Monthly Archives: October 2011

5 Tips For New YouTube Channel Partners

anklebite

HOW TO BE A BIG MAN ON CAMPUS!

Now that the worst kept secret in the industry is out, let me be the first to welcome the 2012 incoming freshman class of channel partners to the YouTube U. Hi Tony! Hey there Chris. Looking good Ashton!

As the sixth-biggest network on YouTube (per comScore), here at Revision3 we’re excited to have you traditional media folks on board. However, let me give you some words of advice. Despite your official anointment, it’s not like high school but with better drugs. YouTube is different. So let me be the unofficial Orientation Coordinator and give you 5 key tips to help you be successful with your new venture.

BEWARE THE UPPER CLASSMEN: You may think you’re the bee’s knees, but here at YouTube we’ve already got a strong group of stars that drive more views, comments and engagement than you’ve probably ever experienced. If you want to build your audience, you’ll need to play nice with them. Ignore them and they’ll ignore you, but if you treat them wrong, watch out. Hell hath no fury like an iJustine scorned, FPS Russia and RatedRR have a line on some *serious* ordnance and those Shaytards are a mean little band of ankle-biters. Oh, and don’t go messing with Harley Morenstein, or you’ll likely end up with a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey inside a pig inside your bed.

IGNORE THE COMMUNITY AT YOUR PERIL: Sure, in the old media it was all about making the video. Once it was out there, your work was done. But that’s not how it works here – homework is more than half the grade. If you really want to be successful, you’ll need to spend some serious time engaging with your audience. The biggest stars on YouTube know that once the video is released, the work has just started. They spend 40% or more of their time interacting with their fans, commenting, rating and curating their community. Oh, and don’t expect your assistant who writes your tweets to be able to step in here. The community can spot a fake a mile away.

THE ALGORITHM RULES: Sure, the YouTube guys may have promised you the moon. Just don’t expect them to promote your channel much. Yeah, you might get an occasional editorial mention, but YouTube is a mathematically-driven meritocracy. The brainiacs over in the engineering school are the real power behind the Dean– and their formulas will dictate whether your episodes are promoted, related and integrated into the viewing flow. So you’d better spend some time understanding how that selection process actually works.

PUBLISH OR PERISH: In the old world, shows were grouped in seasons, and they would come and go based on 13 and 26-week groups. It doesn’t work that way here. You’ve got to feed the content monster on a regular basis, or it’ll just go feed somewhere else and forget about you. Get a schedule down, stick to it, and don’t stop for anything. Yes, it’s a habitrail, but take your cues from the top hamsters, and don’t stop runnin’ for ‘nuthin.

YOUR VIEWS DON’T MATTER: Sure, you were the Big Man on Campus at high school, but here at YouTube U, you’re just another frosh. In fact, YouTube doesn’t really even need your video views. Heck, half of all the videos viewed on the internet happen there already. Nope, the reason the company is lavishing cash on you is because it needs your name to confer legitimacy. You’re the "halo car" equivalent of Chevrolet’s Corvette. Guys go to the showroom to ogle the muscle-car, but end up driving off in an Impala. And in the end that’s what advertisers will do too. They’ll ooooh and aaaah over your videos, but then they’ll end up buying the vast array of brand-safe video from unknown hosts that have already built huge communities. You’re a tease, not the main course.

But with all that said, we’re really happy you’re here. And if we can help with advice, collaborations, or directions to the bathroom, don’t hesitate to ask. Because now that you’re here on campus, the party can really get started!

5 Tips For New YouTube Channel Partners

anklebite

HOW TO BE A BIG MAN ON CAMPUS!

Now that the worst kept secret in the industry is out, let me be the first to welcome the 2012 incoming freshman class of channel partners to the YouTube U. Hi Tony! Hey there Chris. Looking good Ashton!

As the sixth-biggest network on YouTube (per comScore), here at Revision3 we’re excited to have you traditional media folks on board. However, let me give you some words of advice. Despite your official anointment, it’s not like high school but with better drugs. YouTube is different. So let me be the unofficial Orientation Coordinator and give you 5 key tips to help you be successful with your new venture.

BEWARE THE UPPER CLASSMEN: You may think you’re the bee’s knees, but here at YouTube we’ve already got a strong group of stars that drive more views, comments and engagement than you’ve probably ever experienced. If you want to build your audience, you’ll need to play nice with them. Ignore them and they’ll ignore you, but if you treat them wrong, watch out. Hell hath no fury like an iJustine scorned, FPS Russia and RatedRR have a line on some *serious* ordnance and those Shaytards are a mean little band of ankle-biters. Oh, and don’t go messing with Harley Morenstein, or you’ll likely end up with a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey inside a pig inside your bed.

