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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Free Speech and the Price of Gas

Free speech allows us to say what ever we want and online video is enabling more people than ever to reach millions with free speeches. But some free speech still comes at a price.

Depending on who you are you may think the guy in the above video is a kook. You may have trouble looking past his southern accent to believe any of the outlandish things he says about the US President and the US Vice President. You might not believe that a Baptist minister could say bad things about the President. You may think the video quality is too low to take anything he says as the truth. You may just not know what to think after watching this hour long video but it was number one on Google Video yesterday and it has some very thought provoking statements in it that will get you emotionally engaged if the price of gasoline is somehow affecting your life.

Even if you do believe what this man has to say what can you do about it? Your opinion has no power here. Or does it? What would the cost of your free speech be? If you said what you thought about why gas costs so much would people think you were a kook? Would you be able to change anything? What would other free speakers like Michael Moore have to say about this video? Could people like Obama say anything about this video without paying something in political costs for their speech? Would you risk your life to say something like this in an online video?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Reasons Why You Can't Just Post Your Videos and Make a Living:

Was it Gandhi who said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world" ? I want the world to be silly and fun but I also like dark and scary like what Chris Rule has done with the above Mary Poppins Trailer.

French Maid TV is the most fun I've ever had as a producer. I enjoy everything about it except maybe some aspects of Ad and Sponsorship sales but even that can be fun.

In the past I would attend events and I would kind of mumble the name of my production company that no one had ever heard of. Now when asked what I do I relish in the enjoyment of reading the face of the person who asked me as they process the deadpan delivery of my elevator pitch;

"I do a series of online videos where we take products and services that appeal to young men and have French Maids explain how to use them in a "PG-13" - Austin Powers kind of way."

A silly smile comes over their face before they say something like, "That's brilliant." or "That's hilarious." or "That's going to be hugely successful." (Ah, from their mouths to God's ears.) I then proudly hand them my French Maid TV business card and watch them smile and laugh.

Sure all that and any press I get is great for my ego but you can't pay the bills with compliments and press clippings. As I've said before, I really enjoy producing French Maid TV, the only thing that could make it better is if I had a steady stream of sponsors or could just post my videos and make money. Unfortunately that has not happened yet. Why? There are a few reasons:

5 Reasons Why You Can't Just Post Your Videos and Make a Living:

1. The Marketplace is not developed yet.
There are no "Dating Sites" where sponsors and advertisers can easily find content that they want to advertise on. Don't worry they are coming.

2. Big Advertisers are Cruise Ships and Independent Producers are Speed Boats
According to one of Televisions unsung heroes Lee Hunt, who once said something like, "Television Networks and Studios are like cruise ships that plot their courses a year in advance and creative service companies are like speed boats that service those cruise ships." The same is true of online video producers and large advertisers. Viral Video producers want to get paid now. Advertising agencies and large sponsors pay 30-90 days after every quarter. It's hard for independent producers to float the dept of production for that long and it's hard for big companies to change the way they do business.

3. Playing by the Rules Hasn't Paid Off Yet
Sites like Revver and Blip.TV have been the hopes of Independent Producers. Just upload your videos and get paid 30 days later. These sites carefully screen for copyrighted material but other sites who didn't screen for stolen video and music managed to gain the market share and were purchased by companies with deep pockets. Unfortunately because of their size Revver and Blip.TV haven't been able to get high paying advertisers on a consistent basis yet but they might - so keep your fingers crossed.

4. Scale and Reach
Independent video producers don't reach millions of viewers on their own and large advertisers don't want to deal with a bunch of little mom and pops. However, during the Home Video craze the movie studios did deal with small and medium size distributors who dealt with Mom and Pop Video Stores so there could be some opportunity here.

5. Video Producers Aren't Ad Sales People
Creative people look at the word "SALES" as a four letter word. The funny thing is creative people love the word "PITCH" which is just a different word for sales but for some reason creative people have a hard time coming to Jesus with this. We want agents and sales people to do that for us. Well, there ain't enough of the pie yet for that unless we band together and hire a sales team.

All that said I am trying to create the world I want to see as a independent online video producer and I'm testing it out with French Maid TV. I feel very close to having it working so that I can make a living off of it. Once I have that machine (that uses the best monetizing tools the Internet has to offer) up and working I plan on launching new videos that have nothing to do with French Maids. Video that tell stories that make people laugh and videos that tell stories and scare the crap out of people. I also plan on making my video money making machine available to my friends. Once we have it working for a small group of us I'll roll it out to carefully chosen strangers.

Hopefully together we will have scale, reach and be able to post our videos and make a living or better.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Where Should You Post Your Videos First?

So you have a YouTube channel, a Revver Account, a Blip.TV account, a Video Podcast RSS feed, a Tubemogul account and you have your videos on your own URL but where should you post post your videos first? Well, that boils down to a few questions:

What are your objectives for your online video?

Are you launching something new?
Do you have an established audience?
Are you advertising something?
Do you want more traffic at your site or more subscribers on your RSS?
Do you just want to be Internet Famous?

There different benefits to posting one place vs another and I'm rethinking everything now as things are changing fast and the market place is starting to develop.

Currently I uploaded new French Maid TV videos to Revver then take that video and drop it down my RSS feed. We have thousands of subscribers to the French Maid TV video podcast so dropping that Revver video down the old French Maid TV RSS usually places us on the front page of Revver in a short amount of time and that gets French Maid TV even more views and more money from Revver. Then we post the videos on other sites.

