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Monday, March 31, 2008

Expanding Your Brand

French Maid TV is known for "How To" videos by French Maids where hot sexy girls dressed as French Maids take products and services from sponsors and explain to young men how to use them. French Maid TV has about 1 million downloads per month of our funny / sexy videos but finding sponsors takes a lot of time, money and effort because the marketplace for this kind of advertising isn't built yet and not every potential sponsor wants to have their brand associated with sexy French Maids.

While the online video integrated advertising marketplace is building I thought I would try a few new things with French Maid TV by creating new non sponsored videos to take advantage of the few online video advertising monetization options that have already come together. I also thought this might be an opportunity expand the French Maid TV brand along the way.

The first new type of video is French Maid Magic which is a new series of Magic Tricks by French Maids. The second thing is the above video 1 Minute Maid which is the first in a series of funny and sexy video profiles of the French Maids.

I've spent a lot of time on the phone doing sales calls to get integrated sponsors for "How To" episodes of French Maid TV and it took me awhile to realize that the marketplace was just not coming together fast enough for me. Instead of giving up I thought I would create some videos that were not "How To's" and I would attach advertising solutions that are now coming together.

I'm currently working on deals with online video advertising networks to add pre-roll, post-roll and overlays to these new French Maid TV series but it's very slow going dealing with contracts and legal departments. That said, I've always found that whenever I post a new episode of French Maid TV in our video podcast feed on iTunes new business opportunities come my way through unsolicited emails. No, I'm not talking about the Nigerian Generals who need bank transfers. I'm talking about real deals for distribution of French Maid TV on other platforms and potential sponsorship deals. So rather than wait for the pre-roll / post-roll overlay deals to be in place I thought I would post these new non sponsored videos and see what new business oportunites come my way.

I've spent the last few months redesigning the French Maid TV website and I (don't laugh) used Apple's iWeb to do it. I also installed and built out a banner and text ad server using OpenX to deliver IAB standardized ads from different banner ad networks and affiliate marketing networks.

In addition to all this we created a new Gift Shop using Zazzle where you can even make your own T-Shirt .

With social networks all the rage we have created a new community area but at this time it's invite only while we work out the kinks. I hope to have it open to the public soon and make it so that people can upload their own French Maid auditions and post response videos to our videos. All in good time.

If you would like an invite send an email to community at frenchmaidtv dot com.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The New Digital Gatekeepers

It used to be that movie studios and TV networks were the gate keepers to creating video content and distributing it. Now there's a new gatekeeper in town and his names not Gozer. But it's close.

Ealier this month when Google paid 3.1 Billion for Doubleclick (remember Google paid 1.7 Billion for YouTube) it became the new gatekeeper to video entertainment and required some people to eat their words. Well not entirely, but on a large scale. How is Doubleclick/Google the new gatekeeper you ask? Relationships and technology, that's how.

Doubleclick is the Internet display advertising giant, they have the best systems (DART) and the best relationships with advertisers, publishers and ad agencies in the online advertising business. These are billion dollar relationships with brands and large ad buyers that deal in the emotion of brand advertising. Now, Doubleclick is positioned to do the same for online video adverting.

Sounds great! Just sign me up for Doubleclick. Right?

Well, it's not that easy. Right now as a "video publisher" you have to serve about 5 million video views per month and be willing to spend $5000 per month. So there is the new gate.

There are currently other alternative where you can go to an approved vendor of Doubleclick and pay $1500 per month to use their service but you still need to have the video views to make it worth your while.

How can you expand your online video advertising and grow your views? Maybe by customizing your tool set to automate the video ads you serve. You might even try getting some ideas from Doubleclick and figure out if you can use their suggestions with other ad networks - I mean digital gatekeepers.

That is until Google offers Doubleclick for free. ;)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rides To The Prom

In his blog Ask A Ninja Co-Creator Kent Nichols talks about what goes into the Ask A Ninja videos that he and his creative Ninja partner Douglas Sarine create and own. Kent explains why when the costs are averaged out each episode of Ask A Ninja costs about $6000 per video. Kent does a great job of explaining what has gone into building their business and their brand that will continue to grow but what Kent doesn't talk about are all the videos by Independent producers that are made for $6000 or less for large corporations.

