Back in September 2005, Veoh Networks launched its fast-loading, user-friendly site to mounting praise. Within six weeks, Veoh had approved 10,000 videos for release on its network, spurring CEO Dmitry Shapiro to pronounce, “I believe that in the future, people will quit their jobs and start making a living by showing their videos on Veoh.” The video-hosting service has made a niche for itself subjecting all content to approval and allowing users to create somewhat personalized channels for regular series. And with people like Vuguru owner and former Disney CEO Michael Eisner on its board of directors, Veoh is bound to be a longstanding new media giant. Naturally, the next step for the site was to produce original content. And in November 2006, Veoh released Viral, a series about internet television. Producer and host Sunny Gault, formerly of Anchor in PJs, dishes out news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest and brightest in online video.
The weekly episodes, 5- to 10-minutes each, are shot in seasons. Each one finds Sunny, the show’s personable and knowledgeable host, interviewing video mavens behind shows like Ask a Ninja and The Strand. Above all else, the interviews are the main drive behind the show. Sunny gets involved with her guests, whether she’s animated alongside them or appearing with them in a ninja suit, and she has a knack for picking some of the most interesting and innovative sites in the industry to feature. Other segments include 5 Things You Don’t Know About (video creators divulge five surprising factoids about themselves), In-Focus (internet television news), and the occasional instructional lesson with tips and advice on creating online video programming. Most of the shows featured are ones that appear on Veoh, but that shouldn’t be a surprise since most shows appear on Veoh anyway. The professional quality and high production value of each brief, well-edited, and informative show make Viral must-see-online TV for any fan of entertainment on the web.
What could have been a normal interview with Jerry Zucker (writer, voice, and semiautobiographical star of It’s Jerrytime!) in Viral’s seventh episode turns into a full-blown animated visit into Jerry’s hallucinogenic world. Host Sunny Gault brings Jerry some Christmas cheer, sends him on a ridiculous grocery store quest for egg nog, and interviews him through the mouth of her own bobblehead caricature in Jerry’s living room. Not only is it a fun interview, but it’s also a great example of the potential innovations that online news shows can generate if they’re willing to experiment.