave and AtomFilms - have even joined forces. Is this the new trend for Internet success? And what about large corporate backed sites? Entertaindom looks okay. Disney is going to start pushing Disneyfied content over go.com in the New Year. Cyberspace is truly turning into the land of Davids and Goliaths. As the moderate-sized companies go under or are sucked up by the bigger ones, will there only be giants - easily seen by the public in front of the blinding light of branded trademarks and marketing dollars? Have big business steamrollers already stomped out the independent spirit that made the Internet so promising at the beginning of the year? I think it's the unfocused mid-sized sites with dreams of IPOs and Internet millionaires that will go the way of the Dodo. The corporate destinations will rule and smaller sites will be buried. However, it's the mouse-sized Davids that can never be stopped. Three guys and gals in a garage in Emmaus, Pennsylvania with desktop software and a great idea can still rule the space. Good word of mouth, strategic links on more trafficked sites and you can have your next Hamster Dance or Joe Cartoon. The true Web lesson of 2000 is you can't survive on the Internet if your dreams are far larger than your means!
Want to read in depth news about web animation in the year 2000? Check out the Business and Internet/Interactive sections of AWN's Headline News.
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