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Friday, August 31, 2007

Sony Walkmaning Away from Music Store

According to Techwhack Sony is “closing down their Connect digital music store.” And won’t be competing with the iTunes Store.

Wow do I feel out of touch, I didn’t even know Sony had a music store. Maybe that was its problem. I did have a really nice Sony Walkman when I was a kid. I might still have it in a box somewhere. They are coming out with a new line of Walkmans that will have FM tuners and Windows Media Audio (WMA), AAC and MP3 music formats, show JPEG photos and playback MPEG-4 video files. Now the top-of-the-line Walkman video players (NWZ-A810 series) have a 2-inch QVGA LCD screen but do they play video podcasts?

Please let me know if you get one. Maybe you might win one at a conference???? I saw a guy win a Zune at a conference once. In fact that’s the only time I’ve ever seen a Zune. They could become collectors items soon where only the really cool kids have a Zune because everyone else has an iPod or iPhone.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

NewCo Names Venture Portal

NewCo the News Corp./NBC Universal video portal finally announced a name and URL calling it Hulu. The new CEO Jason Kilar said they picked the name because it’s "short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce and it rhymes with itself."

Hulu rounded up $100 million and has sent out invites for a private beta but that’s not till in October.

Keep your fingers crossed that they will be taking pitches soon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What Makes a Video Viral?

With millions and millions of views of the videos I’ve created people often ask me, “What makes a video viral?” Last year I was asked to speak at the Podcast Academy (I'll be speaking there again Sept, 27th) about that very subject and in putting together my session presentation I discovered that there are many factors that create a viral video but that the single most important factor is that the video must be emotionally engaging. If you can move one emotion you are doing well, if you can move two emotions you are doing great and if your video moves three or more emotions you are a viral video Rock Star.

Take these two viral videos of the week for example:

Miss Teen USA 2007 - South Carolina answers

First off, I think Miss South Carolina would make a great French Maid for French Maid TV but I’m sure I will have to get in line behind other more established vehicles. She already has a website at a modeling agency with hot sexy half naked pictures. It may not be long before Caitlin Upton, Miss South Carolina Teen gets an offer and appears naked in Playboy magazine and that brings me to the first emotion of this video, “lust.”

Taking a look at this video’s thumbnail we notice a hot sexy young blond beauty queen and to some people, this evokes an emotion of lust (which is a secondary emotion of love) so they click on the thumbnail to see what they can see. Next, as the video plays Caitlin is asked:

“Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is?”

That question to a beauty queen sets the stage for suspense. What’s next? Is she going to screw this up? And sure enough she answers with:

"I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, um, some people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq and everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uh, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, should help South Africa and should help Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future."

This answer sends viewers racing through emotions. Surprise; “I can’t believe she is saying this”, Joy; “This is so funny.” Fear; What if that was me? Sympathy; “Oh, that poor girl.” and back to Lust; “She may be stupid but my God she’s hot.”

Then we have another viral video of the week:

Baby Got Back In Walmart

Even though the thumbnail is not enticing in anyway this video has managed to get clicked and played many times and when it does belly laughs ensue.

It’s almost like a joke in and of itself: Two kids go into a Walmart, get on the loud speaker and sing “I like Big Butts” while recording it with a hidden camera. Then they get kicked out.

Again, human emotions run the gamut as this video plays: Surprise and Amusement; “Look what these kids are doing.” “I can’t believe what these kids are doing.” Enjoyment; “Oh my God this is funny.” Fear; “Oh no, they are going to get caught.” Relief; “Hey they got away.” And if you think about it some more I’m sure you can come up with a few other emotions you felt especially if you work for Walmart corporate.

Taking another look at these videos you see that both are reality based. One is a dumb mistake / blooper from the professionally produced main stream television program Miss Teen USA and the other is user generated content that documents a prank but both are “spectacles” that have some “story” associated with them. I think this marks a transition from “cats swinging on ceiling fans” / “kicked in the nuts” spectacle videos to videos that combine spectacle and story. The real exciting time for me will be when emotionally engaging fictional videos break through the clutter of UGC and create mass global distribution for Independent Digital Artist.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Prom Queen Summer Heat

Online Videos by Veoh.com

Michael Eisner’s / Big Fantastic’s Prom Queen’s Summer Heat hit the net last night. I did notice a little product placement from Verizon Wireless and THANK GOD John Travolta came out in theaters so that we don’t have to watch another commercial for Hair Spray the Movie. Those spots in Season 1 of Prom Queen drove me crazy. (If you can help it at all try to vary your sponsors or you will run your audience away.)

