Not necessarily the evening news: RawVegas.tv aims for updates with edge

As broadband connections become commonplace, the amount of video watched on computers continues to grow, creating new opportunities for entertainment, news and making money.

RawVegas.tv (www.rawvegas.tv) is a perfect example of Internet video of the 21st century. It’s the opposite of Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow. It’s fun, edgy, unconventional and catching on like wildfire.

Steve "Chops" Preiss, president of RawVegas.tv, couldn’t be happier.

"We’re creating a blueprint with our Internet TV channel. We are so far ahead of the curve with what we’re doing right now," he said.

The site launched Jan. 19 with a daily three- to five-minute news update and eight or nine other original programs. Even with minimal promotion during the "first look" phase, site visitors watched more than 2.3 million videos.

Today, RawVegas.tv produces 23 different shows weekly, and traffic has soared; more than 3 million videos were viewed since March 20.

"We look at ourselves as a destination for people who want to experience Vegas," Preiss said. "They may be sitting in their cube in Ohio, but they can still experience Las Vegas."

Denise Pernula hosts the Raw Vegas Daily News, featuring short news items, fast-paced music and first-rate production qualities.

"We’re very fortunate to have Denise," Preiss said. "She’s fun, light and not too edgy. That’s not easy to deliver, but she does and amazing job."

He added that the site has no plans to mimic other Web video sites like YouTube, and include user-submitted videos.

"We’re focusing on our brand, and it’s a unique thing we’re doing. It’s all in our style and with our branding theme. We want to accurately reflect the city of Las Vegas," he said.

Other popular shows feature a local dance group, The Las Vegas Pin-Ups; a trio of sports betting shows — Prop Bets, Prop This and Wager Wars, featuring Chris Jordan, Brandon Lang, Lacey Jones and others. They cover everything from point spreads in real games to fun odds on who will win at "American Idol," "Dancing With the Stars" and who will get whacked on "The Sopranos."

"We have snackable content," Preiss said about the programming. "Even in a short amount of time we can communicate a lot of information. It’s a fun challenge for us."

Preiss said about 50 percent to 60 percent of the visitors to the site are from the Las Vegas and Henderson area, with the rest coming from New York; Chicago; Los Angeles; Atlanta; London; Calgary; Alberta; and Toronto. He has a staff of 15, including writers, producers, camera operators, on-screen talent and sales people.

There are no plans to charge people to watch the videos. Preiss said he is confident a strong advertising-supported business model will work.

Share your Internet story with me at agibes@reviewjournal.com.

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