How Will The Mainstream Laggard Audience Navigate Online Video?

maria sansone\'s showI originally titled this blog post, “PopTub: Does it Suck or Rock.” But then I realized PopTub is about a bigger issue. But first, let me set the context. Last Friday I wrote a post about PopTub and said I wanted to appear on it. Today that wish came true (see below). Now I just have to figure a way to appear on The Office, visit Hawaii and Australia, and meet Gene Hackman or Charles Grodin (a few more items on my “bucket list“).

Turns out I’m not the only fan of PopTub, but there are also quite a few that have a visceral, negative reaction. Perhaps the show is, for them, a personification of the commercialization of YouTube… a pretty host, good production values, sponsored by Pepsi, and Google supported.

From my perspective, there are 3 ways to react to what is inevitable: YouTube’s transformation from a video-sharing community to a major media player:

  1. Wine profusely. Blame anyone you can. Especially a person since YouTube will ignore you.
  2. Leave the site (returning to television, or diving into vloggerhead).
  3. Embrace the change, and grow with it.

The target for PopTub long term, I’d argue, is NOT hard-core YouTubers (as defined by how much time we spend and how participatory we are). The long-term target should be those who want to engage more deeply in online video, but are overwhelmed by the choices. This hosted format is something mainstream “lagards” (late comers) recognize. Indeed it’s Entertainment Tonight for the noobs joining YouTube.

PopTub is starting by calling attention to amateurs. And if  you’re an amateur, you only have a few ways to get discovered by a typical “grazer” of YouTube (namely, read my free eBook, get featured, or end up on the “top rated” section). Now there’s PopTub.

This mainstream crowd doesn’t have the knowledge or time to spend days and weeks learning the top creators and tricks for finding good stuff. The “grazer, laggard, noobs,” jump to YouTube because they received a link or because they’re searching for something specific. And then they boogie. YouTube is getting better at being a Venus Fly Trap for these folks, but it’s still not there yet.

Friends, the “top rated” section of YouTube proves that the “wisdom of crowds” doesn’t actually work yet on YouTube. The top videos are usually a video game video, an advertisement that spammed its way there via, political propoganda, or one of a few amateurs that have such psychotically loyal fans (Sxephil, Whatthebuck) that they’d rate 5 stars a video of their poop gettig smeared on the wall.

Along comes PopTub with a bubbly host and a bunch of screenagers that are paid to scour the web for good videos. These folks even surf the “most recently added” section to find some of their pix (I’d rather work on Excel sheets). Who’s got time for that? I view it as a free service to help me find content that sucks less than my own.

So I see PopTub as another way for noobs to find good online-video content, and I welcome that service. We may not like all the videos it discovers, but I’ve found more creators via PopTub in the past weeks than I’ve found on featured videos in the past year. Don’t like the picks? Let ’em know.

And of course I’m not paid by PopTub for this (I never blog for compensation, and my sponsored videos are always indicated as such). I’m probably not unbiased because PopTub has features a few of my videos. But I co-hosted voluntarily beacuse I dig the show, and wanted to meet the producers and Maria Sansone. I even kidnapped her, you know.



28 Replies to “How Will The Mainstream Laggard Audience Navigate Online Video?”

  1. Naltsie…Although I did enjoy the episode, mostly because of Maria, well okay, you too… you seemed a little out of it. Like even more than normal. Maybe you’re sick with the rest of the household.

    Hope you guys get better! :o)

    Pepsi Poptub topspot…that’s a tongue twister! Good job on that one!

  2. Okay so now you gotta figure out a way to get into a hotforwords video, Then you will have completed all the research you need to do to finally settle in and write the book that every geeky male youtuber really wants to read: “Dignity Schmignity: How To Weasel Your Way Into Videos With Really Hot Chicks For No Other Reason Than To Look At Their Boobs.”

  3. Oh yeah, speaking of dignity. My nalts hat is toast, so I need you to send me another one. I’m having way too many bad hair days and running out of ways to hide them from the elementary school principal. So she thinks I’m a drunk, but hey, it could be worse, right? She could find out about my vicodin addiction. Or what I’m willing to do to get it.

  4. The mainstream audience already navigates youtube. They come and search for the videos they want to see: Jonas brothers music videos or family guy episodes or playlists of the best nutshot vids on the site. This won’t change as youtube adds tv shows and movies, they will just spend more time on the site than they do now.

    Content creators will react to not the new audiences, but to how YT treats them in relation to the new audiences. There seems to be a long held belief by so many that the corporation does not care about their most passionate and constant users, and I can’t say disagree with them.

    Give the community a voice at the table youtube, we care about the site and what happens there and would appreciate knowing you care about us and what we think. We know you need and want to make money and you will find that most people in the community are reasonable and will understand your need to balance all of the interests you have to in running the site. When we object it’s because of your attitude and unwillingness to listen that we do complain and we will continue to complain as long as your attitude remains exclusionary.

    I don’t care if Poptub is there or not, don’t care if Poptub is sponsored or not, if the content is good I will watch it if I want to.

    And on a personal note, sorry to hear everyone is sick around yours Kevin. Was looking forward to seeing you again in NYC. Maybe we can get together sometime while i’m still in eastern PA.

  5. @1 Yes- sick. But I was supposed to be quiet and creepy.
    @4 Sukatra- I gave away all my hats to random hotties in NYC.
    @7 Ugh- I may have to start my post again. Good points you’re maknig.
    @ No pay!!!!

