Online Video Goes Local: More Like Radio Than TV

Peter CoffinWe continue December’s guest blogs by online-video gurus and friends (see Punchy‘s post yesterday). This post is by Peter Coffin, a frequent commenter and YouTube and star of the fresh new single “This Song is Cliche.

Although I had met Peter via such video collaborations as “Mean Kitty Parody,” it wasn’t until last year’s YouTube Live that I confirmed he wasn’t an avatar or surrogate. Here’s his take on the local value of online-video, and it does beg the question why YouTube doesn’t facilitate local community or local-viewing preferences.

by Peter Coffin:

I’m completely awesome. I only say that because I didn’t want to start with “the state of online video today is” like a 4th grader. Plus it’s true. Several years ago, we all made fools of ourselves by pretending we knew where online video was going. Well, you all did. I sure didn’t, because I’m always right. That goes with the territory of being awesome.

Enough of me being a jackass.You want to know what I think is coming?

The formation and maintenance of local audiences and local strategies in the upper echelons of user-generated content. UGC is more like radio than TV in my opinion, with the exception of the audience. The audience is broad and national – even international. Which is fantastic; the idea that anyone with the will can tap into such a broad audience like they never have before is the most important media development in a very long time.

But I think we’re going to start seeing the formation of local markets, where savvy personalities (possibly with the aid of savvy businesspeople) will start to engage their IRL (in-real-life) communities with contests, appearances, and even localized content in the way that radio has for years and years – except on a shoestring budget and a staff of one or two people.

I see it as impossible for it to not eventually happen. A small-town radio remote can cost a business $2.5k. That is a month’s work at – also pretty hard to resist for so little work. Go in, talk to the proprietor, talk to customers, make a few observations, cut up the footage and not only do they have an in depth entertaining promotion for their biz but the creator has more content – and as we all know that’s how you make money.

You can’t do that without a local audience, though. Frank’s Bakery and Gay Bar doesn’t want to pay money for a national audience. They want to reach the local homosexual pastry enthusiasts.

Do I think people will forsake national audiences for local ones? Oh no. I think they will attempt to pick up their localities in addition, as a built in 20,000-30,000 additional first-day hits from a release-conditioned, loyal, proud-of-the-hometown-hero audience can be a big help in pushing a video out there to the national one – as well as aid in word-of-mouth.

This is all on the professional UGC level, though. I’m not focusing on new media divisions of Sony or anything here. They will continue to be national and will most likely function as the TV to UGC’s radio.

Do I think this is part of 2010’s developments? I can’t say for certain, but I do feel this is a strategy we’re going to see. I think we are seeing a bit of the beginnings of it with the developments in second channels for community engagement and more specifically in Rhett&Link’s recent “local commercials across the country” videos. Though they are handling it in a way to keep a national audience interested, imagine if your local YouTube personalities did these types of videos in your area, as well as, worked to maintain some kind of connection with the community.

I don’t see how someone isn’t going to take advantage of the low overhead and instant feedback online video provides to make some cash and promote their communities.

9 Replies to “Online Video Goes Local: More Like Radio Than TV”

  1. Nice — Spot on, Pete… I’ve been trying to advocate the use of online video in smaller local Maine communities for awhile now… Since I started YT’ing, in fact. True, online video has a potentially global reach, and true, not many local Bakery/Gay Bars have a need or desire for that kind of exposure, but, hello, small businesses! You can produce a short video and put it on your website to not only entertain and inform your local (and loyal) customer base when they visit your site, but it also makes your site stickier, so they’ll want to return to your site more often to see what’s new… That’s just one application… Local contesting, promotions, etc. are all options as well… Heck, you can even post videos of your current TV spots if so moved. At least it adds a dimension to your business’ site which wasn’t there before…

    There are huge opportunities in online video for businesses of all sizes, in all areas. They just have to call guys like Coffin to talk to ’em about what kind of execution will work best for them.

    And if Pete’ out buying a donut at Frank’s, call me.

  2. Thanks gentleman (and Nalts for posting this without properly formatting it). This came to me upon the realization that vlog = fast, to-the-point (rather than stretched out for time) talk radio.

    Also why I’m working on a formula for a second channel that doesn’t interfere with my first.

  3. I tried watching This Song is Cliche, but I couldn’t last longer than one minute. Your parody is accurate enough that it is just as annoying as the music it is making fun of.

  4. I think this is right. In fact, so does ESPN. I am a frequent visitor to now – just like my ESPN National only with the only teams I care about. is happening – and, I think. You’re right on man – only this is the pros adopting the radio strategy already. It’s super smart. I get my sports analysis from the Boston Globe and now – only the latter gives me pro video super quick.

    A couple years ago I owned wickedawesome.TV – I love Fitzy’s take on New England Sports on YouTube – and he’s even on cable in New England now with a game show on NESN, but I was thinking that a regional take on online video was inevitable – especially a New England/Bostonian one since we’re all arrogant Massholes who think we’re the smartest people in the country (we are).

    Great post!

  5. Oh, man. I wish I could write a guest post. The only problem with that, though, is that I am not smart like you guys. Also, wisdom is a limited resource of Reuben. It would probably just end up being about why I don’t like Fred or something.

    Nice post, Coffin! You really sounded like your everyday connoisseur of online video here.

  6. @8 ah the good ol days…
    That was a whole nuther place and time, but Kevin may be correct – the clock is still ticking….

    You Tube is making nothing for Google and in the end could end up costing them more than a few billion. Will You Tube be to Goggle what Geocities was to Yahoo?

    So far the only real big change at You Tube is a better grade of weed 😉

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