I still think this is a great way to get the viral ball rolling but I'm curious. Do you have a video posting strategy that works for you?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Is Michael Eisner Still Pissed at Steve Jobs?

Last year Michael Eisner said, "Steve Jobs, not the studios, is the one making money on digital distribution," Eisner said at the Media and Money conference according to Remy Davison at Insanely Great Mac.

Yesterday Michael Eisner’s Vuguru and book publisher Putnam, launched the first of a 50 episode online video series called Foreign Body. It's a prequel/promotional vehicle for the soon to be released Robin Cook novel title Foreign Body. The video series is produced for Eisner by my paintball buddies over at Big Fantastic who also did Prom Queen for Michael and sold him their original series Sam Has 7 Friends.

I have great hopes for the Foreign Body series not only as an online video series but as a ground breaking business model for monetizing online video. Eisner has always been and continues to be a man with a vision of the future. (I like to tell this story so if you've heard it before please bear with me.) Years ago I had the fortune to work as a production assistant for Michael on the opening segments of the Disney Sunday Movie where Michael would say, "Hello, I'm Michael Eisner and Welcome to the Disney Sunday Movie." I was a terrible PA, always trying to do more than I was asked to do, but I did manage to learn a lot watching the leader of the Disney empire and how he handled things while he worked.

Way before the Internet, each morning Michael would be handed several sheets of paper that listed all the news worthy items of interest to a CEO of a entertainment conglomerate. Now you can subscribe to Emails, Blogs and RSS feed readers that assemble all the same information but back then when I was a kid I thought this was WAY cool. Another thing I saw Michael do was that he never got mad at anyone. Well at least not that we could see. If something or someone was bothering him he would call over his assistant Art who was also his pitbull. Art would take care of all the dirty work and Michael would smile and say, "Hello, I'm Michael Eisner and Welcome to the Disney Sunday Movie."

Years later as a producer I had the pleasure of traveling the country interviewing Michael Eisner's teachers. I video tapped his kindergarten teacher, the head master of his all boys school and even the professor that Robin Williams' character was based on in Dead Poets' Society. During that project I learned that Ethan Frome was Michael Eisner's favorite book as a young man. Knowing that really makes me examine the way Eisner is playing with online video.

Now I've not spoken with the Big Fantastic boy since they started working on Foreign Body and I sure hope I don't get them in any trouble with this post but I have noticed that the man who seams to be putting the most skin into the original content creation /online video game at the moment is not playing with all of the players.

You can find Vuguru's videos on Youtube, Blip.tv and of course on Veoh the video site that Eisner has invested in but you won't find Prom Queen, Sam Has Seven Friends or Foreign Body on the iTunes Store...yet.

If you visit Foreign Body's website you will find a link to iTunes but when you click on it you get a message, "iTunes Podcast coming soon. Check back June 3rd."

This makes me wonder, Is Michael Eisner still pissed at Steve Jobs? Or has he moved on? Or are there other reasons Michael hasn't been using the iTunes to get the views of his online video up?

Most of us online video producers have found iTunes to be the best thing in launching our viral video successes, including the Big Fantastic guys but for what ever reason Eisner hasn't been embracing Steve Job's wonder toy.

Any ideas?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Are You Obsessed with Miley Cyrus ?!

What's the story on this new video, Obsessed with Miley Cyrus ?! that is climbing the charts?

Did Lisa Nova make it? Help make it?

Are Disney Lawyers going to shut it down for copyright infringement?

Corporate Podcasting the Disneyland Way: Case Study from the Place Where Dreams Come True

The New Media Expo is the world's most popular convention for podcasters, bloggers and online content creators. If you are serious about online video it's an event that you shouldn't miss.

This is part of a weekly blog series that highlights a session or event happening at New Media Expo - hopefully enticing you to come join us online video content creators in Las Vegas August 14-16, 2008.

Michael Geoghegan is one of podcasting's first pioneers, in fact he along with podcaster Dan Klass wrote the first book on podcasting Podcast Solutions: The Complete Guide to Audio and Video Podcasting, Second Edition (Solutions) Besides podcasting for Disneyland Michael also produces the podcasts Grape Radio and Reel Reviews. He's a great speaker and a really nice guy too.

Whether you are a Corporate podcaster or a hobbyist looking to cover your costs Michael will give you insights on how you can make your podcast the best it can be.
Corporate Podcasting the Disneyland Way: Case Study from the Place Where Dreams Come True
Track 3: The Business of New Media
Instructor: Michael Geoghegan of Gigavox Media
Description: Get a backstage pass to the official Disneyland Resort podcast. Join podcast pioneer Michael Geoghegan as he shares the story behind one of the first podcast produced by a Fortune 100 company. Started in 2005 during the 50th Anniversary of Disneyland, the podcast continues to gain popularity and fans worldwide and is now in it's fourth year of production. In this session you'll hear how the podcast originally started and has evolved over the years, how the various departments came together to cooperate, and how "buy-in" at all levels was needed to make the corporate podcasting initiative a success from the first episode. You'll also see how the show is able to serve the needs of the listeners and fulfill Disneyland's mission and core values equally. Finally, you'll learn about other projects Michael's independent production company has been involved with - from GrapeRadio.com to local chambers of commerce. Attendees will leave this session knowing what it takes to make a large corporate podcasting campaign a success.
You might also want to Book your hotel now and get your free Expo Hall Pass before the price increase.

New Media Expo

Friday, May 23, 2008

Steve Chen Learned to Tie His Tie on YouTube

CNBC's Maria Bartiromo sits down with YouTube co-founder Steve Chen with a CNBC Exclusive interview where he tells us that he learned to tie his tie on YouTube.


