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

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

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.

CES to Illuminate Future of ITV

As the Consumer Electronic Show approaches, the “pre-game” show includes some buzz about Internet Television (ITV). We’re beginning to see better signs of a more mainstream evolution from “lean forward” to “lean back” consumption of video. It’s a race from the office to the living room and bedroom.
Even “post Jobs,” Apple is the most common buzz beneficiary. But a recent USAToday piece confirmed the challenges Apple has had with securing content deals — a far cry from how the company mobilized in the music industry:

“The problems Apple is having securing content deals were described in an interview with a person who worked in the Apple TV group and verified by two television industry sources.”
The trailblazer has been GoogleTV/Samsung, and Microsoft continues with its Xbox approach. While the Rokus and Tivos were early movers, I’d expect the true rivalry to ultimately occur between television manufacturers and cable providers, since “it’s a race to the living room.” While early adopters are comfortable with alternative devices and streaming from their computers, most Americans are overwhelmed with the prospect of using any device that’s not “standard issue” by their cable provider. But most televisions are now coming with web access, and that’s underexploited capacity.
Back to Apple after its lackluster AppleTV launch. Can it reinvent? The good news for Apple and other players is that we seem to be adding more TVs per family than ever.
“I do expect Apple to make an attempt,” says Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, “since I expect the living room to remain a center for family entertainment, and that touches on all areas of consumer products that Apple is already making.”

It’s Kevin Appreciation Day! Hurray!

Thanks Kevin for being such a charming and righteous guy!

You are truly one of the nicest and funniest people on the net and we or rather I don’t show enough appreciation for all you do to keep us entertained, out of trouble and off hard drugs, but you do! And most of all you are a stand up guy and it’s not said often enough, I don’t think. So thanks again for everything and I promises I will never hack into your blog again.

So Nation of Nalts pass the beer and give a cheer,
dig deep down to the bottom of your silly human hearts,
say something genuine, not too queer and not to smear
and please, oh, please be smart,
hold back the venom
hold back the onions
that gives you the urge to… beg for a mint.

On NBC Today Show… this morning. maybe.

Greetings boys, girls and willvideoforfooders!
I’m your substitute, I mean “GuestOfNalts (.)” today 🙂

As you know this self proclamied viral video genius, Kevin ‘Nalts’ Nalty, started talking to himself early on, as we see in several of his more delightful films: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, AND here!


Kevin has developed a number of personalities, alter egos and of course clones over the years. This is me here in my pre-natal state along with my other clone brothers and sisters. And here is the first generation of a Nalts’ Clone. As you might have guessed he didn’t quite make it. Unfortunately, he was unable to grasp the finer points and magic of editing and fell into a very tragic incident involving a can, the local trash collector and the very large trash collector’s truck. Since, much progress has been made and as you can rightly read I am one of the current generation ‘CloneofNatls’. However, we do prefer being called ‘Spawnsof Nalts’. We have advanced far more than the initial copy, even though we still titter on lame.

As a copy and a real live SpawnofNalts it is my position to make sure that anything Nalts does or thinks when indisposed makes its way to the beautiful eyes of his darling readers, fans, lurkers and all the rest of you, ASAP!

Tomorrow (July 9), on NBC’s Today show in a segment called “Frustrated Fliers.” The interview was shot in NYC yesterday and prompted by “USAIR Sucks” and not “Crawling Through Airport.” See if you can spot the original Nalts at the airport. If not, enjoy these little vignettes to make up for the possibility of a brown out we predicted in NYC. If you missed it because you just couldn’t drag your lazy ass out of bed before 11am, you know who you are, and barring some possible genetic or technical malfunction, me and all the other SpawnsofNalts will try our best to accommodate Today the day after yesterday or sooner right here!

Oh, and bring a clothes pin!

Nalts at the airport Today!

Be glad smell-a-vision never took off!


Should You Buy an AppleTV? Only if You’re an iTunes and YouTube Junkie

appletv review cheap amazonI’ve had an AppleTV for a while, and I was amused by New Media Minute‘s video report that is almost entirely positive on the AppleTV except for some criticism of the the manual search process (source: webvideoreport).

Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy my AppleTV (Amazon carries the 40GB for $224, 160GB for $324… yes I put in an affiliate link, so sue me). But I only started using it after it was a desk ornament for months.

The bottom line is that if you’re an avid iTunes user (music and movies) and a YouTube junkie, you’ll wonder how you survived without this puppy. If not, you may want to buy a used one (not too less expensive), or wait for a future version which will presumably offer more functionality, content and certainly more storage and speed.

What I dig:

  1. tv in bedGroovin’ with the concept of a device that feeds on existing broadband without another annoying monthly charge. It gives me access to my downstairs Mac via my bedroom television! My wife is not as excited that I’m watching my favorite YouTubers before dozing off.
  2. I find the interface quite elegant (albeit spartan), and a recent redesign improved it and addressed some of my previous criticisms. I chew the remote, though, so I’d like one that was a little more sturdy.
  3. I love laying down while I catch up on YouTube videos, but I mostly resign to surfing the “highest rated” section because it’s so much easier than digging into my favorite creators through the clunky account options. The “top rated” section of YouTube is unfortunately also loaded with a lot of music videos that are simply ads for cell phone ringers, and the animated parodies seem to represent 50% of the top 70 list (oddly it doesn’t list the top 100).

Here’s what AppleTV needs to do before I’d recommend it for broader use…

  1. Make it easier to synch. I’m fairly computer literate but it doesn’t seem to pick up a lot of my media.
  2. Start the clock on my rentals when I start the movie. Not when I rent it.
  3. Improve the selection of movies for sale (it’s as robust as that of a fish & bait store in a small Southern town). I was at a lousy hotel in Nashville Saturday night, and the pay-per-view selection was dramatically better. Mac: Integrate with Netflix or Blockbuster and you’ll have a gem (okay- tough one to work out, but a girl can dream).
  4. YouTube via AppleTV needs a lot of work… four key considerations:

youtube on appletv

  • Allow me subscribe to more than a dozen or so creators. Show me their videos in thumbnails, and sort them by most recent. Keep these populated without as many errors (it’s buggy). To track my favorite creators I needed to set up a new account called appletvofnalts. I’m missing a lot of my favorite creators unfortunately.
  • I’d like to comment. I’m not crazy about the remote/keyboard, but I’d like the option. And I’d like to enlarge descriptions of videos so I can read them without sitting up.
  • Give the search functionality (and “related videos”) the same juice that YouTube gives it on the site. It appears these features are “watered down” for AppleTV.
  • When I find a good creator I want to subscribe. I can’t, so I end up favoriting the video in hopes I’ll remember to subscribe when I’m at my desktop.

AppleTV won’t yet replace your DVR or your cable TV, but it’s a nice alternative when you’re sick of the overcomplicated and slow Verizon Fios media box that doesn’t want to play any of the shows you recorded on the media base that’s downstairs because the poor man’s unit upstairs can’t handle HDTV. I love the access to YouTube, which represents about 80 percent of my use (followed by an occasional movie or television show).

Please take this seriously, Mac. There are a lot of us that want to see this model proliferate, and we’re ready to promote it to our YouTube audiences (for a modest price, naturally… we can’t live on food alone). More users means more content, and I look forward to being able to share recommendations and preferences with friends.