WHOLPHIN: A MAGAZINE OF SHORT FILMS

Literary Web Site McSweeney’s Tries New Format

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Every week MediaWorks’ Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: DVD “magazine” Wholphin.

WHAT IT IS: A DVD magazine, a quarterly collection of “video short films, foreign sitcoms and cinematic artifacts.” Its name, according to accompanying literature, is a cross between a whale and a dolphin. McSweeney’s, its publisher, was co-founded by Dave Eggers, author of “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.”

WHAT YOU GET: Issue One includes a Spike Jonze mini-documentary about Al Gore just before the climax of the 2000 presidential election, a Cold War film clip urging home maintenance to defend against nuclear blasts and, yes, a Turkish sitcom. A 24-page booklet provides details on the contents.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Pick an angle. The DVD magazine is another piece in the proliferation of media formats, which is splintering mass-media hegemony and adding to consumer choices. It is a new option and a new competitor for content creators of all kinds, including traditional magazine publishers, film producers and relatively small outfits with inspired visions or sought-after expertise to offer.

ADS? There aren’t any in Wholphin, but keep an eye on the space. “We’re entering an era when content providers, if that’s what we are, have to be very respectful of the viewer’s time,” said Brent Hoff, editor, curator and producer at Wholphin. But Mr. Hoff said he might consider ads if they were worth watching in and of themselves, like the Gap commercials directed by Spike Jonze.

COULDN’T THIS JUST BE DONE ONLINE? It could, but this way it has the tactile nature that magazine readers like and offers the pride of ownership that DVD buyers seek.

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