The Deaths of My Heros

Alfred Hitchcock died on April 29, 1980. Benny Hill Died: April 20, 1992. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas died May 22, 2008 with the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Now don't get me wrong, the new Indiana Jones movie is entertaining it's just not Steven Spielberg and George Lucas entertaining. From a story perspective it felt very lazy. It felt like they had lost their fire to tell a compelling story with a choice for Indiana at the end of the movie.

It's fun to see Indiana again and Harrison Ford does his usual performance and is great but this is a movie of spectacle and very little story. Indiana Jones has no compelling reason to go on the quest he goes on and although Cate Blanchett gives an awesome performance as the villain there is no sexual tension between her and Indiana.

Hey, who am I to criticize these masters who by the age of 25 had accomplished more than I have in my entire life? I'm a fan. A fan who got into entertainment because of these two men. Someone who has adored them and everything they have done well, except Howard the Duck.

There were many scenes in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull that reminded me of other George Lucas and Steven Spielberg movies. The open is a nod to American Graffiti, there's a 50's diner and chase scene that both feel like Back to the Future, there's a chase scene that reminds me of the astonishing forest chase on the green moon of Endor in the Star Wars trilogy. I won't spoil anything for those of you that haven't seen it but believe it or not there are things that will remind you of ET and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Heck, there are even two scenes that remind me of the George Lucas produced Captain EO the 3D Michael Jackson movie that played at EPCOT and Disneyland.

This is sad to me in so many ways and I feel sacrilegious even blogging about it but I feel compelled to say something. What were they thinking? Where was the choice for the main character that threw us back through all the other films to realize that Darth Vader was Luke's father? Where were the weaker side kicks that in a pinch would step up to the plate and save Indiana Jones at the last second? Where were the near death situations where Indiana would find a solution that saved his own life in a funny way? Where were the finger prints of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg? More importantly, where was the story telling of Lawrence Kasdan?

Maybe these guys should give up movie making and find something they could care about like... online videos.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How To Turn Your Marketing Depertment Into a Profit Center

Today I'm at Executing Social Media Conference and I'm really enjoying George Wright's presentation about Blendtec's Social Media Marketing and how it has turned Blendtec's marketing department into a profit center.

Described as the “The best viral marketing campaign ever,” George Wright’s Will it Blend? viral marketing campaign has changed the face and the future of online marketing. It's been seen by millions on Youtube, Revver,programs like the Today Show and the Tonight Show and as reported by the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, and Forbes, Will it Blend? has delivered a 500 percent increase in sales for a small blender company while delivering unprecedented awareness for a company with an initial investment of $50. George has a proven track record of delivering strategic thinking, brand awareness and cutting-edge marketing and advertising strategy to local and international corporations to drive strategic, sustainable growth. These successful strategies and tactics can be adapted and implemented by any company and do not require a large investment. During his career, George has produced award-winning campaigns and is the recipient of multiple awards, including the .net Award for the best viral marketing site, 2006 Clio Award finalist, YouTube Awards short list, PRSA’s Silver Anvil, IABC’s Golden Spike Award, and 2007 Best of Broadband.

Some of George's points about what you need to be successful in your social media is that your social media should be entertainment. It shouldn't take people away from what they want to watch it should be what they want to watch.

Your social media marketing should demonstrate a real product sponsored by real manufacturer and be based on real people and have interactivity with comments suggestions on what your audiences wants. It should also have a simple user subscription

According to George there are some risks in using social media. You do surrender control and leave yourself open to public scrutiny of your content. The trick is to tell the truth and your audience will stick up for you.

George says that it all started out when he first started working at Blendtec and stumbled the companies CEO Tom Dickerson who was shoving a 2x4 into a blender to test out some new ball bearings. George grabbed a video camera and spent $50 on a few other products and the rest is history.

Blendtec's Will It Blend videos have had over 46 million views on YouTube,
71 million views on Will It blend.com and has 100,000 plus subscribers of their RSS feed.

Blendtec's marketing department is now a profit center for the Utah based 180 employee company that makes commercial and home appliances making over $50,000 on Revver as well as selling DVDs and ringtones of their theme music.

George says that he still has old media coming to him to ask if he wants to spend big bucks on advertising and he thinks their crazy. George loves to say that, "...social media is not new media it's what's happening now."

He ended his presentation by doing a live demo and blending a garden rake that he just bought at the local Pasadena Home Depot.

How To Effectively Pitch Your Show to a Sponsor: Step-by-Step Prospecting, Intro Call, Deal Structure, Follow Up and Closing the Sale

The New Media Expo is the world's most popular convention for podcasters, bloggers and online content creators. If you are serious about online video it's an event that you shouldn't miss.

Today I'm starting a weekly blog series that highlights a session or event happening at New Media Expo - hopefully enticing you to come join us online video content creators in Las Vegas August 14-16, 2008.