All kidding aside, I was talking with the Big Fantastic boys last week at the LA Podcasters Meet Up and they said shooting this little mini-season of Prom Queen was a lot of work and a lot of fun.

After looking at the first new episode I think it looks like watching the mini series will be fun as well.

Now if the rest of us can set up product placement deals as easy as Mickey E life as an independent producer will be fun too.

Monday, August 27, 2007

South Park Strikes 50/50 Rev Share Deal

According to the New York Times South Park Creators have struck a 50%/50% advertising deal with Viacom . This is big news for content creators because in the past TV networks have never wanted to share advertising revenues with show producers. It will be interesting to see if any other similar deals happen.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Video Advertising on YouTube

Video Advertising is something I’ve been doing for years on Network and Cable Television. I’ve created promotional spots and campaigns for shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer to UFC as well as TV commercials for feature films like Fight Club and Sin City. I’ve also produced “different” Online Advertising like French Maid TV but in all my time in advertising there has never been a big day like yesterday.

Yesterday Google announced that they are launching overlay advertising on Youtube Videos. I’m very excited about this and look forward to see how things will play out.

This is a really incredible time to be producing emotionally engaging online videos that cut through the clutter, launch new brands and drive consumers to act. Oh right, and the video can really be measured. But as someone who is plagued with ideas it’s more exciting to know that I can run with an idea, produce it, post it on YouTube and finally get paid for it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Using YouTube and Google Adwords to get your message out.

Google is practicing what it preaches when it comes to Google Adwords.

In the above video you will hear a little bit about a dog daycare and boarding business that gets 90% of its business through Google AdWords. That’a pretty cool in and of itself but the really cool thing was that I found the video while I was watching videos on Youtube.

Yeah, so what?

Well the “So what?” is that you can upload a video to youtube that explains what is it that you are selling, then grab the embed code of that video, place it on your site and drive traffic to your doggie day care and get people to watch your video explaining how your doggie day care works.

Now if you are not a doggie day care I would advise doing a different video ;)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sprintcuts: What do they do?

Sprint the Cell Phone / Mobile Phone company has a viral video that topped the charts yesterday with this Sprintcuts: Turbo Parking episode.

It’s all part of their waitless campaign http://waitless.org/ and I’m not really sure if it’s working for me.

I love the spots. They are funny even though some of them are “borrowed.”

Like this 2 Minute Soda Chill.

Watch both videos. The one from Metacafe was posted before the Sprint campaign started running.

Chill A Coke In 2 Minutes! - Awesome video clips here

This one was posted 5 months ago on Metacafe and looks very similar. BTW its made over $3000 (more about that later)

But other than that, these “Sprintcuts” do nothing to make me want to buy any Sprint products or feel good about the Sprint brand. What is the Sprint brand anyway? It used to stand for a clear phone call that was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Now there is so much clutter in the marketing message I can't hear whaat they are trying to advertise about their brand.

Maybe I’m not their target audience, maybe tons of people will buy Sprint mobile phones, EVDO cards and monthly mobile service and I'm wrong but I don’t think so. I think this campaign is “too hip" for the internet and a big waist of money for Sprint. But I bet it wins a lot of awards for the advertising creatives who made it cause it's fun to watch.

The Next Internet Millionaire

Size Does Matter

The Next Internet Millionaire has production values that are along the same lines as regular television and so is its length.

I’ll be watching The Next Internet Millionaire not because I find it interesting but because I think there might be some online video business models exposed. So I’ll consider it homework.

Beyond it being a Donald Trump Apprentice "wanna be" the length of the show just scares me. Sure I can pause it and come back later but at first glance I don’t want to make that time commitment.

Online video on the Internet hasn’t grown up yet. I think this show could work a lot better if it was broken up into 4 minute segments. Who knows, as of this morning it already has 15,000 views. I wonder how many were complete views????

Monday, August 20, 2007

Is Man Vs. Wild, Bear Grylls is a Phony?

Whether you believe Bear Grylls is a phony or not you have to believe that these online videos that supposedly show him “cheating it” instead of “roughing it” are getting view numbers that would make many basic cable shows happy. But beyond that, what makes them get numbers in the 100,000s? My guess is that they are emotionally engaging on a couple levels. Watch these clips and ask your self what emmotions you experience while you are watching them and after you watch them.