  6. While I think PopTub sorta sucked, nah, it sucks, but fear not, I am really that hard to please.

    Earth to PopTub, the people over at You Tube Reviewed have 79 subscribers (I bet at least 10 of those are socks) who cares what they think?

    Which brings me to the important topic, eyeballs; and how to get them, because that’s what really counts on You Tube; if you want fame and fortune.

    So far PopTub has the pretty silly girl under a sexy clad dress and body who is saying, “I’M SMART TOO!” They are somewhat technically savvy, and they have a duck, where have I seen that duck?!

    I’ve been working on a little You Tube experiment the past few weeks and what I’ve discovered are two things gaurenteed to bring in eyeballs, sexy girls and cute animals; being gay may also help. Of course, everyone who’s been around You Tube already knows this, it’s a tried and true formula. So here’s my suggestion for PopTub, take it or leave it. Try a show where your guest is a cute furry little animal, slip the girl in a bikini (who’s with me here?) and a graduation cap. Flash all sorts of cute little furry animals between clips of the girl making kissy faces with the cute furry little creature. Keep it under two minutes. 57k hits, at least. Make it under one minute 90k hits.

    gee, I don’t know what to tell you for OR, because with E-mail,
    YTMessages, YTShare, YTFavorites and the YTFront Page you’ve got a lot of competition for those eyeballs especially, in an election year coupled with a horrible economy. Then again, there’s always February.

    Two topics I would be interested in if you’re up for it Kevin, Over Saturation and PR PR PR.

  7. I think it’s interesting that you say you found more new creators via PopTub in the past couple weeks than on your own in past year. I can see why you want to do that. I actually love the show’s format and it’s worth watching to see what’s worth watching.

    Is the new front page? Not quite yet. But then again, even the front page isn’t really the front page anymore with the customized logged-in feel of YouTube coupled with the front-page short lifespan. I was on it yesterday with my sketch “The Handheld Metal Banger” for my new BOBJENZ Channel. Great day, over 175k views, but it’s already gone, bumped for a guest editor today. 🙁

  8. You did a fine job, Kevin. Except that you acted like a lovesick puppy (which I assume was your point), but you only get a B for your performance because you also looked half-drunk.

  9. Resistance to commercialization is an easily disproved argument.

    Poptub dropped onto YouTube on the exact same commercial parachute as sethcomedy. They were received differently because the goals, concepts and execution behind one channel sucked and the other didn’t. Did I win a point?

    It is important to keep reminding the “screenpoopers” at Poptub that they suck because they appear to have no idea how much the feature slots that are being squandered on them would be worth to a talented video maker and they attribute the spoon-fed views they are being given to themselves having talent and taste.

    It doesn’t matter if Poptub intends to leap over the most discussed (hard-core) list straight onto the most viewed (laggard) list by using editor features, no one cares, YouTube’s metrics are FUBAR. The only consistent way onto the most viewed pages is by gaming YouTube in one way or another.

    This may be starting to bite YouTube itself. When the same 12 gamers are at the top of YouTube’s most viewed page every day spouting the exact same shit, people are bound to get bored and tune out.

    I am no expert, so someone double check the Alexa charts for YouTube (switch to max to see the fall-off in growth).

    “Page Views” appears to have plateaued and “Reach” appears to have dropped in the last 3 months.

    YouTube oddly (preemptively?) released its July 2008 Comscore figures that showed that it was still King of the Hill, but if the site has stopped growing then this metamorphosis into being a major commercially viable media player is nothing more than an unaffordable pipe dream that will disappear in the face of people’s “been there, seen that” attitude towards YouTube.

    Sometimes the light that you see at the end of a tunnel is an oncoming train.

  10. @7 and @11 and @15 have some interesting points YouTube should read. Tough challenge for them- attract mainstream without losing the hardcore folks. And balancing amateurs with pros.

  11. @9

    I don’t care if you already gave them all away. Suck it up and buy some more. You may have four kids but I don’t have a job. Who’s the bigger loser here? Ordinarily I’d say you but for the purposes of this mission, it’s me.

  12. PopTub’s not bad. I like it, and am growing more fond of it daily, but I didn’t immediately fall in love with it, like I have with some other channels.

    I think it’s important if they don’t want to be shunned by all of us long time tubers that they remember our importance. There are a lot of us who have been around for a couple years, and run in the 1500-5000 subscriber range, and a lot of the time we get ignored in favor of the “hot shots” with tens of thousands of subs, just because they have more subs. If they promote videos based on quality and not solely on subscriber bases, they’ll have a lot more happy viewers.

    Oh, and put me on the show 😀 LOL

  13. @19- sorry your comment got stuck in the moderate cue. Really good points. Oddly I had been checking Alexa because I had the sense that views have hit a plateau. I think maybe the political videos have sucked away some of the views that might otherwise go to others.

    @22- Marilyn- if you take all of these posts and turn it into a book I’ll get you an assload of hats.

    @23- Steal the lead boots and send ’em to me postage due.

  14. @ 24: Seriously? I could actually do that. You know I have quite a command of the English language. I’ve always wanted to write a book. Just not about you.

    I’d have to get more than hats for compensation, though.

  15. @25,

    Nalts probably has a few kids he could send along with the hats.


    That’s a big 10-4. Is your address still “123 Any Street”, or do I need to update my Rolodex?

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