Where television ends and where viral videos begin gets harder to determine everyday. TV is using viral video to promote new television shows, while videos are about to be viewed the same way we watch regular television. This week saw the lines between TV and online videos become even blurrier thanks to Google, Oprah and the Muppets.
Google released sneak-peaks into its first retail product, a small receiver box for the much-hyped Google TV. Google TV is the latest in the company’s global media empire. Partnered with Dish Network, the box functions as a gateway to the Internet. Using a traditional remote, the box will pull up your favorite YouTube videos, including your custom-made playlist as well as your email, Facebook and Twitter accounts. The little box may not be much to look at, but the power it wields could open a new world for those looking to bridge the gap between television and the Internet. The exclusive pairing between Google and Dish is set to launch this fall; per usual, exact details on when and how much Google TV will cost are still as vague as every other upcoming Google product.
She may be saying goodbye to hosting daytime television, but Oprah Winfrey isn’t going away. Her OWN (that’s the Oprah Winfrey Network) is set to launch in 2012 so O already is on the hunt for the next TV superstar. Oprah made a video of her own asking viewers to send in audition tapes while America gets to vote. As with all things La Winfrey, some utter hysteria has already erupted over the contest, despite the fact that it isn’t even halfway over. Millions and millions of folks have voted and fan favorites are already established. Zach Anner‘s fans made a stink this week when his numbers dropped, citing a conspiracy to force him to lose. (Anner is a contender with cerebral palsy and a very funny audition video.) The Anner-maniacs have even said that people at OWN have intentionally sabotaged his numbers because “Oprah doesn’t like handicapped” people. Scary No. 1 fan behavior aside, it all proves the point that videos can sell everything. Even people we don’t know.
Lastly, online videos can bring old brands from television back to life. Jim Henson’s Muppets have experienced a bump in popularity over the last few years, thanks to a series of viral videos. The even has a new movie in the works. The latest video, a staring contest between Animal and the drummer from OK Go, is Muppet gold. And a reminder that the classics can live forever, thanks to viral video.