From a post on the A Special Thing forum entitled AST VIDEO: boldly going where everyone else is already going:
Here's something new: aspecialthing is launching a video companion site! As part of the Independent Comedy Network (http://www.icn.tv), AST Video will feature original content, site-specific clips and the best of whatever you, the members of AST, create or find and deem view-worthy. Anyone who joins will be able to upload videos (existing YouTube and Google Video clips can be embedded), and the best stuff will be featured on the main page. The site also allows photo uploads, messaging, social networking and even widgets -- pretty much everything you've ever wanted in life.
More details about original AST content are on the way, but for now just know this: if you make a really funny pilot episode of a show that everyone loves, we will have the resources, through our partnership with ICN, to pay for the production of more episodes -- with the ultimate goal of launching series that can be sold to television or some other outlet. Since AST is already a place where comedians and comedy connoisseurs alike congregate, it's a great place to share your work and get it seen. The goal is to make AST Video not only a prime destination for great comedy, but a place where you can get paid to create it.
So AST and ICN join the big-dawg powerhouse comedy video sites of Superdeluxe, Funny Or Die, Comic Vs. Audience, College Humor, Comedy Central's Motherload and the recently launched UCB Comedy. Not to mention the blogs (including this one) that embed Youtube clips.
It's getting crowded, yet there's a lot of good stuff out there. And we've noticed a two-tier system. First, there's the common folks with a miniDV camera, iMovie and a dream. And then there are the established comedians doing short videos (sometimes commissioned) for visibility and possibly just the fun of it. And while the internet is supposed to be the great democratizer giving everyone's voice equal weight, the latter group, for the time being, are getting more attention. Will Ferrell's "Landlord" was hilarious, yet some of the 50 million hits must've been to see a bona fide movie star on the small, small screen at the mercy of bit rates and buffering.
But maybe that can change. As AST says, the goal is to launch series that can be sold to television and other outlets. So if it's funny, it plays. It's never that easy, quality doesn't always rise to the top, but we'll see what happens.
I guess what Bob Dylan sang about comedy in the 60s still holds true: "the times they are a-changin'"