The Hollywood Reporter thinks so.

Whether you believe Bear Grylls is a phony or not you have to believe that these online videos that supposedly show him “cheating it” instead of “roughing it” are getting view numbers that would make many basic cable shows very happy.

Then ask yourself what emotions do people feel when they watch your video podcast.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Women of CVN76: 'That Don't Impress Me Much”

Well according to Fox News the Navy has Sunk a YouTube Video taking down a video from YouTube shot aboard the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, “because it shows sailors using safety equipment inappropriately, a Navy spokesman said.” Or translated : It was a video of a sailor dancing while wearing a full-body radiation suit, standing next to doors leading to the ship's nuclear power plant and it was cut to Shania Twain’s 'That Don't Impress Me Much.” - Guess the Navy doesn't like Country Music.

The video was titled "Women of CVN76: 'That Don't Impress Me Much,"' and after searching for it on YouTube and Google I found nothing except another video with the same name but no sailors in radiation suits. Now if the Navy could make all the problems in the Middle East go away as quickly maybe Shania Twain could write a new song about that.

When I copied the code for the above video of the same title off YouTube it had 1883 views. I'm curious to see if because of the Fox News Story how many more views this video will get over the next few days and if it will go viral and if the girls in it will get their 15 minutes of fame just because they used Women of CVN76: 'That Don't Impress Me Much” as their title.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Kid Nation

CBS has a new Survivor type show called Kid Nation that is upsetting some people but I think it looks interesting... for a reality show.

I’ve had a few different people come to me with similar reality based shows that they wanted to do on the Internet but none of them have had the funding that this show has. It must be nice to be Mark Burnett.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Hey, there’s a new video search site called Truvio !

So AOL did a little relaunch of Truvio its “YouTube Killer” and it’s supposed to feature “professionally produced” content instead of the UGC flavor you find on YouTube and everywhere else. So?

Well I’m not sure yet. There’s no advertising there yet. It looks like it targets an older demo than YouTube and it’s great if you are searching for content about content.

I did a search for my favorite video podcast Tiki Bar TV and instead of finding new episodes I found episodes about Tiki Bar TV. I found Roof Top Drinks with Tiki Bar TV , Tiki Bar TV Tron Demo and even Galacticast-does-Tiki-Bar but I had to scroll down to find the oldest and one of the most beloved and popular video podcasts out there.

The other thing I noticed was that Truveo was “finding a lot of content from Blip.tv . So that’s great news for Blip and anyone making money from Blip TV. But I have yet to talk to any online video content producers making money from Blip TV. I’m sure they must be out there but I have yet to hear someone say, “She got a $1,000 check from Blip.” I’m personally testing Blip TV to see if I can make any money from online video advertising on Blip TV so I’ll let you know how that goes.

This whole "making money with video podcasting" thing would be a lot easier if the market place was built online and there was a search site called “adveo” where I could find advertisers that were looking for popular, funny, sex, online video content that is targeted at young 18-34 year old males and has an integrated advertising message that doesn’t get skipped – you know something like French Maid TV . Or if we just got paid per view everytime someone watched one of our videos on an iPod, iPhone, iTunes or on YouTube. ;)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Why is Chocolate Rain Popular?

"Chocolate Rain" Original Song by Tay Zonday

Sometimes videos become viral and you just scratch your head as to why and ask, “How could this be a viral video?” I’m interested in hearing your comments on Chocolate Rain and what your favorite follow up videos to Chocolate Rain by Tay Zonday are.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I’m Seeing Red.

The Red Camera that is.

All of us Independent Producers are waiting and waiting and waiting for the Red Camera to come out but I have an idea it will be well worth the wait.

I can’t really tell you what I do or don’t know about the Red Camera because I’m under Friend DA. But what I can tell you about is my best friend Ted Schilowitz who is the Leader of the Rebellion at Red Digital Cinema.