IGNORE THE COMMUNITY AT YOUR PERIL: Sure, in the old media it was all about making the video. Once it was out there, your work was done. But that’s not how it works here – homework is more than half the grade. If you really want to be successful, you’ll need to spend some serious time engaging with your audience. The biggest stars on YouTube know that once the video is released, the work has just started. They spend 40% or more of their time interacting with their fans, commenting, rating and curating their community. Oh, and don’t expect your assistant who writes your tweets to be able to step in here. The community can spot a fake a mile away.

THE ALGORITHM RULES: Sure, the YouTube guys may have promised you the moon. Just don’t expect them to promote your channel much. Yeah, you might get an occasional editorial mention, but YouTube is a mathematically-driven meritocracy. The brainiacs over in the engineering school are the real power behind the Dean– and their formulas will dictate whether your episodes are promoted, related and integrated into the viewing flow. So you’d better spend some time understanding how that selection process actually works.

PUBLISH OR PERISH: In the old world, shows were grouped in seasons, and they would come and go based on 13 and 26-week groups. It doesn’t work that way here. You’ve got to feed the content monster on a regular basis, or it’ll just go feed somewhere else and forget about you. Get a schedule down, stick to it, and don’t stop for anything. Yes, it’s a habitrail, but take your cues from the top hamsters, and don’t stop runnin’ for ‘nuthin.

YOUR VIEWS DON’T MATTER: Sure, you were the Big Man on Campus at high school, but here at YouTube U, you’re just another frosh. In fact, YouTube doesn’t really even need your video views. Heck, half of all the videos viewed on the internet happen there already. Nope, the reason the company is lavishing cash on you is because it needs your name to confer legitimacy. You’re the "halo car" equivalent of Chevrolet’s Corvette. Guys go to the showroom to ogle the muscle-car, but end up driving off in an Impala. And in the end that’s what advertisers will do too. They’ll ooooh and aaaah over your videos, but then they’ll end up buying the vast array of brand-safe video from unknown hosts that have already built huge communities. You’re a tease, not the main course.

But with all that said, we’re really happy you’re here. And if we can help with advice, collaborations, or directions to the bathroom, don’t hesitate to ask. Because now that you’re here on campus, the party can really get started!

5 Tips For New YouTube Channel Partners

anklebite

HOW TO BE A BIG MAN ON CAMPUS!

Now that the worst kept secret in the industry is out, let me be the first to welcome the 2012 incoming freshman class of channel partners to the YouTube U. Hi Tony! Hey there Chris. Looking good Ashton!

As the sixth-biggest network on YouTube (per comScore), here at Revision3 we’re excited to have you traditional media folks on board. However, let me give you some words of advice. Despite your official anointment, it’s not like high school but with better drugs. YouTube is different. So let me be the unofficial Orientation Coordinator and give you 5 key tips to help you be successful with your new venture.

BEWARE THE UPPER CLASSMEN: You may think you’re the bee’s knees, but here at YouTube we’ve already got a strong group of stars that drive more views, comments and engagement than you’ve probably ever experienced. If you want to build your audience, you’ll need to play nice with them. Ignore them and they’ll ignore you, but if you treat them wrong, watch out. Hell hath no fury like an iJustine scorned, FPS Russia and RatedRR have a line on some *serious* ordnance and those Shaytards are a mean little band of ankle-biters. Oh, and don’t go messing with Harley Morenstein, or you’ll likely end up with a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey inside a pig inside your bed.

IGNORE THE COMMUNITY AT YOUR PERIL: Sure, in the old media it was all about making the video. Once it was out there, your work was done. But that’s not how it works here – homework is more than half the grade. If you really want to be successful, you’ll need to spend some serious time engaging with your audience. The biggest stars on YouTube know that once the video is released, the work has just started. They spend 40% or more of their time interacting with their fans, commenting, rating and curating their community. Oh, and don’t expect your assistant who writes your tweets to be able to step in here. The community can spot a fake a mile away.

THE ALGORITHM RULES: Sure, the YouTube guys may have promised you the moon. Just don’t expect them to promote your channel much. Yeah, you might get an occasional editorial mention, but YouTube is a mathematically-driven meritocracy. The brainiacs over in the engineering school are the real power behind the Dean– and their formulas will dictate whether your episodes are promoted, related and integrated into the viewing flow. So you’d better spend some time understanding how that selection process actually works.

