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Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., ( a television company which executive produces programs and consults with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc. is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.

October 28, 2007

Reflections on emerging technologies…

After I finished doing my panel at the Wildlife Festival in Jackson
Hole, I was approached by a gentleman, Tom Veltre, who is an Adjunct
Professor at Fordham University in New York and he asked me if I would
be willing to come to his class. Of course I would. I love meeting
students; they are the bell weather of tomorrow.

Once upon a time, before the flood, I was a high school English teacher
and loved the classroom experience – the interchange between students
was almost always interesting, if not electrifying. I consider it a
privilege to be asked to go to a class and was delighted to do it. It
was a class in public relations and my contribution was to help them
understand the ramifications of the digital revolution we are

As Fordham is a high class school – I thought it would be interesting.
And it was. There was a group of seventeen students from all over the
world, mostly Asian and American with a soupcon of Europeans. All of
them were graduate students, many young working professionals who were
using evening classes to enhance their professional careers. Two of
them were producers for news organizations.

As often is the case, there was a bit of wanting to know how I happened
to have ended up in front of their class. We talked a little about the
webisodes I am helping produce for All those who know
what a webisode is, raise your hand.

Only one young lady in the back of the room acknowledged she had no
idea. So if there are any readers who don’t know: a webisode is a
short form program made specifically for broadband and without
intention for it to play anywhere but on the web. [This was why I got
a bit of notice at the Wildlife Film Festival; few realized any
original production was being done for the web; I seemed slightly
revolutionary for a middle aged man.]

I pointed out that some networks, particularly Comedy Central, were
utilizing the web to actually begin to pilot programs. If a good idea
got a goodly number of views on line, it might actually make it to a
television pilot. We had a good conversation about economics and the
fact, sometimes not thought about, that advertising is one of the great
supporters of programming. My friend Todd Broder, who is producing the
webisodes with me, just a got an order for sixty webisodes of The Burly
Sports Show for The webisodes are popular with the viewers
and so with the advertisers. And they’re very funny.

What did surprise me was that I was the only one in the room who knew
about as the folks I was addressing, not me, are the target
audience for

I talked with them about some of the new things that are coming; some
they knew about, others they hadn’t had time to discover. TokBox being
one. It’s a new software that is about to launch which it hopes will
revolutionize video communication via the web. While that capability
has been around for quite some, it has not become as ubiquitous as many
would like. TokBox says it can make it simple with the result they
will be the next YouTube.

There is a Mat Tombers place on Facebook and I update it regularly.
However, I know there are many utilizations I haven’t found yet because
I haven’t taken the time. However, it has become so important to so
many in so short a time that one marketing group is offering a seminar:
How to develop your Facebook strategy. Facebook is all about social
networking and it is important. Ballmer of Microsoft thinks it might
be a fad; Schmidt of Google thinks it is hugely important. I’m betting
with Google.

P&G gave us the soap opera, first on radio and then on television is
producing one just for the web. Each webisode is three minutes long
and aims to grab an audience that certainly isn’t watching daytime
soaps on television.

All this software is revolutionizing the way we connect. It’s a brave
new world out there and it’s almost Deadwood territory.