Last year one of the best sessions with the most useful take-away information was Susan Bratton's session about the business side of getting advertisers and sponsors. This year the Dishymix of Personal Life Media returns to the New Media Expo with:
How To Effectively Pitch Your Show to a Sponsor: Step-by-Step Prospecting, Intro Call, Deal Structure, Follow Up and Closing the Sale
Track 3: The Business of New Media
Instructor: Susan Bratton of Personal Life Media

Description: Description: You want to sell advertising and sponsorships into your content, but it's not your area of expertise. Susan artfully covers everything you need to know to successfully pitch your content to an agency or marketer. Susan's candor and insight combined with running an interactive session make this a must-attend event. Learn how to find and engage prospects with a professionally developed pitch. Understand how agencies work with clients and exactly whom you should pitch. Walk through a mock introduction call so you'll know just what to say. Understand the client's strategy by asking the right revealing questions so you can craft a proposal that gets to "yes!" Review various forms of advertising and how to combine online and audio/video ads to create a robust sponsorship program that performs for your advertiser and shows ROI, even if your audience numbers are small. Learn to create value beyond CPM to maximize revenue. Ad units, standard rates and advertising buzzwords will be explained. Susan explains insertion orders, media kits, collecting and presenting demographic profiles, RFP's, proposal generation and invoicing. Most importantly, you'll learn how to be pleasingly persistent, handle rejection and keep motivated. You will leave feeling informed, organized and confident about presenting your show to sponsors.

The New Media Expo conference web site has outstanding resources including the Official New Media Expo podcast and various podcaster templates and documents.

Oh, you might also want to book your hotel now and get your free Expo Hall Pass before the price increase.

New Media Expo

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Would You Be Happy with 2 Million Views in Less than a Month?

In my mind 1 million views on YouTube = a Viral Video but would you be happy with just a million views on YouTube? Would you be happy if you were Nike?

Also, how long should it take for those one million views to happen?

A virus is a virus and some viruses spread faster than others. Some viruses can stay contained until conditions are right for them to spread. The same thing can be said about viral videos. When the timing is right they can spread like wildfire. Sometimes a video can be posted and get no views and then someone blogs about it and that video goes viral.

In Nike's Nike Football (soccer) spot "NEXT LEVEL" which was posted on April 28, 2008, the long version has managed to rack up over 1.3 Million views in less than a month and the shorter version has had 520,886 but is that really going to move the needle for Nike?

The spot itself is emotionally engaging even if you're not into soccer. It's full of spectacle and story that's sexy and funny but it's a commercial and if you were paying a $30 CPM for 2 Million views you would pay $60,000. So if Nike posted these two versions of the Next Level spot on YouTube for free they saved $60k. That might pay for a few extra runs of a 30 second during a ESPN showing of a soccer game but not enough for one Super Bowl commercial.

Keep in mind advertisers pay ad agencies to pay commercial production companies hundreds of thousands of dollars to create spots like the Nike Next Level spot but with the music, all the pro scoccer players in it and Guy Richie directing my guys is that Nike's Next Level cost 1 million to 2 million dollars to produce - maybe more if it was produced using Euros and you consider the exchange rate.

Now if you are an independent content producer advertisers and ad agencies aren't going to pay you millions or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce one episode of your show but they will pay to sponsor it. As an online video publisher you can charge a sponsor a $30 CPM ($30 for ever 1000 views) to sponsor an episode of your online video and you could be walking away with $60k in less than a month. Based on that my guess is that you would be pretty happy with 2 million views in less than a month.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Don't be Dissin' The Twitter

Tim Bourquin, the Founder and CEO of TNC New Media the company behind the New Media Expo has said some things on his blog and in his news letter about Twitter that I take issue with. Rather than post my comments on his blog I will share them with you here. (cause I needed a good post today)

Let me start off by saying that I like and respect Tim Bourquin and his brother Emile Bourquin. They put on the best show for new media content creators and I will be speaking there in Las Vegas August 14-16.

The title of Tim's post is "Social Networking. Not Social. Not Networking."

and part of the post:

"I’ve always thought of “social networking” as a bit of a misnomer. Sitting in front of a computer screen writing 140 character messages on Twitter or commenting on a blog or tagging photos on Facebook doesn’t feel like networking to me - and honestly, it doesn’t feel very social either. Having a beer with friends and colleagues = social. Talking shop with someone I just met at a reception = networking.
Now granted, I’m a conference organizer, so “old-fashioned” meetups with people is how I believe “real” social networking takes place. So I had to laugh today when I read a blog post that had the following line:
“Twitter has been down for about an hour - how are you spending the time?”
As if Twitter was the only way to spend time and finding other things to do was a challenge! Has it really gotten that bad for some people?
If every website and email server worldwide went down for several hours during a weekday, I might actually be wondering myself how to spend that time. Picking up the phone and making a few calls would probably be the answer. But a single site?"

I think Tim needs to get with the program. Like a phone, Twitter is a tool. A new tool that people are just learning to use. A tool that informs, entertains and a tool that creates community and even conflict.

To me Tim sounds like an old sales guy who says he doesn't need to use a computer. I think Tim has just not found how to make Twitter work for him yet. But I know he will.

I'm sure Tim has seen people come to his events. They stand in the corner and never approach anyone. They don't know how to network at an event. Then they shoot Tim an email after the event is over and tell Tim they didn't meet anyone at his conference.

I've not yet made a sponsorship sale for French Maid TV by using Twitter but I am very close to closing a sponsorship deal in which I know my Tweets (I like to call them "Twitters" but that's not cool) got the ball rolling.

Now I must give Tim Bourquin some credit, he is not the only one out there complaining about or having trouble getting their heads around Twitter. Andrew Baron (@andrewbaron) of Rocketboom has said, "I'm still not happy with how I use my Twitter account. 'Still trying to find a good use for it." and Search Guru John Battelle (@John Battelle) who is still lurking and learning how best to use Twitter said that he's not yet following lots of people on twitter because he thinks that the publishers that he represents would, "think it's most imp. for me to take that next client call.."

