24 hours of Happy stole her video

Did Pharrell Williams Plagiarize Happy Video?

Did Pharrell Williams Happy music video plagiarize Anne Marsen‘s dancing video as seen on Vimeo in 2011?

Happy is almost a shot-for-shot reproduction of this dancer's 2011 video "Girl Walk All Day"

Happy is almost a shot-for-shot reproduction of this dancer’s 2011 video “Girl Walk All Day”

 

In this video, the dancer shows how Happy was almost a shot-by-shot reproduction of Marsen’s 2011 video titled “Girl Walk // All Day.” Her video showing the theft is titled “Pharrell Likes My Work.” But it’s so close, it seems like she has a decent case for copyright infringement. Or at least warrants a public apology or acknowledgement by Pharrell and Yoann Lemoine, the creative director of Happy’s music video.

Pharrell Loves My Work from Anne Marsen on Vimeo.

 

 

YouTubers Get Love from Yahoo, Google and Disney

Yahoo, Disney and Google are proving that being popular on YouTube matters.

Yahoo, Disney and Google are proving that being popular on YouTube matters.

It’s a good time to be a YouTuber… or at least own a popular YouTube channel. We’re seeing the online-video landscape mature, and start to resemble how networks and studios connect. The networks (Disney, Yahoo, YouTube) are working with studios (online-video studios and some individual partners/channels) in some interesting ways….

What’s interesting about these big moves is how markedly different this is from the past behavior of these companies.

  • We saw Disney making some early bets with its own home-grown online-video content. Remember Stage 9?
  • Yahoo contacted me and other YouTubers around 2008 to discuss potential revenue-sharing deals. They were considering exclusivity at the time, and that’s a deal breaker for YouTubers that won’t give up their primary audience.
  • And Google? It hasn’t even marketed itself well, much less its partners. And who would ever imagined the tech-engineering company would advertise YouTube partners on TV, print or outdoor? They’re doing it, but you know it pains them.

So what’s all this mean?

  • These events don’t impact your typical YouTuber, but the winners of the Yahoo/Google efforts will be the YouTube creators with large audience and studio representation by one of the online-video networks. That’s because Yahoo and Google will have to deal with the complexities of Discovery to get to Revision3 content, and Disney to get to Maker channels/creators.
  • But watch for partnerships between Yahoo and smaller studios like Fullscreen, BigFrame and Collective. 
  • And what about Google’s efforts to promote YouTubers beyond the YouTube regulars? I would expect to see “the rich get richer,” because it’s most likely to promote the proven content with top views. So like a marathon’s second half, we’ll see an increasing distance between the leaders and the rest.
  • There will surely be some more attempts to lock creators and studios to “exclusive” arrangements, although Yahoo won’t get anywhere requiring that of popular YouTubers. But it makes sense. TV shows don’t get to broadcast on every channel. The networks pick the shows, and promote them to “their” audience. We’ll see that happening with top YouTube channels in coming months and years, which is why YouTube will have to work harder to cultivate relationships and keep stars/channels.

What’s your take? And where is the Global Online Video Association in all of this? How about a POV, Kontonis?

 

jim meskimen in impression guys

Best Web Series of 2014: The Impression Guys by Soul Pancake

“The Impression Guys” is the best online-video series of 2014. Get a bowl of oatmeal, pull out your phone, and check it out. So far episode one and episode two have launched, and new episodes are each Monday.

It’s produced by Soul Pancake, which was founded by Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office). It also features Angela Kinsey (who was Angela Martin in The Office), and this week’s episode (number 2) featured Matt Jones from Breaking Bad.

Jim Meskimen and Ross Marquand play tortured optimists who are trying to shift from impressionism to character acting.

Jim Meskimen and Ross Marquand play tortured optimists who are trying to shift from impressionism to character acting.

But the duo that carries the series so far is Jim Meskimen (playing Jim Marshall) and Ross Marquand (as Ross Marvin). Long-time readers of WVFF will know I’ve had a long-time creative crush on Meskimen, who is the voice behind the infamous JibJab cartoons. He’s a masterful impressionist who also is a really sweet guy. His mom is Marion Ross, who played Marion Cunningham.

Meskimen admits a lot of it is improv, but credits the success to “Impressionist Guys” writer and creator Ben Shelton, who also does The Flipside series for SoulPancake. “He runs a really happy set, has a great crew and makes the most of what has to be the smallest budget in television,” Meskimen told me.

SoulPancake also is living up to the “soul” in its name. Says Jim about SP, “their flow is positive and re-affirming… not edgy.”

