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Why the Web killed CD-ROMs.

Many now believe that Webcasting will be responsible for the premature demise of home video stores. And with digital video discs (DVDs) being viewed primarily as a sell-through medium for supermarkets, this doomsday vision may not be too far off.

The Web certainly may have accelerated the demise of CD-ROMs. In the August 1998 issue of NewMedia magazine, Gillian Newson and Eric Brown wondered "What Went Wrong?" with CD-ROMs. They were not the first. When Disney was beset by massive store returns of its The Lion King CD-ROM a few years ago, The New YorkTimes declared that CD-ROMs were dead.

CD-ROM titles are still on the market, the NewMedia article noted, but fewer interactive developers are on the job. Even though the technologies behind CD-ROMs and their successor, DVDs, have improved dramatically, a number of CD-ROM pioneers have moved on and now work primarily on Internet and TV projects. Of the many experimental artists who were at the forefront of the multimedia movement, few work on CD-ROMs anymore; they have switched to the Web.

Publishers still offer a variety of general-interest CD-ROM titles aimed at adults, but few are selling well. This is especially true of the reference works, which have found a more cost-effective home on the Web.

The blame for all this seems to lie at the doorstep of Hollywood. According to the NewMedia article, Hollywood marketing experts failed to realize that CD-ROMs lacked the staying power of movies. They let themselves fall into the hit movie mentality, spending millions on games that were doomed from the start. Today, even a badly designed movie site has a huge advantage over a CD-ROM.

The only redeeming element of this situation, in the opinion of the NewMedia journalists, is the fact that CD-ROM skills are highly transferable to online production.
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Title Annotation:World Wide Web; Webcasting
Publication:Video Age International
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Oct 1, 1998
Previous Article:Regulations.
Next Article:International Webcasters Association gears up.

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