Twitter is a new tool but it's also the water cooler of our group's "now" and just like a water cooler in an office building there are some folks who are goofing off hanging around the water cooler but there are other folks who are learning important information on how to do their job better.

Take for example Pete Cashmore (@mashable) CEO of Mashable.com He has made good use of Twitter and keeps us all informed of breaking news items he's posted on his blog. Steve Garfield ( @stevegarfield ) of Steve Garfield.com let's us know when he's found a new gadget or is streaming live from some place that we want to see. And Scott Beale ( @laughingsquid ) of laughingsquid.com shares his photos from the coolest hippest events around.

I'm use to working in an office full of people and because of that I never used IM except in rare cases but now that I've downsized and work alone until I'm in production I use Twitter as a gateway to other humans as well as a clearing house to find out what the latest cool Internet posting are and what events are going on that might be of interest to me. I've also started meeting new people who are approaching me about consulting for them. All this reminds me of when I was a young freelance line producer at Disney MGM Studios in Florida.

When I would get done with a gig or was close to finishing a shoot I would hang out in the client lounge at The Post Group at the Disney MGM Studios. I knew that the client lounge was where producers who could hire me would be hanging out while their project was going through the final editing process and that soon they would be starting a new job in which they might need a line producer. It was the water cooler of Disney MGM and I got many a job hanging out there and drinking free Coke. Every once in awhile I would get a free lunch too. Other freelancers came for the free cokes and chat but I saw that client lounge as a networking tool.

Twitter is the water cooler of our community and of other communities that I don't belong to. I've already got a few free drinks because of Twitter, gone to some great parties because of Twitter and networked with great people because of Twitter.

So Don't Be Dissin' The Twitter!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What the Hell Are the Lonely Girl 15 Guys Doing?

On Thursday, May 08, 2008 www.beet.tv caught up with lonelygirl15 founders Miles Beckett and Greg Goodfried who are building digital studio "We're Going to Teach Hollywood How to Do it Right" and to do that they have raised $5 million.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

CBS Will Lonelygirlize its TV Shows

New Tee Vee reports that CBS will Lonelygirlize its TV shows.

Miles Beckett's and Greg Goodfried's new production company EQAL has inked a deal with CBS.

According to New Tee Vee "Under the terms of the deal, CBS will have a first look at EQAL’s new shows (right now its roster is pretty light, with just lonelygirl15 and the soon-to-conclude KateModern). Meanwhile, EQAL’s Miles Beckett and Greg Goodfried will help CBS bring its current and future TV shows onto online and mobile platforms. That includes consulting but also writing, producing and directing “brand extensions,” and working with CBS writers to actually bring the online stuff into the plots of the shows."

How Do You Have a Conversation with Your Audience?

One of the big differences between new media and traditional media is that we can have a conversation with our audience. Ask A Ninja has people send in questions for the Ninja, It's All in Your Hands has the audience has it's viewers steer which way the story goes and French Maid TV well... French Maid TV has had some issues because the audience wants to have a conversation that advertisers and sponsors would not be interested in even though it is a very emmotionally engaging conversation.

That said, I'm not giving up on having a conversation with the viewers and I'm looking for your help. One idea I have is to have the French Maids respond to "How To" suggestions from the viewers so if you have a "How To" that you would like the French Maids to cover or you have a suggestion for a better conversation for the French Maids to have that advertisers would be interested in please let me know.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Will QuickTime be used by Online Video Advertisers?

Will online video advertisers and online video ad networks ever use QuickTime the way they are using the latest version of Flash?

YouTube, Revver, YuMe, SpotXChange and many other online video portals and online video ad networks are using Flash to deliver ads but flash doesn't play on the iPhone or iPod .

Companies like Podaddies, Volo and Castfire all make if possible to deliver ads in video podcasts but the video ad networks don't seem to care because they have advertisers who want real time stats on their ads. I personally much prefer watching QuickTime videos over Flash but Flash has won the first round in online video advertising.

Will Apple make a come back with QuickTime? Do they have something up their sleeve with the new release of the new 3G iPhone? What will the best reviews of the new 3G iPhone tell us?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Do You Need to Record iSight Video and Upload to YouTube in One CLick?

Move over Max Headroom Google has announced vidnick. The video diary maker that allows you to use your Mac's camera to make movies and upload them to YouTube. "Record video segments using your iSight camera and upload them to YouTube."

Friday, May 9, 2008

When Will Online Video Creators Become Rich?

People are always asking me. When will it happen?" "When is it going to happen?" I assume that when they ask me this they are asking: When will online video creators see a lot of money?

Well first let's talk about who has seen money so far.

Miles Beckett and Greg Goodfried, the guys who created Lonelygirl 15 and the spin-off KateModern got $5 million but that isn't 5 million they get to keep. That's $5 million in Series A venture funding that they are using to launch Eqal, their new “social entertainment” production company.

Kent Nichols and Douglas Sarine of Ask A Ninja gross $100,000 per month in advertising revenue but they do have to pay other people out of that money. On the other hand, they landed a book deal and a writing/directing gig for the remake of the classic film “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”. With that they stand to take home more money than what they bring in with advertising on Ask A Ninja.

Wallstrip got $5 Million from CBS. I don't know if they got to keep the money but they did have to go to work for CBS.

None of these examples show a producer posting a video and getting rich. Each of these online video series are examples of people creating businesses with online videos and there will be more people who are going to make money in online videos by creating businesses.