Long before there was any French Maid TV Ted and I met when we were both in our early twenties and freelancing at Cable Vision of Central Florida in Orlando. Boy, those were the days. Universal Studios Orlando and Disney MGM Studios were being built and Ted and I thought we were going to break into the movie business. One day I was editing the biggest show on Cable Vision’s local access channel, “Giovanni’s Birthday Big Top” (more about that some other time) and this long-haired surfer dude in flip flops Oakley sunglasses and a torn Inlet Charlie’s T-shirt walks in and says, “Hey I need to edit.” And I said, “Talk to scheduling and they’ll schedule you some time.” He said, “No, I need to edit now.” Well, we went around and around. I stood my ground and eventually he invited me surfing and we became friends. Ted and I went on to work on MTV’s Remote Control together and a few kids’ shows including What Would You Do? and the pilot for All That at Nickelodeon. After we both figured out that Orlando’s Studios were just lost leaders to get more tourist we both moved to Los Angeles where we worked on Crazy Careers for Kids WB and projects for E! Entertainment. We also launched a few interactive creepy stories online but I'll save those for Halloween.

One day Ted told me he had a great opportunity with a company that makes converter boxes. I asked if he was going to be producing corporate videos for them and he said, “No.” he was going to be consulting with them on new products that work with Final Cut Pro. I didn’t understand how Ted could leave the creative side and jump into some boring consulting gig but Ted went to work at AJA where he launched the IO Box and several other products and had a blast doing it. I couldn’t imagine Ted having more fun. That is until he became employee number 1 at Red Digital Cinema.

Through all this time Ted has been a great friend. He’s always been there for me through thick and thin. To see him over the last two years be involved with the Red Camera experience has been a blast for me. From IBC to the Sundance Film Festival to seeing the line around the Red Tent at NAB in Vegas for the Film that Peter Jackson shot with two of the Red Cameras, it has been amazing. Ted has created buzz without really trying to create buzz. To see Ted on the big screen at NAB, to see him on the Apple Store's Video Wall and Apple.com and seeing him on the Apple Final Cut Studio Tour has been a lark. I can hardly wait for the camera to come out.

However for most of us in the online video world with maybe the exception of Pixel Corps.’ Alex Lindsay no one will care about or be using the Red Digital camera for viral videos and video podcasts because the quality far exceeds what we need at this time but as bandwidth increases and Internet access to the best 100” HDTVs even the little Sony Bravia 52 in Flat Panel LCD TV increases we might see some online videos shot with the Red Camera. And I'll just smile and tell everyone I around, my buddy Ted worked on that Red Camera.

One last thing about Ted, with all they Hype around the Red Camera and all the people wanting to interview Ted he still takes time to talk to the little independent guys and gives them interviews when he can.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Finding News about Online Viral Video

I’ve found a few places that I really like to get my New Media and Internet News about Online Viral Videos. One of them is a blog by
GigaOM called NewTeeVee. They have several different reporters who are keeping track of all the good stuff going on in Online Video and Video Podcasting. Occasionally I’ll get something interesting from the online advertising folks at AdAge but they aren’t really part of our community so I have to sift through all the Madison Ave propaganda about "how pre-roll is better" to find one little nugget about what’s really going on with new media producers.

Another online video news website I like is The Daily Reel. They have a podcast too but I find that when I’m looking for online news I want it online right away and not in a podcast. They do have the video from the podcast posted on their site but it’s a high quality QuickTime file that takes forever to download and there’s no Flash embed version for me to grab and share with you on this site. Yo, Listen up Alex Delyle. Put some Flash that can be grabbed and shared.

Over all I would have to say that so far, my favorite place to find news about what’s going on in Online Viral Videos is Cynthia Turner’s Cynopsis: DIGITAL especially cause it come to my email box and it’s a short and sweet brief that let’s me sift through the news and cherry pick the things I want to know about.

The funny thing for me is that I’ve found blogs, emails and websites that I enjoy getting my new about online videos from but I have yet to find an online video that I enjoy getting my online viral video news from. Shelly Palmer, I love you and your information on your website to death, you really know your new media better than anyone else and the information you present is right on target but for some reason I’m just not digging your News Video yet.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Madden and The Democratization of Video Games

Madden 2008 Trailer

Sure I hope Madden 08 doesn’t suck and that it lives up to all the hype but what I really want to see is the video game industry opening up to the independent producer the way video has. Maybe just maybe that can happen but two things have to happen first.

According to Wikipedia “Madden NFL 08 is an upcoming football video game that will be published by EA Sports and developed by EA Tiburon. It will be the eighteenth installment in the Madden NFL video game franchise. The game is set to be released August 14, 2007 for several platforms, including Xbox 360, Wii, Playstation 3 and PC.”