Anyway, here’s the fun of the series. You’ll first dismiss it as an excuse to stitch together some very good impressions by Meskimen, Marquand and others. But if you give it time, you’ll realize there’s a depth to the characters and a compelling storyline. Some vulnerability that you don’t see coming.

Give it a watch. Let me know what you think!

Episode 1: Premier

Episode 2: The Worst Impression

 

maker, deco, big frame, deca, magnet, fullscreen, collective, web, studios, networks, online, youtube

What GOVA’s Gavone Means to Online Video and the New Networks

He’s the new GOVA Gavone. The leader of the online video association. The guy who’s scream silences a room.

AdWeek reports that Paul Kontonis, former online video producer and agency guy, is heading the new Global Online Video Association (GOVA). Kontonis has been a leader in the online video space from its inception, including such roles as founder of “For Your Imagination,” VP at Digitas’ Third Act, and chairman of International Academy of Web Television.

online, video, gavone, GOVA, association

Paul Kontonis is the gavone who heads GOVA, the new online-video trade association.

By day, Kontonis heads sales and strategy for one of the top “multichannel networks” (MCNs) called Collective Digital Studio. GOVA is made up of nine of the top MCNs (also called online-video studios and “new networks”). These include Collective, Maker Studios, Fullscreen, Big Frame, BroadbandTV, DECA, Discovery’s Revision3, Magnet Media and MiTu Networks. Machinima is conspicuously absent, but unlikely for long (it’s quite common for the biggest in an industry to initially think they don’t need an association).

GOVA represents 9 of the top 10 online-video studios, or MCNs

GOVA represents 9 of the top 10 online-video studios, or MCNs

Caveat: I know Kontonis and like him (which is why I am allowed to call him a gavone as a term of respect). He was even in one of my videos where I thought I turned invisible. But I haven’t spoken to him in a while and know nothing directly about his GOVA appointment. So this is all my speculation based on watching this space mature. And I wrote a book, so shut up.

What’s ahead, and what does GOVA mean to the networks and the maturing landscape of online video?

  • Susan Wojcicki, the leader of YouTube.

    Susan Wojcicki, leader of YouTube, is focused on mainstream players. GOVA may help keep her attention on smaller studios.

    Bargaining Power with YouTube. The online-video networks, or “multichannel networks,” will now have a collective voice they’ll need more in coming years. That’s in part because YouTube, the virtual monopoly on distribution, is increasingly turning its attention to more mainstream studios and traditional networks. As YouTube grows, it will be increasingly difficult for individual studios to command the attention they’ve received in the past. How do we know that? History is the best predictor: Initially top YouTube stars could garner attention from Google and resolve issues. But eventually YouTube creators needed the power of a network. The networks don’t know it yet, but in years ahead they’ll need strength in greater numbers than they have today.

  • Bumpy Road, Herding Cats. Associations can be tricky, as participants theoretically want a collective voice, but they’re also competing against each other for precious advertising dollars. Kontonis has shown he’s got the diplomacy and persuasion to herd these network cats.
  • GOVA may help keep emerging studios independent, which is good for "amateurs."

    GOVA may help keep emerging studios independent, which is good for “amateurs.”

    Could Slow Down Acquisitions. In the coming years, we’d expect to see more of these online-video networks get acquired by larger players. Discovery ate Revision3. Google ate Next New Networks.  GOVA may give some of these players more time to play independently, if they wish, before the eventual consolidation of traditional and “multichannel” networks in the 2015-2020 period.  That doesn’t mean the MCNs will be less attractive to acquiring parties, it just means they won’t be as desperate to be sold. That’s a very good thing for individual creators of these networks. (When they do get acquired, they’ll try to convince you it’s a good thing…  but as a loyal WVFF reader you’ll know better).

  • GOVA can help negotiate with emerging video-playing technologies

    GOVA can help negotiate with emerging video-playing technologies

    Developing Emerging Channels to Reduce Dependency on YouTube. As we look beyond YouTube, the major stakeholders are technology companies, advertisers, and content creators. Years ago, an individual studio could negotiate their video content onto new platforms — like we saw Revision3 do with Roku and College Humor do with TiVo. But that will be more difficult as stakes increase and traditional networks start seeing more meaningful “TV dollars” moving to emerging channels. This coordinated approach through GOVA will increase the studio’s voice with new platforms. Watch for GOVA serving a role to keep them “out in front” of new platforms — from Roku to Netflix and Hulu to Amazon. And more importantly, the emerging video distribution platforms we don’t yet see coming. Maybe one day even AppleTV!