Large companies are calling online video producers that have had viral videos and they are offering money to create new online videos for their major corporations and that's great. When I first started producing I would have loved to received a call from a large corporation who wanted me to produce something for them. Are you kidding? I would have done it for FREE. But times are different now. I'd still take the work but I want something more than money.

Today if you are creative and can produce a viral video that builds and audience you don't need a Fortune 500 company to pay you money. Just look at what Kent and Douglas and other online video producers that have come before them have done as well as what people like Greg Goodfried and Miles Beckett are doing with LG15 and Kate Modern.

What you need to watch out for are the "Rides to the Prom" as I like to call them. "If you give us a ride we will show you a good time later on." What I mean by this is that when a big company says, "Hey, we want you to do this video for us cause we think you are the most creative and wonderful person out there and here's $6000." be very careful.

There are some TV Networks that have been doing this tactic in cable television for years. They get talented kids to work for cheap and instead of giving the kids a raise when they do a good job they just find new talented kids. That's a little bit different. As the kid you are getting experience and you have that TV Network name you can put on your resume and go find work at a network that pays more money for experience. Now you can create your own videos and get experience doing it.

The thing to remember is that now the rules have changed. You don't need a TV Network to get the experience to create something that is watched by millions and you don't need to work for a TV Network to make money. Don't get me wrong it's great if you can get work from a big company and it can be great money but you are not going to be able to build a business on $6000 videos that you don't own. Sure there are wedding video guys that make this kind of money and can shoot four videos in a weekend but that's not what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about pursuing your passion and taking your wacky ideas and turning them into something that you own that pays you a check every month for years to come.

Now if you do get an email from a large company asking you to create a video for $6000 see if you can negotiate ownership. Could you imagine if you used someone else's $6000 to create the first episode of something like Ask A Ninja?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Shortest Distance to Online Video Dynamic Ad Insertion

I'm still trying to connect the dots to the fewest possible partners to have Dynamic Online Video Ad Insertion on the videos on my site and the videos in my podcast that would also give me flexibility to insert advertisers and sponsors on my own.

Castfire is a great technology that hosts your video content, works on your site and in your podcast and the people running Castfire have a great reputation in the market place - no scratch that. They have a stellar reputation. The problem is that they currently don't have a steady stream of advertisers and as of right now media companies like Tremor Media who have advertisers don't integrate with Castfire and video podcasts. They are doing some testing with a media company and if that testing goes well they may have a steady stream of advertisers to cover their 38 cents a gig of data transfer costs.

Kiptronic which also has a great reputation has the technology to deliver ads in your video or audio podcast but they don't provide hosting and don't have a steady stream of advertisers. They do however have deals with content delivery networks and relationships with media companies with advertisers but it's not a one stop shop.

Podaddies also has a great reputation but doesn't offer video hosting or a steady stream of advertisers but they are also doing testing with a media company and may soon have a steady stream of advertisers.

Volo has the technology and a great reputation they are trying to connect all the dots but as of earlier this month they were unable to pull together a one stop shop.

Sites like Revver and Podango are great but they don't offer me the flexibility I need for French Maid TV. I'm hearing numbers of $30-$50 CPMs for online video advertising and I don't see that kind of money from Revver and at the moment I'm not willing to split my "How To" sponsorships with Podango to find out if they can deliver.

Right now I've not been able to find an open source Dynamic Ad Insertion ad server plug-in that works with OpenX but I think if I could find that I would be one step closer to connecting the dots and getting at those $30 CPMs before they are gone.

I may end up going with one solution for the podcast and another for the French Maid TV website.

