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Bank Robbery Makes Hostage Rich!

Hostage Victim, Not Bank Robbers, Get the Money

The two Brooklyn teenagers that attempted to rob the Manhattan Ameribank last Wednesday took home no cash, but a bank hostage is quickly profiting from the event. Melissa Trinkle -- one of 17 hostages that was held at gunpoint for 4 hours during the attempted robbery -- captured video footage of the dramatic event via her cell phone. In the three days following the robbery, she has earned more than $7,500 from advertisements that accompany her video.

Trinkle used her Samsung video cell phone to record the bank robbery, and received offers for the footage as high as $10,000 from CNN, ABCNews and NBC. Trinkle declined, and chose to upload her footage to Revver.com, a company that gives video content owners 50% of the ad revenue generated from people clicking a single "ad frame" at the end of the video. More than 250,000 people watched the video in the days following the event, and 5 percent clicked an advertisement by Sony. The video is available at Revver.com, but more than 80 percent of the viewers watched Trinkle's video via Revver's broadcast partners Comcast-Google and Verizon-Blinkx.

Okay, so this is fiction.

But it's inspired by three real events. First, the study yesterday that announced that news is the biggest attraction for online video viewers. Second- do you remember the amateur video footage taken last fall from the inside of the JetBlue flight that had landing-gear probems? Compelling stuff. Third, while in NYC Tuesday waiting for a Google meeting, two of my colleagues and I browsed a Samsung showroom. We saw this Samsung video camera phone, and I would have spontaniously driven myself into further debt if they actually sold them there. Like people in Japan and Finland, many of us will be carrying videocameras embedded into our cell phones in the next 18 months.

Something like this bank robbery story will happen, of course. It is "citizen journalism" at its finest- we're all roving reporters with the video cell phones, and we won't stand to give away our exclusive video footage without upside potential directly tied to the number of people viewing it. No more selling footage to networks for a fixed amount and letting the networks profit if it becomes "hot."

More here at revverberation

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