Halloween must be coming soon because the Internet heavyweights are dishing out a lot of eye candy.
- Google's YouTube is earmarking $100 million for original video, turning to major studios and celebrities including skateboarding legend Tony Hawk.
- AOL is rolling out 15 original Web series, according to tech blog GigaOM. Big studios and even Queen Latifah are involved in the project.
- IAC launched Jest.com on Sunday, a comedy video website aiming for a larger audience than its CollegeHumor stronghold. The site will sprinkle in original videos -- like a humorous Moneyball jab at the New York Yankees -- along with external content.
- Yahoo!'s partnership with Disney's
(NYSE: DIS)ABC News includes an exclusive slate of original online video programming.
Why are so many of the dot-com giants making a push for costly video productions when print content is cheaper, easier, and often easier to monetize in this keyword-rich realm?
The obvious impetus is the booming popularity of tablets, smartphones, and Web-tethered televisions. Seeing a story play out makes more sense than reading it through on those devices. The growing pace of online video consumption is also attracting more advertisers. Sponsors now have to earmark a greater chunk of their marketing dollars to reach these Web-savvy audiences.
Video is also a differentiator. Instead of competing with blogging hobbyists the way newspapers are these days to break news, an exclusive video series with decent production is something that can't easily be duplicated.
In other words, this isn't just the flavor of the week. Video will continue to become a larger component of online strategies. By the time you're done reading this article, I may already be a dinosaur.
If you want to track the online giants as they smile for the camera, add them to My Watchlist.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story except for Disney. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.