PUBLISH OR PERISH: In the old world, shows were grouped in seasons, and they would come and go based on 13 and 26-week groups. It doesn’t work that way here. You’ve got to feed the content monster on a regular basis, or it’ll just go feed somewhere else and forget about you. Get a schedule down, stick to it, and don’t stop for anything. Yes, it’s a habitrail, but take your cues from the top hamsters, and don’t stop runnin’ for ‘nuthin.

YOUR VIEWS DON’T MATTER: Sure, you were the Big Man on Campus at high school, but here at YouTube U, you’re just another frosh. In fact, YouTube doesn’t really even need your video views. Heck, half of all the videos viewed on the internet happen there already. Nope, the reason the company is lavishing cash on you is because it needs your name to confer legitimacy. You’re the "halo car" equivalent of Chevrolet’s Corvette. Guys go to the showroom to ogle the muscle-car, but end up driving off in an Impala. And in the end that’s what advertisers will do too. They’ll ooooh and aaaah over your videos, but then they’ll end up buying the vast array of brand-safe video from unknown hosts that have already built huge communities. You’re a tease, not the main course.

But with all that said, we’re really happy you’re here. And if we can help with advice, collaborations, or directions to the bathroom, don’t hesitate to ask. Because now that you’re here on campus, the party can really get started!

Why Transmedia Needs to Cast Me as the Hero of My Own Story!

heroWhen I was young and couldn’t sleep (mostly on Christmas Eve), I would imagine myself solving mysteries with my favorite characters from The Bobbsey Twins, or flying to Mars with Tom Swift to save the earth from aliens. My young imagination would have me trading clues with Bert and Flossie, donning a spacesuit with Tom, or (as I turned 13) canoodling with Nan.

I’m reminded of my prior fantasies by the current trend towards transmedia, or using multiple media to help make stories and characters more engaging and more immersive. Many in the entertainment industry see transmedia as the next big thing. Why not, the thinking goes, engage audiences across film, web, print and the real world to enable the audience to not just connect, but to actually become a participant in the Iron Man universe, or a bit player in Game of Thrones.

The WB is launching a new show, Aim High, designed to do just that. Connect with the show on Facebook, and your photo could become part of the show – and perhaps even one of the protaganist’s “64 highly trained teenage operatives” as well. In its day Lost did a great job of developing fictional company websites to enhance the story, and EQAL’s efforts with LonelyGirl and Harper’s Globe were similarly extensive and engaging.

It sounds great, but let’s face it – this sort of participatory media is nothing new. Truly immersive, cross-media story telling has been around at least since the first time an audience member tossed a tomato at a poorly prepared thespian.

And with video games, anyone who really wants to become part of the story has had thousands of options available. Want to be a sword-wielding hero and save a “Game of Thrones”-style world? Nintendo’s Zelda franchise, “So You Want to Be A Hero” from Sierra, the Elder Scrolls games from Bethesda and Peter Moyneux’s awesome Fable trilogy all put you at the center of that story. Rather be a lecherous lunatic, or an underworld tycoon? Leisure Suit Larry and Grand Theft Auto provide many ways to sate those urges.

Transmedia promises to combine linear and interactive storytelling – to tell a great story and make you a part of it. Unfortunately that’s happened all too infrequently. Most video games adapted from popular movies stink, while movies from video games – apart from fanflicks like Dan Trachtenberg’s Portal homage – are equally odiferous.

Even so, fans of these franchises have been more than happy to take matters into their own hands. Visit any comic-book convention and you’ll see men and women dressed up as Link or the Princess Zelda, or as Tony Stark’s Iron Man. But this sort of comstumery is hardly mainstream. Step too far out of a gathering of like-minded enthusiasts and you’ll end up being visited by the local constabulary, or worse. William Falkingham, presumably a fan of the classic Jimmy Stewart film “Harvey” found this out the hard way in his home town of Idaho Falls.

But the problem with most transmedia isn’t that it requires an unhealthy obsession with fake fur. No, it’s because most fan participation ends up as the interactive equivalent of a walk-on part. That might be fun the first time, but not forever.

Why? Because we’re all the heroes of our own movie, our own story. We don’t want to be Chauncey Gardner, we want to be Ned Stark. We don’t want to watch, we want to save the world and end up in bed with Pepper Pots (well, at least I do).

Sure, if you really like a story, you’ll happily consume more content around the story on the web, or other complementary media. But the ultimate goal of transmedia is total immersion in a story, and for that it needs to make you the protagonist – or villain – of the story, not just a passing observer.