I’m sure more kids will be hurt playing Madden NFL 08 with the Wii but the people really hurt are the ones that have creative ideas for video games but can’t afford the cost of admission to be able to produce a video game. It’s the same thing the Motion Picture Industry went through. It wasn’t until two young dudes named Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda made a little movie with Jack Nicholson called EASY RIDER that Hollywood had it’s first Independent cannon ball fired across the bow of it’s armada. EASY RIDER broke through the closed studio system and paved the way for independent filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Spike Lee, Steven Soderbergh and Ryan Johnson. I’m not sure who will break through the video game wall and get past the video game mafia first but I do have an idea of who could if anyone could. An Insider.

Take a look at the guys that made Flektor . They built a website where anyone can upload video, edit it, mash it up and then share it with anyone. Flektor was built to be bought by MySpace and was sold to MySpace / Fox for an “undisclosed amount”. According to the Flektor website, “The Flektor founders have spent the bulk of their adult lives creating media and entertainment. Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin co-founded legendary game developer Naughty Dog, creators of Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter before selling the company to Sony Computer Entertainment in 2000. Jason Kay spent four years at Home Box Office, working as a consultant to the EVP of Business Development.” If anyone can break down the "Studio Gates" of the closed video game world my money is on the guys from Flektor.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tiger Woods and Hot Women in Music Videos

The 2007 PGA championship has been a smoking hot topic in this weeks news with Tiger Woods leading in this year's 89th annual major golf event, taking place in Tulsa, Oklahoma and that makes me think about sexy women in music videos and DRM.

DRM is failing. DRM is falling apart. DRM doesn’t work. Universal Music who said they would never ever, ever get rid of DRM is testing getting rid of DRM . Google is Shutting down paid Video .

What does this have to do with Tiger Woods and Hot Women in Music Videos? Tiger Woods is a Brand. People pay to see Tiger Woods play golf but Tiger Woods doesn’t make a ton of money from the people that come to see him play at a golf course or even the money he wins from playing in the golf tournaments (it is a lot of money but not his big bucks). Tiger makes his money from endorsements, TV commercials for Nike and Buick. That’s where his big bucks are made.

What the hell are you talking about Tim? I’m never going to sign a 100 million endorsment deal . No you probably won’t but if you produce viral video content that people want to steel you can use that to sell something else. Well Mr. French Maid TV smarty pants what am I going to sell? What are you going to sell? How about selling something that doesn’t cost you money? What? That’s right, sell something that doesn’t cost you money. How about referrals? What if you could get $100 per month from one dog groomer in every city in the world by putting a link to their site on your video site? At that rate you would only need 100,000 cities to have an endorsement deal that matches Tiger Woods’.

What about the hot women? For years record labels have been giving away music videos with sexy women in them for promotion. Now they are selling there music videos on iTunes but they are also placing them on FREE Music video sites as well. Using that promotion to build their brands and sell other things like popular ring tones.

So put your thinking caps on and start thinking how you can produce viral videos that make people want to steel them and promote your online videos, building your brand into something that you can use to sell a lot of something that doesn’t cost you money.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Marketing Your Podcast with Sex.

Marketing Your Podcast with Sex.
Sex Sells: How Victoria's Secret Sold 9.4 Billion Dollars Worth of Hope...

I’ll soon be speaking at > Podcast Academy 6 on September 27th about marketing your podcast. If you are just getting into podcasting this is a must attend event to learn about what it takes to get started in audio and video podcasting. You’ll get knowledge and information needed for professional podcasters, corporate practitioners and people charged with podcasting for organizations. It’s a day long course style approach including lots of Q & A and the ability to interact with the instructors throughout the day. Last year was a blast.