Let me know if I have something wrong or if I'm missing something here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Different Online Video Monetization Solutions

Last night Liz Gannes and Chris Albrecht from
New Tee Vee (the video blog about online video) threw a party in Hollywood at the Cat and the Fiddle. The bar was filled with online video creators including Kent Nichols from Ask A Ninja, Greg Goodfried and Miles Beckett from Lonely Girl 15 and KateModern, Hayden Black from Goodnight Burbank and Abigail’s Teen Diary, Felicia Day from The Guild, Douglas Cheney and Ryan Wise from Big Fantastic, Alec McNayr from Space Shank and David Nadelberg from Mortified, were there as well as people from companies playing in this space like Jane Hu from Vuguru, Sarah Szalavitz from Veoh, Angela Gyetvan from Revver, Jamie Flam from Independent Comedy Network, Zach Posner from National Lampoon, Philip Hodgetts from Open Television Network and Jeremy McMillan from Soda Entertainment.

What really hit me was that as diverse as the content was from these different creators so were the business models of the different online videos represented by these people.

Ask A Ninja has an online advertising agency selling their ad inventory. The Lonely Girl 15 guys are selling their own product placement deals. Hayden Black is using Revver. The Big fantastic guys are creating content for Michael Eisner and Jane Hu at Vuguru and also doing content in a partnership deal with Brent Weinstein's 60 Frames. Everyone is trying different ways of getting to the advertising dollars. Phil Hodgetts seemed to be the only one at the party who was doing a pay-per-view model although the guy from CBS Interactive who bought Wall Strip for $5 Million was there but I'm not sure you can say that's a pay-per-view model ;)

As I keep reading terms of service agreements from online advertising companies I keep seeing how different media companies are better for different types of content creators. Just because someone has online video ads doesn't mean those ads are right for your content and even if the ads are right for your content doesn't mean the video player or delivery device they have is right for your website and don't get me started on getting ads in your video podcast.

Right now it is truly the Wild West in online video and just because someone is building a fancy train doesn't mean that it will fit on your tracks.

It will all work itself out in time just like the banner ads industry has worked itself out with IAB standards but it takes time.

My advise right now is don't lock yourself into anyone monetization opportunity just yet. Keep your options open and look at what might work best for your content.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Get Your Own Video Hosting, Video Player and Stats Reporting

Sure YouTube, Revver, Blip and Podango can make you some money and you don't have to pay for hosting but if you want to get the big CPMs for online video advertising you better start looking for your own video player and hosting. Companies like Yume, spotXchange and ValueClick have the advertisers but don't come with video hosting or a video player and for now, this seems to separate the "Pros" from the "Prosumers." Unless you can swing a deal (like Ask A Ninja did) with an advertising company that will pay for your hosting as part of the deal.

Castfire is one of the hosting/player/stats places that I'm talking with. Do you guys know of any other places that offer video hosting, a video player and do tracking/stats for FLASH, QuickTime and Video Podcasting?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Frustrations Abound in the Online Video Community

Last night Ask A Ninja Co-Creator Kent Nichols posted the question on his blog, "Is Online Video Dead?" On Twitter this week Epic FU's Co-Creator Steve Wolfe lamented his frustrations to his followers and said, "today's lesson: sometimes it's darkest AFTER the silver lining appears."

Many of us online video entrepreneurs have built audiences. Some of us have made a little money. Others continue to enter the space hoping to build an audience and make money but the fact is that the marketplace is not built yet.

If you have an online video do you have an ad server installed? Do you have an ad sales team actively selling your ad inventory? Do you know what your ad inventory is? Are you using a video player on your site and on your video podcast that allows for dynamic ad insertion, pre-rolls, post-rolls and overlays that you control? Are your banner ads integrated with your video ad server? Are you listed with online video ad exchanges to sell your backfill?

My guess for most of you would be, "No" to most of these questions.

Large scale advertisers want to reach millions of people in a short amount of time and they are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to do that. Unfortunately they can't do that in online video...yet. First media buyers are not budgeted for Online video yet. Second there are no standards in place for online video advertising and third how do media buyers find online videos to advertise on?

