Golden Gut Guru Gets Gabcast Going

Back in April 2011, I asked whether YouTube was late to the party with their introduction of live video streaming, similar to what uStream, Stickam and others have offered. But no sooner did YouTube join that fray than another outfit decided to join in. True, in this Internet world, there can be room for more, and part of what distinguishes this newcomer from the others is that they are backed by people who have largely worked in ordinary TV, one of whom could be thought of as a “golden gut guru.”

Gabcast.tv, based in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, went into alpha testing [one step below beta, of course] on May 9, 2011. Now on the surface, they might be no different than the other companies I just named, but according to its Co-Founder and Chief Executive, Paul Wagner, Gabcast “want[s] to bring the creation process and the engagement process closer together,” as its pitch is all about helping any of its users “become a reality star on the next generation of TV.”

Mr. Wagner’s credits include everything from writing TV shows in Boston to his involvement with Will Ferrell’s ‘Funny or Die’ comedy website, while Gabcast’s other Co-Founder, Fred Silverman, was famous from his days in the 1960’s, ’70s and early ’80s as either a programming executive or overall head of each of the so-called “original 3” TV networks—first, CBS; then, ABC; and finally, NBC. He has worked as an independent TV producer in recent years.

Serving as advisers to Gabcast are two other legacy media veterans: Michael Eisner, who once programmed ABC television in the early 1970’s, only to end up running the company that bought ABC—Walt Disney Company—in the mid-1990’s; and Lloyd Braun, who was a TV programming executive at ABC in the early 2000’s.

Since Gabcast is in alpha testing, it remains to be seen how Gabcast will evolve. I can say, though, that they might have some potential to be another option in this vastly increasing Internet video landscape. Their setup includes channels grouped by category, as well as the usual array of text interactivity within each live webcast.

And while Gabcast leaves it up to viewers to decide what to watch, as well as to hosts to decide how to keep their programs as clean and safe as possible, their Community Guidelines do give them the choice of monitoring each webcast, and reserving the right to cut off any webcast for any reason, which, I would think, the others don’t quite do. Given who’s involved with this company, they want to, so they say, “ensure a safe and enjoyable experience” for their viewers. So if you want to give Gabcast a try, just be careful how you use it.

When Fred Silverman was leading ABC to the top of the overall network TV ratings for the first time in its history, during those pre-ESPN days of 1977, Time magazine’s article about him was also an appropriate nickname for his instincts: “The Man with the Golden Gut.” I find it interesting that, in his early ’70s, Mr. Silverman has taken those “golden gut” instincts of his and applied them to his involvement with, and co-founding of, Gabcast.

And now that Gabcast has become another option for people to try their own luck at doing live Internet video, do you think it’ll mean more opportunities? Whether you think so or not, I just hope that they, too, are not late to the party.