Greg Cangialosi - The Trend Junkie will be showing some Corporate case studies. Colette Vogele - Vogele & Associates will be talking about Podcasting and the law. Craig Syverson of grunt media will be speaking about New Media / Old School.
Paul Colligan Colligan.com Colligan.com will be telling us what’s “Beyond the iPod. Dan Klass The Bitterest Pill gives the ins and outs of Professional podcasting.
Chris Brogan of ChrisBrogan.com ChrisBrogan.com will also be there as well as Michael Geoghegan MWGblog.com of GigaVox Media and Doug Kaye Blogarithms / Creator, IT Conversations

I’m putting my presentation together now but I’m expecting to speak about how to your podcast get featured on iTunes, creating award-winning Key Art, On-air promo for TV shows and movie trailers and how it relates to marketing your podcast as well as some other things like using craigslist, amazon.com and ebay to promote your podcast and online videos.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Making the Right Deal So You Can Buy a New Car

Online Videos by Veoh.com

It’s a pretty exciting time in the world of independent content / video podcasting / pocasting / videoblogging / online video production. The Big Fantastic guys inked a deal with a Hollywood mogul , Tiki Bar TV and
Keith and the Girl signed a deal with Wizzard , the LonelyGirl15 guys struck a deal with Bebo on a new series Kate Modern in London and the Podacast WallStrip was acquired by CBS for 3 to 5 million dollars depending on who you talk to. It really feels like things are happening but online creators beware, I don’t see any of the independent content producers I know driving around in new cars… yet.

My whole life I’ve dreamt of a studio deal. Wait, that’s not true. When I was a kid I wanted a Webco Black Diamond BMX Bike and a surfboard. I’ll start over. My whole adult life I’ve dreamt of a studio deal, a deal where I would be warm and safe, a deal where I could have an office on the lot with my own parking spot, a deal where I would come up with “wonderful”, “creative” and “brilliantly evil” ideas that the studio would green light and that I would then go write, produce and direct. Then the studio would distribute my production for the whole world to see. But then I discovered the Internet and how my dreams have changed.

Once I figured out what I could do with the web I created a fictional videoblog/online story that had millions of hits and I realized while I was waiting for that studio deal I could write, produce, direct AND distribute my own projects. I loved it. It was great. I could come up with whatever I wanted and just go do it and for the past seven years I have. Millions of people came to see my work but they didn’t leave any money just a big fat bandwidth bill. I quickly learned I didn’t know how to make money on the Internet.

So I kept at it and kept at it and finally came up with French Maid TV . It has brought me millions of views, I get paid money to make it and it is way more fun to make than any studio or TV project I’ve ever produced. Sure I have to deal with clients that put their “marketing speak” into the voice over but other than that I have a lot of creative freedom. It has brought me a big Hollywood agent and meetings with studios all around town. I’m out pitching all my “wonderful”, “creative” and “brilliantly evil” ideas and it feels pretty good. But wait, I still don’t have a studio deal and as far as I know neither does anyone else who creates online video. The closest thing to a studio deal that I know of is what has happened to Big Fantastic.

The Big Fantastic guys made a show called Sam Has 7 Friends for $50K of their own money. They got millions of views. They got a big Hollywood agent. They had meetings all over town. Then they pitched a new idea called Prom Queen to Michael Eisner and he bought it. Not only did he buy it he also bought their online hit Sam Has 7 Friends. Can you believe it? These guys pitched and sold a new series as well as their old series to the dude that used to run Disney! Incredible. Side note: I used to be a production assistant on Michael Eisner’s “Voice of Disney” intros to the Disney Sunday Movie. You know, “Hello, I’m Michael Eisner and Welcome to the Disney Sunday Movie.” More about that another time.

Now the Big Fantastic Guys (who I love) are working around the clock the same way they did when they produced Sam has 7 Friends and they are getting paid for it! It’s great. Right? Well, I don’t see them driving new cars or in a big office on the lot yet and the other thing that crosses my mind when I drive through the studio gates is that they don’t own their content anymore either. Makes me want to ask someone for some advice. What a second, maybe I can Ask A Ninja? Let’s see the guys at Beatbox Giant created an online show, Ask A Ninja
They got millions of views. They got a big Hollywood agent. They had meetings all over town. Then they got something pretty cool. No, it wasn’t a studio deal with an office on the lot. They got a big advertising deal with Federated Media . But best of all, they still own their content. They still get to write, produce, direct AND distribute whatever “wonderful”, “creative” and “brilliantly evil” ideas they come up with and if they can keep it all going, I’ll bet we will see them driving around in new cars soon.