  • Other Boring But Important Crap. GOVA can also help with legislation/regulation, advertising formats, metric standardization, growth of the online-video, and thought leadership. Depending on the issue, they will likely partner and challenge other players like IAB, ComScore, traditional media associations, and marketing agencies.
  • Four More Years. That’s how long I see this lasting. By 2018, we’d expect GOVA to roll into the Internet Advertising BureauIRTS or some other association. But no other association has the knowledge of or focus on this medium.
  • Bottom Line. Creators and studios need GOVA whether they know it or not. Otherwise the technology platforms and advertisers will set the agenda.
maker, deco, big frame, deca, magnet, fullscreen, collective, web, studios, networks, online, youtube

9 out of the top 10 “multichannel networks” are included in the new association.

connect phone to stereo system to play and stream music wifi bluetooth

Four Alternatives to Sonos Music: Stream Your Music to Speakers

connect phone to stereo system to play and stream music wifi bluetooth

So your phone is holding  your music collection and access to your online radio stations. And you have boom boxes, speakers and old amplifiers sitting around… depreciating. How do you connect them via Bluetooth or Wifi so you can stream your music in full sound?

Sonos sounds great, but aren't cheap. Especially if all you want is to activate your exiting stereo.

Sonos sounds great, but aren’t cheap. Especially if all you want is to activate your exiting stereo.

If you’re an audiophile with excess cash, the Sonos Play 1 is a $199 Wifi amplified speaker that is easy to use, sounds great, and fairly portable. I have one of them and the $299 Sonos Play 2 , and they come with an iPhone/Android app that allows me to stream Pandora or my saved music from my phone or laptop. SONOS does have a way you can connect to your existing speaker/amp, but it’s even more expensive than the one with the speaker (it’c called a SONOS connect). Note that you need one $44 SONOS bridge for to get started, and that Bose is also catching up with the Soundtouch.

So what if you don’t want to spring for a new amplified speaker? What if all you want is the ability to connect your phone to your existing stereo system? Here are four less expensive options.

  1. The real poor-man’s solution is my do-it-yourself speaker kit. But you’ll have to live with the frustrating range limits of Bluetooth. And some of the Wifi options are not that much more expensive.
  2. beep wifi speaker aluminum ashtrayAlternatively, you can wait for a Beep , which is a retro-looking metallic device that will connect your existing speakers to your digital music. Beep, created by some Google alumni, says it makes all your speakers wireless, but it doesn’t have an amplifier. But if you have good speakers without an amp, here’s an $18 amp that sounds like it should cost $100.  Beep is not available yet, but the pre-orders are $99. No shipping date announced on site (at least that I could find). Here’s a Cnet review.
  3. rocki speakerThe Rocki is very similar to the Beep, but also not yet available. Personally I like the Beep’s look better. To me the Rocki looks a bit cheap, although one critic says the Beep looks like an aluminum ashtray from bowling alleys, turned upside down. Touche.
  4. And here’s a clever Wifi audio hack. Buy a crappy tablet (like this iView Cyberpad at NewEgg)  and connect it to your existing stereo system via its headphone jack. This would also work if you have an old iPhone. But I don’t believe you can control it via your existing phone.

Here’s an article that also shows you how to stream tunes via an AppleTV or Miracast if you’re an Android user.

Rumble will fail. Mahhhh. I just pissed in my own pants.

Rumble Online Video Site Takes on YouTube. Will Fail.

Rumble will fail. Mahhhh. I just pissed in my own pants.

Rumble will fail. Mahhhh. I just pissed in my own pants.

I just got a reporter inquiry about a website called Rumble. It was created to take on YouTube head on (see story), and I think that’s about the worst idea for an online-video site ever (at least in 2014). I’m going to come off like an angry old man in this post, so try to imagine me sitting in my boxers on a rocking chair holding a shotgun.

Rumble will either change strategy or be dead in less than 12-18 months.

Its offering to video creators is so bad I checked to see if this was an early April Fool’s joke (please note 1-26-14 update from CEO, below).

  • Rumble: Because the world needs another video-sharing site for cats.

    Rumble: Because the world needs another video-sharing site for cats.

    It requires exclusive content. That’s a really bad idea if you’re trying to compete with a market leader that doesn’t require exclusive content. I  never suggest a content creator license exclusively unless they get a guarantee that offsets what they might otherwise make elsewhere. Even Revver.com new better.