Expect to hear a lot about transmedia over the coming years, but until you can insert each individual audience member into the center of the narrative, it’ll simply be a more socially acceptable form of cosplay – and will be consumed by just 2% of the audience – the biggest fans.

If I want to live inside a “Game of Thrones” style world today, I’ll play through Peter Molyneux’s excellent Fable trilogy, or reread the books. But I can’t wait for the day when I can actually be Lord Eddard Stark (well, at least until he gets his head chopped off).

The TV WAR of the Century

“There’s battle lines being drawn.
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.
Young people speaking their minds,
Getting so much resistance from behind…”

- Buffalo Springfield

tvwar2We’re in the middle of a yet another huge platform war for future of internet video and TV. There are four players with different and often opposing viewpoints, each with a shot at success. The story over the next three years will be which one will provide a winning service to enable viewing across every glowing rectangle in our lives – from the smallest smart phones to the biggest smart TV. Below are the four platforms, ranked by my own current likelihood of their success – along with some of the interesting quirks and challenges that remain.

GOOGLE: With Android, Google TV and YouTube, Google wants to be everywhere. Android already leads the smart phone race, with 550,000 devices activated every day. They’re trailing in the tablet space, although sales figures compared to the iPad are eerily similar to the early days of Android phones. And even though GoogleTV has been a flop, the company is angling to have Android become the dominant operating system for Smart TVs – with GoogleTV coming along for the ride. That market’s wide open, as Yahoo’s early efforts falter, and none of the other contenders (Flingo, Boxee) separating themselves from the pack. And with YouTube providing a unique and desirable library of content, Google has a lever to use to aid adoption. To date, however, Google has opted for Youtube ubiquity vs. scarcity – and I don’t see that changing.

Speaking of GoogleTV, the next version (due out real soon now) should make it easier to navigate, discover and consume video. They’ve already taken a big step forward by embracing the Android marketplace, and allowing a wide variety of apps to load-in and be useful. I’m hoping that they take less of a one-size-fits-all approach, and focus more on integrating the web video into the already-existing TV experience in most people’s homes. And they better make it work with a standard remote control – only the geeks want a full-on keyboard in their living room. Finally, they need to bring the cost down to $99 or less – and focus on AppleTV and Roku, not the “TV PC”.

APPLE: The company currently has a dominant position in tablets, and owns significant smartphone mindshare and marketshare. AppleTV to date has been disappointing. The company has sold millions of the set top box, but as the smarts move into the TV, Apple has yet to enter the market. There’s little doubt that it will, though. But video is different from music : We’ll listen to our favorite songs over and over again, but most videos are viewed once, shared and then forgotten. Apple needs a rental or subscription service to truly compete with the other three here.

AMAZON: The company has no smartphone or TV presence, but is poised to disrupt the tablet world this fall with the Kindle Fire. At less than half the price of other iPad and Android tablets – with a 10” model on the way in early 2012 – and with both a rental and streaming video service Amazon presents an interesting challenge to both Apple and Google. The company is clearly betting that the tablet will be the dominant video consumption device of the future, and is looking to lock its customers into Amazon Instant Video (rental) and Prime Instant Video (subscription service). Interestingly, while the company’s Kindle book-reading software works across competing devices, their VOD services do not support Apple IOS.

MICROSOFT: With 50 million XBOX 360s sitting in front of TV sets around the world, Microsoft has the potential to be a major player here. The company is working to build a single interface across its smart-phone, PC platforms – called Metro. They are also rolling out the Zune video services across all of those devices, along with the XBOX360 as well. The Xbox currently has the broadest collection of traditional TV sources, with broader support for TV Everywhere than the other platforms. Unfortunately Microsoft does not make web-original video available to the Xbox, which limits its usefulness. And the lack of a Windows-based tablet to rival the iPad or Android devices, along with the poor performance of Windows phones put Microsoft behind both Apple and Google. But the Xbox 360 is such a strong device, with such great market penetration, that it’s impossible to count the company out.

It’s early, but Google is in the lead, with Apple nipping at their heels. If the Kindle Fire is as big a success as I think, Amazon may well challenge for the lead. As an aside, I predict that the Fire will be the best selling electronics product this holiday season.

And Microsoft? Unless Windows 8 and the Windows phone become runaway successes, it will be difficult for them to turn their 360 installed base into a dominant platform. But that’s just my early handicapping – there’s a lot of race yet to be run.

