At NewTeeVee Live, a panel of venture capitalists that have backed online video startups like Veoh and Heavy.com talked about funding for the nascent market. Depending on who was talking, the outlook for VC investments varied from treacherous to less treacherous.
Entertainment-lawyer-turned-VC Dennis Miller of Spark Capital warned that there are already investors who are becoming “roadkill” and there will be more roadkill ahead. George Zachary of Charles River Ventures generally agreed that there aren’t a lot of Google-like opportunities in video now that will pay mega-dividends to early investors. Instead, Zachary thinks the money isn’t in the content but in the social networks that are built around content.
Mike Hirshland of Polaris Venture Partners was more optimistic about the possibility for at least a few companies to reach the critical mass needed to really take off — and to pay off for VCs who’ve taken a chance on them.
A couple of the panelists also offered a little friendly advice to a striking Hollywood writer who asked what the VCs thought about the writers’ demands for a bigger share of digital media residiuals. Hirshland’s suggestion: Put your writing online and try to make a go of it on your own. Miller added that writers should chastise advertisers who he says have talked a great game but have been the slowest to commit to buying ads in online video.