NowThis News, the recently launched video news site created by ex-HuffPo founders Eric Hippeau and Ken Lerer, opted for an old-fashioned approach to deliver election results on a new-fangled platform. As the tweets poured by at an impossible-to-follow rate, NowThis News stuck out with a very web 1.0 approach: ASCII art.
The NowThis site (formerly called Planet Daily) currently pulls in newsy video clips from sites like Twitter, Facebook and–most typically–Buzzfeed, another Lerer Ventures portfolio company. The company’s Twitter handle, @NowThisNews, is run by its social editor, Drake Martinet, who’s also an adjunct professor at Stanford. Mr. Martinet said that 90 percent of the video content on the site is produced by the NowThis team.
Did you know that silent films are now the most popular form of entertainment in America? No, not through some awful retro-hipster resurgent of Nickelodeans or Netflix’s repeated suggestion that we add Buster Keaton to our instant streaming queue. It’s the slow but steady growth of the animated GIF, an almost vestigal file type from the early internet era that has become the medium of choice for quick, viral communication of humor, sports and even art.
That’s according to Anil Dash, who did a little back of the envelope calculation based on Tumblr’s page views and the site’s GIF-happy users. If just one in 20 of the 180 million Tumblr posts a day contains an animated GIF, and you factor in all the other sources of GIF goodness like 4chan and B3ta, nearly 3.3 billion people will watch one of these short, silent animations each year.