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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Considering the Context

This morning I went to visit TV Week and had a look at their Viral Video page. Today's 3 top viral videos (as calculated on a weekly basis by Nielsen//NetRatings)were:

1. Body Rock - Blogger Perez Hilton boogies to some Ashlee Simpson.

2. Cat Snatch Fever - This cat wants that cake, end of story.

3. Fired Man imitates the Human Torch Johnny Storm.

Then I thought to myself, If I was a media buyer and I came to this high end site called TV Week - a site that I would think would really know what's going on in online video - and I saw the top three videos were all a bunch of foolishness I would move on thinking online video is not ready for the brands I represent because the top content is pretty poor.

Unfortunately we are not yet out of the time of "spectacle." We as online viral video producers need to raise the bar on the viral video content we are creating. The problem that we run into is that normally to raise the bar producers throw more money at the problem and we can't do that yet because we won't see a return on our investment. Instead of doing that we need to throw more creativity at the problem.

How do we create more emotionally compelling content that can compete with Cats, Farts and Crazy Gossip/Celebrity Vloggers like Perez Hilton and still be inviting to advertisers? We need to focus on simple stories that have spectacle and move more that one human emotion. And if we want to make money in online video advertising we need to consider the context in which advertisers and media buyers are going to be sampling our videos and how those videos are going to be viewed within the context of the media outlets that are going to write about them.

Media buyers don't have time to search the net and watch videos the way we all enjoy watching and sharing videos. Media buyers want to get their work done by doing a great job for their clients and then they want to get home and enjoy some down time. They don't want to help video producers. They want to help their careers by doing well for their customers.

If you see advertising on or around an online video think about why the media buyer spent their clients money on that video, who they are reaching with that video and what is the context. Then think how you can do something better for less money.

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