What do Paris Hilton, the Olympics, and "The Dark Knight" have in common?
Internet video -- along with the Olympics -- seems to be grabbing the spotlight this week. Front page newspaper articles, such as last Saturday's New York Times. describe how NBC's tape-delayed Olympics broadcast of the opening ceremonies was usurped by online postings, and NBC's efforts to stop these postings. (See Tape Delay by NBC Faces End Run by Online Fans.)
In Sunday's New York Times, an article about Time-Warner explains that part of their movie studio's success comes from thwarting online movie rip-offs, using tactics that included flooding movie-sharing web sites with fake versions of "The Dark Knight" to frustrate would-be illegal downloaders. (And the studio takes pride in the fact that a real illegal copy didn't appear online until a full 38-hours after its debut.)
On the political front last week we saw the debut of "Paris Hilton for President" -- a mock ad, responding to a McCain attack ad against Obama -- noteworthy here because it was released only on the Internet, not a dime spent on TV time, yet if you watch news in the U.S. you've probably seen it.
Four years ago, in the previous U.S. elections / Summer Olympics cycle, Internet video was still an oddity. Two years ago, this curious new development lost one U.S. Senator his job (after his ethnic slur was posted on YouTube), but Internet video was still a new thing the kids were doing. Now, as reflected by recent headlines, Internet video is mainstream, and as a threat it's taken quite seriously.