If you are serious about selling advertising on your videos you first need to get serious about your website. Ask A Ninja is doing the best in online video because they have lots of traffic to their website and they have a conversation going on with their audience. For more on the theory behind the company that is paying Ask A Ninja check out this CNET interview with Federated Media's John Battelle.

As for monetizing your online video?

Here are a few steps to monetizing your online video:

1. Place banner and text ads on your website.

2. Install an ad server on your website and define your website's advertising inventory.

3. Join an ad network and place network ads on your website.

You may notice that none of these steps involve video. Get these steps done and shoot me an email and let me know when you're ready for the next three steps.

If you need help with the first three steps shoot me an email.

I know there are lot's of frustrated online video creators out there but Online Video is not dead, it hasn't even begun. It's time we all start building the online video marketplace together.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Venetian Princess

According to Wikipedia, "VenetianPrincess is a YouTube personality, who gained fame in 2006 and then in 2007 became one of the first few YouTube video creators to participate in its revenue sharing program. She is paid to create videos in addition to receiving ad revenue." This sexy girl's videos have been viewed a total of over 18 million times."

She has a Great Trailer that explains what her show is about and she is always pumping people to subscribe and in her video that is topping the charts today she says she coming to LA to do a new show on TV.

Here's some more about it:

Rogers Cancels The Lab with Leo

Highly respected Radio/TV host and podcasting pioneer Leo Laporte According to Leo's blog, "The Canadian ratings haven’t been so hot, either. The slide began a year ago when Amber left the show. The entire staff left in January and I was left the last man standing. I’m not good with slow fades. It’s time to move on." "Rogers is planning to replace it with a daily, live show which is, ironically, what Call for Help used to be, but unless I pack up and move to Canada there’s no way I could host it, so we’ve parted ways amicably. I will always be grateful to them for keeping Call for Help alive these past four years."

Leo is going to tell everyone about his new endeavors tomorrow and I expect it will be something good. You may not know it from looking at the Top 100 on iTunes (because it only lists Todays Top 100) but Leo has one of, if not the most popular podcasts in the world and a very popular network of shows.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

ZeFrank starts Color Teams on Twitter

ZeFrank is up to some type of social experiment today on Twitter.

Early this morning Ze posted "Good Morning! As you can see, i am now a member of the blue team!" with a "Blue Team" blue badge on his photo and soon after that so were 120 other people. Other teams started as well. Like the Very Green Team.

Ze went on to post,"what team are you on? don't make up some imaginary team either...for God's sake the color wars are coming!"

Another tweet:

"ok.now lets be hush about the teams thing.lets put away our badges for the time being.color wars will start soon enough.back to normal :)"

Now he's "working on the first challenge..."

I'm not sure where he's going with this but it has the potential to become a flash mob.

Friday, March 14, 2008

How To Get Britney Spears to the Set On Time

How do you get Britney Spears to show up to the set on time for her music video? Make the video animated.

It's kind of weird for me to see Britney Spears half naked or any of the former Mouse Clubbers in a sexy context cause I used to pick up day gigs working on Mickey Mouse Club when I was in my early twenties and Britney was around 11.

All of those kids were tough to wrangle back then but there was one producer named Jimmy Huckabee that all the kids loved. He was very talented writer/producer/director and could get some great performances out of the MMC. Maybe someone should give Jimmy a call now and see if he could help Britney get her act together.

Friday Night is Movie Night

Colton Phiscator just may be on to something. He is into re-cutting two trailers into one. He has several online video mashups that are crosses between two different film trailers and has posted them all over the internet. One is a cross between Napoleon Dynamite and Crank.

He's also cut together a cross between Casino Royale and Dodgeball.

And one for Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Mission Impossible 3.

I'm not sure how long till the Studio Legal Departments mail out their
Cease and desist orders or if this falls under parody.

Any New Media Lawyers out there care to chime in on this one?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stop Calling Me Dude!

Ah this little viral video user generated gem is making it's way through the yahoo video bloggers group today and it is quite the find. Depending on who you are you may experience some different emotions.

