While claims like the one on ManiaTV!’s about us page about being “the world’s first internet-based television network” should always be observed with wary hesitation, it is worth noting that ManiaTV!’s innovative approach to the internet-based television network is more YouTube than CBS. Drew Massey, founder of the ‘90s young male magazine P.O.V., has been orchestrating the site’s interactive programming since early 2005 (back when that orchestration took place in a converted school bus). Originally devoted to a college demographic, the initial focus on music videos, celebrity gossip, and film clips has expanded into a catch-all entertainment outlet.
This youth-oriented, 24/7, freeform network brings new meaning to the term “multi-channel.” With thousands of user-created channels that each uniquely reconfigure a warehouse of original programming, acquired clips, and user uploads, there should be no way to ever be bored on this site. The problem is that like most user intensive sites, the quality and selection is poor. Most of those thousands of channels include clips cribbed from Saturday Night Live, mildly pornographic commercials, music videos, and other such material normally reserved for YouTube.
With the exception of Tom Green Live!, the original content produced for LiveTV! is low-budget in a way that’s very reminiscent of MTV in its early days. Live programs feature cyber jockeys who receive instant messages during their shows for viewer requests. Which seems pointless since all of the content available to be played on LiveTV! is also available to be watched at your leisure using the ManiaTV! search engine, which differentiates results by vids that are featured, most relevant, most viewed, top rated, most discussed, newest, freshest, and displayed at random.