Bye Bye Wallstrip – where now for online video?

8 01 2009

It was a bit of a shock this week to discover that CBS has canned it pioneering online video show Wallstrip. In case you have never seen it Wallstrip was a fabulous weekly financial news show that tackled serious newsy topics but in a light-hearted and very engaging way. Both of its hosts Julie Alexandria and Lindsay Campbell were really quite superb and from a personal perspective it ranked alongside Viropop as my favourite weekly vidcast.

What’s even more shocking is that CBS is pulling the plug on a show that it actually paid a reputed $5 million for just over a year and a half ago. Bizarre.

CBS says it intends to take the spirit of the show and inject that into some of its other online video offerings. It has quite a sizable video portfolio now since spending a whopping $1.8 billion on buying Cnet last year.

The bad news for anyone in online video is that Wallstrip works in a high revenue ad sector – finance, 2 has a strong cult audience, 3, doesn’t seem especially expensive to produce. So if CBS can’t make the figures add up (and by all accounts Wallstrip was never profitable) then who can make online video work?

Well I still think indie producers are at an advantage here. CBS’s Wallstrip probably had some pretty hefty overheads – not the least of which was Ms Campbell’s salary. I am sure that if it was still in the indie sector chances are it would have been profitable, maybe not at the moment, but at some point in the not too distant future.

Nevertheless it seems tragic that what is arguably the flagship online vidcast (which had its million dollar price to prove it) is no more.