If you aren't planning on creating a business out of your online video you might make a little money, but you will not become rich. That said, I'm sure there will be some kid that creates a video that goes viral and then a large company may pay money to buy or license that video but I wouldn't plan on that as your exit strategy.

Recently I had a friend come to me with a great idea for a viral video, A HOME RUN viral video idea but I can't see a way to make money with the idea right now. Unfortunately it is a timely idea and as each day ticks by it loses value and any chance of going viral. I don't see a way of getting a sponsor for his viral idea. I don't see how I could get video ads up and running fast enough to make any money so I had to pass on doing it. My friend is pretty upset with me because he thinks if we make this video it will go viral and we will get "Big Deals" out of it. Well I've said it before and I'll say it again, fame without fortune turns you into Joey Buttafuoco.

If I had another video go viral what would it get me? A big Hollywood agent? I already have one. Meetings with Movie Studios and TV Networks? I already go on those. A job with a media company? I don't want one. I want to be able to create, distribute and license my own content and make a living off of it. I think I'm very close to seeing that happen and when I have that in place I will launch new videos that have nothing to do with French Maids.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying don't create viral videos. I'm saying if you create them try to think of a business plan to make money before you post them and get the money making machine in place. Chances are no one is going to pat you on the head and say, "Great video, here's 5 Million dollars."

Imaging being a prospector during the early days of the California gold rush. You have traveled across country before anyone else. You have bought axes, picks, shovels and even a pair of new fangled denim trousers. You stake your claim, start digging and find gold. You go into town and they don't take gold as payment yet. You have to convert that gold into cash before you can buy anything with it.

If you create a viral video with millions of views you have struck gold but there's no place to use that gold until you convert it. But unlike real gold you can't exchange your millions of views for cash. You have to find a way of convincing someone that you can strike gold again. That might be a sponsor. That might be a production company. That might be an advertising network. That might be a DVD distributor.

If you look back at the California gold rush the people who sold the axes, picks and shovels made the most money as did the other suppliers who enabled the prospectors to dig or pan for gold by proving food clothing, shelter and even sex. Now the only two companies that I can think of that are still around today are, the company that made the denim trousers, Levi Strauss and the company that turned the gold dust into cash, Wells Fargo. I'm sure there were some individual minors that struck it rich and cashed out but there is no one stand out prospector that we all know by name. My point is, you might become rich from posting a video that goes viral but chances are that you won't and you won't make any real money unless you figure out a business. It may be the Internet and Online video may be the hot thing but unless you can turn your videos into a business you aren't going to make and money and until you can build a market for your business you will not become rich.

What do I mean by a market? Well, you could have a market of one like Wallstrip did with CBS or you could have a market of millions (and a wine book) like Gary Vaynerchuk's Wine Library TV .

There are many ways to convert your "gold" into cash. Tim Bourquin from the New Media Expo has posted 26 slides that tell you how but you have to pick your poison. You have to figure out how you are going to convert your gold dust into cash. Once we all do that we will have a market place. Once we have a market place will make money and if more people like your business more that the rest of our bussiness's you will become rich.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

How do you get the word out about your online video series?

So you've created an online video series and it's awesome. Your friends love it. Your cast loves it. Your Mom loves it (Don't forget to find some good gifts for Mothers' Day May 11th). And more importantly, you love it.

Now what?

What plan do you have for getting the word out about your new video?

"Oh, I'll just upload it to YouTube and I'll be famous"


That's like, "I'll just make an Independent Film and get it into Sundance and I'll be rich."


Do you have a blog?

Do you have your own website?

Are you an active member of a Yahoo Group?

Do you have thousands of Twitter or Facebook friends?

Do you have one friend who has all these things?

What are you doing to build your word of mouth marketing network and more importantly what marketing tools are you creating?

Studios and TV Networks finance productions or acquire content and then licenses that content to other distribution channels or send it down their own. They also provide marketing and publicity for their library of content.

Studios and TV NETWORKS market first to the industry and then to consumers.

Every May the Cable and Network TV companies converge on New York and rent out big theaters and halls like Carnegie Hall to hold events that they call "Upfronts."

These conferences are an opportunity for networks to get advertisers and media buyers emotionally excited about current and new shows so that they will spend billions of dollars in advertising.

Each new show will have a new trailer cut for it so that advertisers don't have to watch the whole thirty minute show to decide if they want to buy the advertising inventory. That upfront trailer will then be shown to the packed theater. Sometimes the stars of the show will come out on stage and say a word or two. Occasionally with older shows a heart tugging recap reel will be put together and played for the theater of advertisers to remind them of all the great programming the TV Nework has done. Here's one of those from 2004:

This year, the TV Networks will be presenting online video content to advertisers with the same emotionally compelling creative marketing tools that they have used in television to go after advertising dollars for the web.

What marketing tools have you put together to go after advertising?

If you don't have any marketing tools, you better start thinking about creating some because just having a great video that you believe in and your friends and mom like doesn't mean an advertiser is going to watch it. They don't even watch the TV shows they buy advertising on - even if they have big stars. Why would they waist their time watching your online video series?

If you have any links to your marketing tools or know of some good marketing presentations for other online videos please post some links in the comments of this post.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Spot Runner Gets $51Million

According to PaidMedia.org Spot Runner just got $51 Million Dollars.


Someone had a lot of time on their hands and access to all of the right high quality news footage clips. Humm.... I wonder how that happened?

Check out the second installment of "The Obamacles: a unique chronicling of the 2008 presidential election." 847,314 views as of May 6, 2008.