  • It takes about 3-4 months before they provide analytics to creators (YouTube analytics are instant, and payment is monthly).
  • 60% of revenue (now that’s decent, but 60% of nothing is nothing).
  • No guarantee of views because there’s a limited audience using Rumble (although maybe some of its partners have an audience, and they’ll pull an intermediary approach- they claim some big partners like Yahoo!). Rumble’s CEO says they’re doing 100M streams.
  • No apparent advertisers using the site. They could theoretically solve this by letting their partners sell the inventory, but that would change CPM income … creating a Rumble advertising salesforce would take many months or years).

Rumble is founded by a bunch of folks who have been doing online video for a long time. Some at  successful companies, but some come from companies (you haven’t heard about) that got destroyed by YouTube. So will their vengeance inspire them to topple YouTube? Or is history the best predictor of success?

What they do have is a nice name. Rumble. Rrrrumble. Get ready to Rrrrumble. I was going to say they have a nice logo, but the play button is kinda owned already. Hopefully the founders, advisors and employees will adapt Rumble to find a better niche. Anything but trying to compete with a market leader without any discernable differentiation or advantage.

Mind you- this comes from somebody who makes money on YouTube, but who can’t stand monopolies. For amateurs making online video, YouTube is pretty much the only way to make money via online video. So there may eventually be an online video-sharing site that caters more to amateur creators. But I sure wouldn’t hold my breath for it, and resign not to make a dime anywhere else while they try to figure it out. As I told the reporter, I wouldn’t become a Rumble creator (under current terms) if it was founded by my mom and funded Chad Hurley.

All this said, take my advice with a grain of salt. I’ve called a lot of things accurately, but I also was rooting for Revver.com and initially saw YouTube as a horrible financial investment.

Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski clarifies the terms the online-video company is offering creators

Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski clarifies the terms the online-video company is offering creators

Note from Chris Pavlovski, CEO of Rumble 1-26-14

“I recently noticed your review of Rumble. I totally respect your opinion and enjoy reading various takes, although I hope we do not fail :)

I wanted to point out that we offer other options for video creators. The 60% profit share is definitely a difficult one for users to swallow (this is because all revenue is generated on Yahoo, MSN, and takes a long time to receive reporting, but its worth it). We also offer two other options for video creators. If the video is good, they get rewarded within 24 hours and paid within 14 days. Here are the options:

  1. up to $1000 for an exclusive video license, up front cash
  2. up to $250 for a non-exclusive video license, up front cash
  3. we do custom deals as well (for larger creators)

The profit share is the 4th option, but normally makes more than the above two if you can wait 3 months. We are currently pushing well over 100M streams per month on our partner websites, so our reach is considerable and many creators are happy with it.”

 

Old Spice's "Mom Song" from 2014 Superbowl

Old Spice Moms Singing is Superbowl Material

Mother’s everywhere are mourning the loss of their young boys as they become a man. And in this Old Spice “Mom Song” commercial, they’re singing as they stalking their children, clutching to their cars while riding laundry bins, and showing up in odd places like beaches and cafeteria

A superbowl commercial website is calling this ad creepy, but it’s absolutely my favorite Old Spice ad since Mustafa’s “this is what your man could smell like” viral hits of 2009 and 2010. I hope the agency (still Wieden and Kennedy) runs it on the 2014 Superbowl. There’s a also a shorter alternative with a woman popping her head from a bowling ball machine.

old spice mom song lady

The first Old Spice mom in “Mom Song” looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall (remember she shouts “two weeks” as her robotic head explodes?).

My day job, when not a Viral Video Genius, is insights strategy at an advertising agency (which works in healthcare and has nothing to do with this spot). I’ve worked with P&G but not in many years.

So I like to try to imagine what “insights” drove this campaign. Here’s my guess:

  • Guys are sold on Old Spice. But moms are buying Old Spice — especially for young teens.
  • Moms see Old Spice as a brand for grownups, and they’re reluctant to let go of their boys.
  • Moms don’t want to be sold Old Spice or told they’re clingy.

So the creative challenge was likely to win over moms  by satirizing the clingy mom who won’t let their kids grow up. “You, dear shopper, do not look like Arnold in drag in Total Recall.”

Note what the spot doesn’t do: it’s not telling moms to “let go,” or “buy Old Spice to help them get the girls,” which would have the opposite of the desired effect. This just in: seems I called it right according to this AdAge piece that attributes the song to musical agency “Walker.”

What ya think? Love it like me? Freaked by it? Think it will work?

icloud, sucks, ass, hell, from

Top-10 User Testimonials for Apple’s iCloud

Frustrated with Apple’s beast from hell called iCloud? You’re among friends here. Today we’re curating the most inflammatory customer statements about iCloud I could find.

