Last night I attended the launch party for the new web video channel “Lives with Meredith Vieira”. I previously posted about the channel when it premiered on YouTube.

Launch party for "Lives with Meredith Vieira".

Meredith Vieira, Sarah Bernard and Jessie Cantrell at the launch party for “Lives with Meredith Vieira”

I had the opportunity to speak with Vieira about her new project. Our conversation focused on the differences between working in new media and traditional media. This is a topic I hope to return to often in future posts.

I asked Vieira if she thought web video channels are the wave of the future and she told me, “I still love traditional media and I think it has a role. But I can’t ignore this anymore. I was really kind of being prehistoric about it and it’s there. And I’m meeting some women who have huge footprints in the internet world and I didn’t even know they existed.”

Meredith Vieira

Meredith Vieira

You can see the full conversation here. (My apologies for the less than stellar video. Hildy must fix this problem stat!)

I also spoke with Mary-Liz McDonald who is the Executive Producer overseeing “Lives”. McDonald started her career in traditional television and in recent years made the switch to digital. “I don’t think there has been a day in the last year and a half when I haven’t learned something new because the landscape is constantly changing”, she told me. ” There are new platforms and new devices and learning how to drive an audience to the content.”

Meredith Vieira and Mary-Liz McDonald, EP "Lives with Meredith Vieira" / photo: Luis Antonio Ruiz

Meredith Vieira and Mary-Liz McDonald, EP “Lives with Meredith Vieira” / photo: Luis Antonio Ruiz

McDonald says web video channels don’t have the same limitations as traditional broadcast channels. “There’s not a big price to admission in digital because you can fail. You can try things in digital and if it fails you can scrap it and move on partially because our costs are lower and partially because things can come and go in digital. It’s not programatic yet in the way I think broadcast television is.”

Hildyshub will continue watching where “Lives” is headed. As they say in the business, “Stay tuned!”.

 

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“I don’t believe at all the road you travel in life is straight. I think there’s constant deviations. There’s all these little side roads. And you can’t be afraid to go down the side road just because you think the straight roads are probably a little more secure . The side roads are where you find the most interesting things.” Meredith Vieira

As broadcast careers go Meredith Vieira seems to have something akin to nine lives. She has never boxed herself into one format. Over the course of her career she has been a local news reporter, a correspondent for “60 Minutes”, a panelist on “The View”, a game show host for “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”, and a co-anchor of the “Today” show.

Vieira’s latest project takes her outside traditional broadcast television into the world of web video. This week she launches a YouTube channel called “Lives with Meredith Vieira”. You can see her first segment below which is part of a series she calls “Overshare”.

Vieira has said about “Lives”:  “What I hope to do with this channel is give women a sense of community, a place they can go to learn about what other women have dealt with in their lives, and hopefully to leave feeling more connected and empowered.”

Future segments will give us a better idea of what “Lives” hopes to be.

The question is how many women will be willing to tune in? YouTube is more popular than ever with four billion hours of viewership a month, but it’s anyone’s guess how many of those people will choose to watch “Lives”.

A tech column in Time magazine earlier this year said the video sharing website is evolving beyond the popularity of bite-sized videos and that individual channels like Vieira’s are the wave of YouTube’s future.

Update / Sept. 11, 2013:

I have additional information about “Lives with Meredith Vieira” from Suncera Johnson who works on Digital PR for the channel. Johnson says “Overshares” will initially be programmed twice a month. The channel hopes to increase to weekly segments in 2014.

“Lives” also wants to make viewers a part of its programming. Johnson says the channel wants to share stories from viewers through user generated content including comments, tweets, posts and video. Vieira will be curating the submissions.

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