How Do You Make a Trailer or Promo That Competes with Hollywood?

Boing Boing SuperStar Blogger and all around nice guy CORY DOCTOROW did a great post this morning about the Return of the Moon-Nazis from Star Wreck creators but he didn't really talk about the Kick ASS emotionally compelling Teaser Trailer that looks like it was made by a Hollywood Movie Trailer company.

Do you know of any other Independent Online Video Trailers or Promos that are "Key Art" Award Winner Quality?

What Questions Should You Ask an Online Video Portal?

If someone emails or calls you and tells you they love your videos and want them on their site what questions should you ask them?

Here are Tim Street's 7 questions you should ask an online video portal:

1. Do you have a way I can make money if I give you my videos?

2. Do you have advertisers on your site?

3. Do you have a rev share deal?

4. Do you have a licensing deal?

5. How much do you pay and how often do you pay?

6. Do you have a control panel where I can login and see my revenue?

7. Do you have other producers that have already paid money that I could speak with?

If they have trouble answering these 7 questions be very careful about placing your videos on their site.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Daisy Says Stay On Your Toes!

From New Media Minute: Power of Indie Web Video Fans
"Daisy Whitney has a warning for small Web video production studios: “You guys have to stay on your toes.” In her latest New Media Minute, Daisy talks about the money power of the major studios and why it’s important for smaller producers to stay in tune in with their fan base. Just look at Black20’s David Price, who rallied his fans all the way to a wild-card spot in the Hottest Male Web Video Host competition. Check out the latest video and make your beefcake picks at TVWeek.com!"

So it seems like she's telling all you Indie Hunks out there that: Watch out for the big guys, Shorter is better and if you didn't get in the first time have your friends write in and change her mind.

Or something like that.

Viral Videos Declaired as New Form of Mass Entertainment by IAB CEO

Beet.TV Interviews Randall "Randy" Rothenberg, president and CEO of the IAB where he states, "short form viral videos are a new form of mainstream entertainment. It's no longer R&D. It's no longer experimental.Take it all together what we've found, what we're finding, is that we have created a new form of mass entertainment. It's reach is as signifigant - actually it's reach is more signifigant than that of television." "The fact that's it all based on oped-in, the people make an affirmative decision to send it to people and that the people to whom it's sent make an affirmative decision to watch it means it's far more engaging, vastly more engaging than any previous form of video."

The IAB is expected to announce Online Video Advertising Standards later today.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

How is the High Price of Gas Affecting Your Online Video Production?

Is the high price of gas affecting your video productions?

Are you shooting your online videos at home instead of going to an event or on location?

Are you finding that less actors are coming to your auditions?

Like it or not the high prices for gas are here to stay. We have told the big oil companies that we don't want to buy their products anymore and that we are going to work on alternatives for energy so that we will no longer have to depend on their products. Big oil knows we are going to be doing everything we can do stop using their products, so why should they lower their prices?

If you were shooting video for a client and they told you that they would soon be buying a new camera and shooting their own videos would you lower your price knowing that you would soon be out of work?

If you are looking for some ways for saving money here are 3 tips on saving gas money.

1. Slow Down - Traveling too fast and driving erratically uses more gas.

2. Avoid Idling - Turn your car off when ever you can. Don't use drive-thrus. Park and go inside.

3. Use Public Transportation - Some cities offer low cost or no cost public transportation. Who knows you might get some great new story ideas or discover some new characters.

For more tips on saving gas money visit: http://fueleconomy.gov/

If you are interested in keeping this conversation going let me know what ways your online video productions have changed because of the price of gas?

As for me, I've been trying to do my part by carpooling to events and parties, ridding the bus and train to meetings and I'm plaining on having my next casting calls in the more centrally located Hollywood instead of Pasadena.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Are People Ready To Pay Money for Long Form Niche Content?

Jules Watkins from the UK writes in with the following email:

Hi Tim,

Read your blog with interest.

I wanted to get an opinion. I am a TV Producer Director based in the UK and shoot and make shows for all the major networks eg BBC, Channel 4. Sky, MTV UK etc.

I want to break out of this and make shows I own the rights to. My idea is for 30 mins shows to put on download services like BT (as cable network that charges per view) as well as itunes and even direct from a purpose built site.

I realize short videos do well over time..but is there a demand for longer episodes especially as some download services play straight to your TV.

The shows will be niche eg video gaming doc with an entertaining twist and I am sure the exact angle isn't really available on mainstream TV.

My question is do you think people are ready to pay money for niche long form content other than big brand shows like Ugly Betty etc! or like ebooks and niche blogs will people pay say $4 - 6 $ for a show they just cant see anywhere else.

i estimate each 30 mins show to cost between $20000 and $30000 dollars to make, I will direct and shoot and rough edit and get an editor to polish and get a proper sound mix.

I can finance the first myself..am i taking to big a risk? Can I make a good profit?

I realize it would be good to get a sponsor first but as this would be a first for me doing it under my own name not via an established company it could be tricky to get cash in advance..maybe it would come after when I could show them it finished?

many thanks,


Thanks for the the email Jules.

I think it is possible to make long form niche content that people will pay for but you have to be very careful about what you make, how much it costs and how you market and promote that content.

My advise would be to do a test first of something that emotionally moves you personally is in a niche that you are passionate about and doesn't cost more than $5,000 to produce. For the sake of this conversation let's say that your child has been diagnosis with autism.