You see, I just had another “Apple anxiety attack” due to iCloud. But this should be my last (I documented the December nightmare in this “iCloud sucks” post). And I was sure to tag this particular post “iCloud sucks ass from hell” in case anyone’s searching that phrase.

This morning’s irritation: my son and his friend are frantically trying to Facetime each other on their iPads, but the calls are coming to the iPhones of me and the other kid’s mom. As a result, the other mom and I are phoning each other thinking there’s some emergency. And no… the kids’ iPads are not logged into either of our iClouds, so there’s no good reason this is happening.

icloud is 1984 big brother

“Can this be turning into any more insidious, 1984ish situation?” says one iCloud customer.

iCloud, a web-based backup that connects Apple devices, has killed Apple for me and many others. In March I’m giving  my iPhone to one of my kids, and buying an Android. My nerdy friends rave about them. There are two reasons for my departure: a) The iPhone has not been improved consequentially in the last several years, and b) the iCloud implementation was the worst experience I’ve had with technology — and that surpasses computer viruses, crashed hard drives and being disregarded by cable and phone providers.

So I thought I’d calm myself down by assembling my favorite quotes about iCloud courtesy of this  Apple Support thread.

  1. I HATE icloud. How dare they? And market it as innocuous? The arrogance. Seriously.
  2. Apple invaded in my devices and does whatever wants – more than a VIRUS! I can’t get rid off it. .. APPLE what the **** are you doing, making your new software behavour as a parasite!
  3. Total failure, especially if you have spouse, kids, etc on the same Apple account since you keep getting each others stuff on your phone.
  4. Thanks for ruining Christmas, Apple. This Christmas my kids learned about Santa Claus by intercepting my private texts.
  5. I spend more than 5 hours on the phone with several apple support guys to get rid of those many multiple calendar entries on my iPad, but it didn’t help.
  6. My text messages are appearing on all my external devices.  I sold my iPod on ebay and the guy can read all of my messages and respond to them.
  7. A data destroying, heart burning, stomach churning and hours wasting beast called iCloud.
  8. Like an evil spawn of SkyNet and a PC Boot Sector Virus, once iCloud has grabbed your data IT becomes the master of your data.
  9. Can this be turning into any more insidious, 1984ish situation?
  10. I am personally Disgusted by Apple and everything to do with their products and services. Cannot wait to buy a Samsung note (source: Dudechester, iMore forum)

 

How to make counterfeit saddleback leather bag

Bag Designer Uses Video To Teach Counterfeiters

Saddleback leather founder Dave Munson is using YouTube to teach counterfeiters how to knock off his bags. The video is instructional, persuasive,  sarcastic and funny. By showing how counterfeiters do and can save money (using lower quality leather, cheap stitching, inferior metal buckles), Saddleback manages to fortify its own high price point. The clip also communicates the company’s ethics and create a storybook villain out of faceless leather-bag counterfeiters.

saddleback youtube

 

Saddleback has only posted a few dozen videos to its YouTube channel in the past three years, but this “How To Knock Off a Bag” video has been traveling through social media sites (like Reddit) and will soon be its most-viewed.

The takeaway of the clip? If you’re considering making or buying a counterfeit bag, you’d better think not just about what you’ll get… but what it says about you.

My favorite quote (8 minutes in): “the hardware is where you can really make some money. What Saddleback uses is stainless steel 316. What you’re going to want to do is get some nickel plated stuff. So you can nickel plate plastic. You can nickel plate junk, pot medal. You can even nickel plate your crack pipe.”

Munson’s sometimes biting sarcasm is offset by his smile, enthusiasm for the quality of his leather, and a charming moment where he uses candy to lure kids into his plant… not for low-cost labor but for “take your children to work day.”

saddleback child labor

His advice to counterfeiters shows where they can cut corners that will make knockoffs look and feel great, even if they won’t last: “And you will end up saving more money than you will ever make with those gold fillings and jewelry that you get when you dig up those graves,” he says with a warm grin.

I’ve been a long-time fan of the company’s tagline: “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead.” And Dave uses more language and a non-salesy tone to build additional emotion around his craftwork — like the line “take this bag with you through life to hold all your memories.” May I add that this video has increased my longing for one of these Saddleback front pocket briefcase? It’s almost $600… so free to buy me one, mom or rich viewer.

And an added plus? In the coming months, what do you think people will find when they search counterfeit Saddleback? Maybe a video that makes them second guess their pursuit?

Online-Video Marketing