How Rats in the Attic Made Me Realize What’s Wrong With Video Pre-Rolls

ratsYesterday I picked up my mail, and along with the usual assortment of bills, I also received the latest issue of Wine Enthusiast and a junk mailer from “Red Plum”, featuring a series of ads for a variety of suburban items. I opened up the magazine and was surprised to see a full-page ad for Donald Trump’s new winery. Who knew The Donald was now making fine wine in, of all places, Virginia? As a wine fan, that ad moved the needle on my awareness, and even my consideration – I’d try a bottle sometime if it wasn’t too expensive.

I tossed the mailer away without looking at it – only when I sat down to write this post did I pull it out of the recycling bin to see what was advertised inside. The first one that caught my eye was for a rats-in-the-attic clean-up service called “Take Air USA”. Even if I’d looked at the mailer, this ad was a waste: my California ranch home – like most in my neighborhood – lacks an attic.

Print advertising is a relatively mature business. I can guarantee you that Trump paid a much higher CPM to reach the highly targeted and engaged Wine Enthusiast audience than the rat guys did to expose me and thousands of others to their cleaning service.

Shortly after I picked up my mail, I checked in on my Fantasy Football team over at NFL.com. But when I opened the scoreboard, I was force-fed an online video preroll before I could check my scoring summary. I ignored the video (which seemed to be hawking both blowsy babes and copious comestibles), scrolled down to the highlights (I was winning), and then stopped over to YouTube to see what one of my favorite tech experts, Jon Rettinger, had reviewed that day on his TechnoBuffalo channel (alert, TechnoBuffalo is now affiliated with my online video company Revision3). Before watching his new video on the “Best Giveaway Ever”, I was served up a pre-roll for the new Jeep Compass – which I eagerly watched. I’ve owned Jeeps in the past and have an affinity for the brand, but I also really wanted to see what cool gear Jon was giving away, and didn’t want to miss a moment.

Unfortunately, even though those two video ad experiences are as different as rats and wine, they were probably priced at similar CPMs. That’s because the online video ad market – particularly the pre-roll market — hasn’t progressed nearly as far as print. Those were two markedly different experiences, with wildly different levels of engagement. However, for many buyers, agencies and brands an on-line video pre-roll is valued the same wherever it runs, regardless of viewer intent, ad placement and playback environment. It’s as if Trump and “Take Air USA” paid exactly the same for those two print placements – even though their impact is worlds apart.

There’s a huge difference between an “in-banner”, or “on- page” video pre-roll that gets served up around standard web fare, and that same video pre-roll running “in stream” or “in player”, before, during or after a viewer searches out and decides to watch a web video. In banner videos are similar to traditional banner and rich-media ads that run across the text web – viewers mostly ignore them, and they often run sight and sound unseen below the fold or behind an overlapping window. Heck, like most web surfers I keep the sound on my system potted to 0 – except when I’m specifically watching online video. Let’s face it – in-banner or on-page video ads are little better than the junk mail that I got along with my magazines. There’s some value, for sure, but in most cases users are actively trying to ignore these video intrusions, not welcoming them into their life.

Contrast that with a pre-roll that runs in a video player, on a video site, immediately before a piece of editorial content that’s been actively selected by the viewer. When the ad itself is targeted via demographic or content affinity, the delivered value is far greater than the scattershot in-banner approach. Jon’s viewers are far more likely to watch, and far more engaged when they do watch, because they are already in a video-viewing mode, they’ve actively selected a video to watch, and will happily tolerate a 15 second ad before watching their video. Just as Trump’s new winery made a lasting impression on me, that same Jeep ad increased my awareness of their new Compass, and even influenced me to try to drive one in the near future. That’s an engaged view, and a successful outcome for a video ad –far more valuable than the barely registered floozy-filled ad “impression” I received over at NFL.com

If you’re Jeep, you just got a great deal. Because we still don’t do a good job differentiating the value of an in-stream vs. an in-banner video pre-roll, that Compass ad delivered significant value to the advertiser. However, it was probably part of a broader buy that included both in-stream and in-banner, so its relative value will be offset by the broader array of far less useful impressions that it was bundled with.

If you’re a video ad buyer, understand the value differences between in-banner impressions and engaged in-stream video ads. Focus your energy on the latter, and you’ll get far better results than if you lump the two together. Even though engaged, in-stream video ads will be more expensive, they are still a great bargain – especially if when you target demographic or content affinity along with the in-stream purchase.

Because in the end, just as not all print ads are the same, not all video pre-rolls are the same either. There’s a world of difference between showing up in Wine Enthusiast or on TechnoBuffalo, and the internet equivalent of video junk mail. Where do you want your ads to run?