Creating a video that explains to parents what they can expect in dealing with an autistic child and how to cope with it as a family might be a long form niche video that people would pay for now. It wouldn't cost a lot to produce the video and if it was informative and actually gave good take away advice people would buy it for themselves and for friends and family.

In creating this Coping with Autism video I would also create a blog and an audio or video podcast that would build a conversation to develop an audience through contextual search. (I apologize to those of you who came here through search hoping to find a video about Coping with Autism - I'm just using this as an example.) This "audience conversation" is what makes the Internet so different and so much more powerful than traditional Television. I wish I could have a conversational audience with French Maid TV but the conversation that my viewers want to have with the French Maids are not the types of conversations that advertisers want to see their products next to - so I'm still noodling that one. Please let me know if you have any ideas.

A few other things to consider are:

1. Selling Long Form Video Online is Still a Pain in the Ass
Even though there are some download services that play straight to your TV, currently you can not sell long form independent videos on popular download sites like iTunes unless you are a major distributor. There are small sites out there and you could sell your own video on your own site but if you need to sell thousands of copies to recupe your costs it ain't going to happen unless you have lightening in a bottle, you are an expert at online viral marketing or you have a huge marketing budget.

2. You Don't Have a Huge Marketing Budget
Studios and TV Networks are the biggest costumers of Television advertising. TV Networks use their own air time to promote their own shows and movie studios use TV advertising to get your butt in the theater seat. You will have to come up with a marketing plan and incredible "Key Art" that will cut through the clutter or no one will ever find your long form video.

3. You Don't Have a Huge Marketing Budget
I'm writing this one again because most of us independent content creators are passionate about our creations to the point of impairing our hearing and our good judgment. We love our own projects so much that it's hard to believe that no one would consider buying our interactive DVD / digital yarn about a woman getting revenge on her married ex-lover through building a "tell all" Vlog with videos and photos of his escapades with other women. (Let me know if you want to buy a copy for $10. I still have a few left.)

4. The Market Place Isn't Built Yet
This point pretty much echoes the fact that it's a pain in the ass to sell long form video online but the fact of the matter is most people like to watch long form video on their TV and there is still no easy way (as in changing a channel easy) to get content from the Internet to your TV.

All that said, I think it's fairly unlikely that right now you could spend $20,000 on a long form video and see a return on your investment unless you have something that is really, really, really great, people want it and they can't get anything like it anywhere else, you are a master of viral marketing or you have a huge marketing budget.

I am aware of several new websites that are creating portals where you will be able to sell your long form online videos and audiences will be able to watch them on TV without a ton of hassle so the market place is being built. Think of the music industry and study who has been a successful online artist and what they have done to sell there songs online.

Once you are able to discover and watch any Internet video on your TV with the same ease of use of discovering and listening to music on your PC you will be able to produce and sell your own long form content but until then I say keep your content short, use it to set the stage for your long form videos and start putting that viral marketing plan together because you are going to need something really special to cut through the clutter.

I'm not saying, "Don't do it." I'm saying, "Don't do it just yet."

Someone is going to be able to produce and sell a video online that is going to make millions of Pounds and that someone might be you.

Thanks again for the email Jules. Let's keep the conversation going.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

When Should You Give Your Content Away for FREE?

So when should you give your content away for free?

I say never.

When you are first starting out and you are trying to get noticed one strategy might be to place your content everywhere you can but in that instance you aren't really giving your content away for free, you are using your content for marketing promotion. Another strategy might be to create promos for your videos and post the promos everywhere and keep your videos on your own site.

If you have sponsored content that is baked in, like what we've done with French Maid TV (for GoDaddy.com, iLike.com, Barterbee.com and Tubes), your sponsor may want you to place it everywhere you can and in that case you are not giving it away for free your sponsor is paying you to super distribute it.

After you are a successful online producer and your online videos are being viewed millions of times a month you don't need to give your videos away. Advertisers will place ads next to your videos and video portals like Revver.com and Blip.tv will share advertising revenue with you. Maybe you can sell your own ads on your own site or a copy of your online videos on DVD or a high res version of your viral videos as a download.

But what if you get a call or an email from a website or mobile aggregator who just "LOVES" your show? What if they tell you how smart you are and how clever and funny your videos are, should you give them your videos?

Well, if they have a rev share and they have advertisers and they have other content creators that have already been paid money that you have spoken with, then seriously consider putting your videos on their site.

If they don't have a rev share or they don't yet have advertisers or they won't let you talk to any other content producers who are making money with them and they are not willing to pay you a licensing fee...


These guys are calling you because they have two problems:

1. They don't have enough good content

2. They don't have advertisers

They need your content to get advertisers and if you have emotionally compelling content that you give them people will watch it, you won't get paid and they might, I say "might" get an advertiser out of it. When and if they do get an advertiser they will be tired of your content and feature something new on the front page of their site.

Keep your content on your own site unless you are getting something for putting it on someone else's site.

Video and mobile sites are paying their employees to help them find advertisers and if they are using you and your content they should be paying you as well.

So if the emails and calls start coming for your wonderful funny online videos that they "LOVE" don't give your content away, ask them if they have a rev share. Ask them if they have advertisers. Ask them if they have other producers who have already been paid. If they can't give you any of that ask them if they would be willing to pay you a licensing fee. Depending on how popular your videos are you might ask for $500 a month you might ask for $5000 a month. Maybe just ask them if they are willing to pay something and then start negotiating from there.

What do you have to lose?

Google Ads on TV

Mashable Reports that Google now allows you to place ads on TV.

You need to have a TV ad first or you can customize someone else's ... ;)