I felt sorry for the kid's, happy they were getting it on video tap, scared when the cop grabbed the kid and laughed my ass off when at the end Officer Rivieri says, "I better not see this on YouTube."

I even experienced disappointment when there was a moment when I thought the whole thing was a fake and that C. C. Chapman was playing the cop. Part of me still thinks he was and that Chris Brogan was holding the camera.

I wish skateboarding wasn't a crime.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

BSD Root Error iPhone iPod Touch

The way to get around the BSD root error is as follows: Working from a just restored unnamed by iTunes 1.1.4 firmware. Launch ZiPhone and instead of clicking on Jailbreak start clicking on jailbreak many times and kept clicking on it until the iPod is at the BSD root part. At this point it continues and then close ZiPhone before it finishes.

So why am I sharing this video and these instructions with you?

Well, if you are looking for a way to start creating and monetizing online videos you might get some ideas from watching this video. Is there some hobby or activity that you are into? Do you ever run into problems with that activity? Do you ever go online to find answers for those problems? Creating and sharing videos that solve problems is a great way to get some traction in online video.

The above iPhone Jailbreak ZiPhone video has had over 15,000 views on Revver and the one below has had over 90,000 views on YouTube.

The production value is not great on any of these "How To" videos but it doesn't really matter because viewers just want the info.

WARNING: Don't make videos about things you don't care about.

If you think that something is popular and you should do a video about it and make a series of videos about chances are that if you are not interested in the content you will grow tired, lose interest and you will stop making videos.

Monday, March 10, 2008

MAD TV Spoof Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton

This MAD TV spoof of the Democratic race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton set to the tune of "Umbrella" by Rihanna is topping the charts today with over 4 Million views and counting.

Food Court Musical

I have always said that there are never any real life musicals now there is video proof that I was wrong as 16 Improv Everywhere Agents stage a spontaneous musical in a shopping mall food court in Los Angeles. I totally wish I had been there to see this hidden video being shot it reminds me of all the fun I had producing hidden videos on "What Would You Do?" for Nickelodeon.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Why go to conferences anymore?


The only reason I can see to go to a conference anymore is for the one on one relationship building aspect. Other than that you can get all the information blogged, twittered, pownced, podcasts or live video cast as in the above video from Steve Garfield.

Okay it's still fun to go to the event.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Where are they now?

I got a marketing email from "On Hollywood" - (the conference where I met Schlomo and Eddie and Tim Shey). In the email is a list of the OnHollywood 2007 speakers. I think there might also be some 2006 speakers but that's neither here nor there. What is interesting is to look at the names and the companies and how many have gone to other places in such a short time.

OnHollywood 2007 Speakers:

* Gary Adelson, Managing Director, Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin
* Jeremy Alliare, Founder and CEO, BrightCove
* Michael Arrieta, Senior Vice President, Sony Pictures Digital Sales & Marketing
* Peter Barry, Head of Venture Capital and Emerging
* Technology Initiative, Vodafone
* Pete Blackshaw, CMO & Cofounder, Nielsen BuzzMetrics (formerly Intelliseek)
* Ron Bloom, CEO, PodShow
* Brett Brewer, President, Adknowledge (former president of Intermix Media)
* Jason Calacanis, CEO, Weblogs (An AOL Company)
* Ted Cohen, Senior Vice President, Digital Development and Distribution, EMI
* Satjiv Chahil, Senior VP of Global Marketing Personal Systems Group, Hewlett Packard
* Tim Draper, Managing Partner, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
* Sarah Fay, President, Isobar US
* Jennifer Feikin, Director of Google Video, Google
* Ben Feingold, President, Worldwide Home Entertainment, Digital Distribution and Acquisitions for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
* Erik Flannigan, VP and GM of Entertainment Programming, AOL
* Cynthia Francis, CEO, Reality Digital (Parent Company of ClipShack)
* David Goldberg, VP and GM, Yahoo! Music
* Laura B. Goldberg, COO, Napster
* Jordan Greenhall, CEO, DivX
* Scott Hamilton, CEO, VoodooVox
* Lewis Henderson, Senior Vice President, William Morris
* Mary Hodder, CEO & Founder, Dabble
* Howard Kaushansky, CEO, Umbria
* Jeff Karnes, Director of Multimedia Search, Yahoo!
* Christopher Klaus, CEO, Kaneva
* JD Lasica, Cofounder, OurMedia.org
* Ross Levinsohn, President of Fox Interactive Media, News Corp.
* Drew Massey, CEO ManiaTV!
* Mike Montgomery, Montgomery & Co.
* David Pakman, President & CEO, eMusic
* Scott Raney, Partner, Redpoint Ventures
* Josh Resnick, President & Co-Founder, Pandemic Studios
* Michael Robertson, Founder, MP3.com
* Mika Salmi, Founder & CEO, Atom Entertainment
* Paul Scanlan, Cofounder and COO, MobiTV
* Adrian Sexton, Vice President, Lions Gate Entertainment
* Tim Shey, Rocketboom
* Steven Starr, CEO, Revver
* Mark Stevens, Partner, Fenwick & West
* Kara Swisher, Co-producer, D: All Things Digital
* Jonathan Taplin, Professor, USC Annenberg School for Communications, CEO & Founder of Intertainer
* Larry Tanz, CEO, LivePlanet
* Blair Westlake, Corporate Vice President, Media, Content & Partner Strategy Group, Microsoft
* Bill Wheaton, VP of Digital Media, Akamai
* George Zachary, Partner, Charles River Ventures

And on another note Revver and LiveVideo Team Up.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Zapruder Film Model

Back on November 22, 1963 Abraham Zapruder filmed the assassination of JFK on his Model 414 PD Bell & Howell Zoomatic Director Series Camera and later sold the footage to Time/Life for a bunch of money (Some say $50K some say $150K) and home movie licensing was born.

This week a Lufthansa Airbus had a wingstrike due to cross winds and the footage is on global News and has become a Viral Video on the Internet. I don't know if the German guys who shot it have seen a dime.

Monday, March 3, 2008


According to Towleroad the Jack Nicholson / Hilary Clinton Viral Video was conceived and created by "screenwriter/director John Krokidas and producer Bruce Cohen (American Beauty, Pushing Daisies, and the currently in production Harvey Milk biopic Milk)."

Allstate Girls Doing Well on TV but not on the Internet

According to Karl Greenberg of Marketing Daily RACE DRIVER KASEY KAHNE IS appearing in new ads for Allstate Insurance that extend the company's ad campaign using Kahne and a group of women--the "Allstate Girls"--who adore him unconditionally.

"With these two properties, we feel like we are aligning with one of the top teams and drivers in the sport, as well as with one of the most coveted races on the circuit. Certainly, our Allstate Girls commercials have made us one of the most visible sponsors in the sport.", says Pam Hollander who oversees Allstate's sponsorship programs.

Looks like AllState is creating some characters that can be used to market other AllState products. Interesting concept. Someone should try that on the Internet.(Maybe in French Maid costumes ;) )

The "Allstate Girls" commercials seem to be making Allstate happy with their performance on TV and the chat on the racetrack but these TV commercials don't seem to be performing to well on YouTube.

I do think Allstate could have some fun on the Internet with these characters and really generate some buzz by creating online videos that are organic to the Internet instead of just posting their TV commercials online but I don't see what's in it for the ad agency - accept maybe some awards and a little bit of glory.

That's one of the big problems for online video advertising is that it can be very effective for the advertiser but it doesn't make any money for the ad agency. Until the marketplace develops enough so that ad agencies can spend millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars worth on media we are not going to see the ad agencies create online video campaigns for major TV advertisers on a regular basis because it will eat into their TV budgets and there is no "Time Buy."

I could be wrong on this and please feel free to comment if you think I am cause I would love to see more effective integrated marketing that uses characters in online videos.