Now if one of my “wonderful”, “creative” and “brilliantly evil” ideas ever gets bought at a studio I don’t think I’ll be able to turn the deal down just yet cause the market place hasn’t developed enough yet for me to survive full time on French Maid TV but I will ask my agents to fight hard to get me the best deal possible bcause the lease is running out on my SUV and I don’t have enough money to buy a new one… yet.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Power of the Thumbnail and CPR

One of the things that really bugs the SHIT out of me is the fact that at most video sharing sites you can’t pick the exact frame of video that you want to use for the key frame of your thumbnail. (The little picture that represents what your video is about) Sure a lot of the sites allow you to choose from several thumbnails but what the hell is that? To get more views of your video you need to have the most compelling thumbnail that you can have. Could you imagine making a feature film and then when it came time to make the movie poster you were only allowed to choose from a handful of frames that were randomly selected by a computer? The thing that really ticks me off more is that the previous version of upload software at one of my favorite video sharing sites, Revver used to have an option to select the exact frame of your video that you wanted but for some reason they have now changed that with the new “update” to their site. Don’t get me wrong, I love Revver and all the money they put into my Paypal account but you would think that these sites would realize the power of the thumbnail. If the thumbnail is interesting people click on it. If there is a pre-roll ad they watch it and the video sharing site gets paid. If the video sucks the viewer bails but the ad was watched and the video sharing site gets paid. On the other hand, if the random thumbnail sucks the video doesn’t get played, the ad doesn’t get played and video sharing site loses revenue. Thumbnails need CPR.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

If Scott Simpson Were a Hit Man

If Scott Simpson Were a Hit Man

If the beloved podcasting insider Scott Simpson were a hit man this video is how I would picture him. - Smart, improvisational and he would have a way with the ladies but I don’t know if in my mind’s eye he would live with his mother. Maybe his brother?? I don’t know. But one thing is for sure, he would be
Getting Away with Murder

Beyond what I think about Scott Simpson being a hitman and that it has nothing to do with Getting Away with Murder I think IFC has done a wonderful job of bringing us a fun online series that makes me laugh long after I’m done watching it. For whatever reason though, I have no idea who the creators of the show are and what the real story is behind how this online video series came to be. Maybe I’m too busy enjoying the great music and watching the hip motion graphics to read the credits. Or maybe I’m too lazy to look past the first page of my Google Search.

That said, looking from the outside in it appears that IFC has produced Getting Away with Murder to brand the cable channel as cutting edge and risk taking. Indeed watching Getting Away with Murder does make me think that IFC is all that but only on the Internet. That’s right. I love this online series and I want more webisodes like it but I don’t think for a second that if I turn on IFC I’m going to find anything like it on TV and that my friends is the rub. If IFC is doing this to get more viewers I think they are wasting their money.

Even if IFC does have programming on their cable channel that is like this super cool internet show I don’t believe it’s on IFC.

With the snappy writing and high production values Getting Away with Murder could be brining in great advertising revenues for an online video but instead it only showcases that it’s made by IFC and does nothing to make me want to watch IFC. I hope it’s working for IFC and more importantly I hope the show’s creators are getting something out of it cause they really deserve it for doing such a great job. If not, I think Scott Simpson should take someone out.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Making Money with Video at Comic Con

For years now freaks and geeks have been going to Comic-con in San Diego, CA. to see the latest in anything related to Comic Books This year was no different. The thing that was different was that a TV Show that was there was more popular than major motion pictures that were there. A year ago there was no TV Show called Heros. This year at Comic Con Heros was all the rage. That said, what can you do with your video between now and next year to make a splash at Comic Con?

For those of you living under a digital rock who not familiar with Comic Con, it’s a convention where comic book aficionados come to buy hard to find comic books, collectables, memorabilia and meet comic book, film and TV creators as well as celebrity actors from past sci-fi TV shows and films. Many of these comic book guys and girls also come dressed as their favorite characters. But what does all this Comic Con crap mean to you the video content producer? Well if you have a video with a fan following that is targeted at this crowd it could mean a lot and even if you don’t have a fan following but your videos might appeal to this crowd you could make a little or use Comic Con to launch your brand.

Brand, you say? But Tim, I don’t have a brand. I just have videos. Well if you want to make money in this new media video ball game you better start thinking about developing your videos into a brand. What is a brand? For those of you that didn’t take Marketing 101 or read Marketing for Dummies you might want to take a crash course brand building and think about what things in your videos have that can translate to other verticals. Could you make a cooking book? A coffee table book? A comic book perhaps? Are there t-shirts, calendars or some other consumer products that the people who watch your videos would want to buy?

It’s not going to happen over night but content creators like Home Star Runner and Red vs. Blue have done a great job of creating free content but making money from building a brand.