YouTube is Hot, But Watch Out for Over the Top

Welcome WVFF Guest Blogger
Jim Louderback

dead-tvSure, you think the TV is dead. But it’s not. The act of lazing about in front of a big screen TV watching, laughing and enjoying video content is going to be even bigger than ever. But here’s the rub. It’ll be less about cable and broadcast, and much more about internet video.

It boils down to this: If you’re not creating video with the big screen in mind, you’re going to miss one of the biggest developments in 2010.

We’ve already seen great success with Revision3‘s content on Roku; the tiny box that streams Netflix, baseball, Amazon, and now us. Along with Twitter, Pandora, Flickr and more all on the big screen.

We at Revision3 were up nearly 15% in the first two weeks that our channel launched – and that was during the traditional down weeks of Thanksgiving.

Next year TV will get smart.

Vizio, the biggest TV vendor in the US, will bring real connectivity to every TV it sells that’s larger than 45 inches. Many other TVs will do the same.

Boxee’s box will ship.

Cable set top boxes will connect to web video.

It’s a brand new outlet and it can’t be ignored.

youtube-tvUnfortunately, YouTube seems to be asleep at the wheel. I asked them recently if they were going to play in over the top, they said they prefer to be browser-based rather than having separate interfaces. Sure, having multiple and separate interfaces can be tough, but their approach is wrong. Consider mobile – websites are terrible on that screen. The same goes for the big screen at 10 feet away.

But, let’s imagine I was led to speculation with my YouTube contacts, perhaps they were being… coy. We could very well find Android or Chrome jumping in and powering TVs by 2011.

We’ll see…

In the mean time, you can do a few things to ensure you don’t miss the boat in 2010.

First, produce and distribute in HD. If and when YouTube is available on the big screen, the better looking videos will win. Quality will always be more important in this world.

Second, think about an alternate channel for over the top. Try hooking up with Xbox, glom onto Roku with Mediafly or Blip.TV.

Most importantly, find ways to get your stuff into that world.

Oh, and keep an eye on Revision3 in early January. We’ll be covering the heck out of the annual Consumer Electronic Show, posting on our site, and on our popular YouTube Channel. We’ll be bringing you the latest over the top devices and provide commentary on how this brave new world of internet video is evolving.

Jim Louderback
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Sneak Preview: The Talking Hand

For you loyal WVFF readers, here’s a sneak preview of the fourth and final Fringe video. It’s my kids imitating Fox’s Fringe, and it’s called “The Talking Hand.” I’m still working on using the film effect (saturation/contrast) without turning some of these shots into silhouettes. The hand was played by a friend of my son, Patrick. Dalton came over one day recently to play, and I loved his voice. Iggy35 was kind enough to merge Patrick’s hand with Dalton’s face. One of my favorite thumbnails ever.

see larger version

The Attack of the Killer How-To Video Sites

Lately it’s “The Attack of the Killer How-To Videos Sites.” We’ve already seen ExpertVillage, Instructables, AOL’s How To, VideoJug, and of course YouTube’s How-To section.

While uploading on this morning, I noticed three more sites that have surfaced. Most of these models depend exclusively on advertising revenue. While that’s a nice interim model for targeted buys, I do see the potential for sites and creators to post modest fees for instructional videos.

If it was “iTunes” easy to buy a “how to” video, you’d probably pay a modest fee for “just-in-time” learning. Anything to avoid the instructional manual, attending a class or hiring a pro. Here are some examples:

  1. Although it’s got a laughable web 2.0 name and brand, Slipo is somewhat unique. It’s more fo a social learning network for teaching through video & webcam. People can meet others of common interests, and engage in live, personalized webcam classes (members can schedule appointments, charge fees, and re-watch their live classes later for additional practice).
  2. HowCast is probably “the one to watch,” since it has recently signed distribution agreements with, Metacafe and Bebo. Those join a collection of distribution agreements with Myspace, YouTube, Verizon FiOS TV, Joost, and ROO. It doesn’t hurt that it’s founded by veterans from YouTube and 3 from Google. Howcast provides advertising revenue-sharing income for user-generated content and professional video.
  3. 5 Minute is a place to find “short video solutions for practical questions,” and a place for people to share their knowledge. The idea behind 5min, of course, is to focus solutions that can be visually explained in no more than 5 minutes.

And if you don’t like what you see, find a free Web 2.0 platform and aggregate your own “how to” videos around some ridiculously niche topic. Or just create your very own revenue-producing “How To” video using Revver (see a video I made back in Sept. 2006). Better buy one of these coin counters (see video) to help sort your pennies.

While you’re at it, please create a “how to” video on attracting weary advertisers.

Pete Cashmore reviews some of the best “how to” video sites at, including (a site that aggregates them but isn’t working as of this writing).

The 11 Mistakes I Make With My Videos

Suddenly I realize… my videos aren’t really a show. It’s 550 random videos. Sometimes they have a theme for a short period, but I make most of the 11 mistakes describes in “How to Produce an Online Video Show.

dunce.gifThe regular text is from the post, and the italics are my voice…

  1. Who? Who is this for for? Know who your core audience is before you start. Oh, right. Niche audience. Still working on that. Adolescent kids. Soccer moms. Friends of Judy. I want ’em all.
  2. What? What did they say? Ouch! Turn it down. Audio needs to enable the viewer to pay attention to the content of the show. Use external mics. Okay- I’ve purchased 4 mikes. A wireless lav, two external camera-mounted mikes, and a wired lav that doesn’t fit into my camera jack. But they’re such a pain, and it’s tragic when they’re accidentally off or out of batteries. 
  3. When? Wasn’t that show once a week for a while? But lately, not so much. Well until recently I’ve been pretty much daily. But I’m kinda busy with the blog lately. 
  4. Why? That’s not a show! It’s a bunch of videos. We love your cat, but your cat is not a show. Guilty as charged. A bunch of random videos.
  5. Wobble? Earthquake! Or maybe it’s French Avant Guarde film? Use a tripod, any tripod. Sorry- I’m too lazy and I pride myself on using Kleenex, t-shirts, couches and chairs. 
  6. Branding? It’s a good thing I don’t know what this show is called… and there’s no catchy theme music stuck in my head. I’m okay here. I try not to abuse the intro, though. It gets old quick. 
  7. Clones? Hum-mm, lets see, all the thumbnails are identical, so that must mean all the shows are identical! I do work hard on the thumbnail. But if you do a driving blog, the thumbnails do start looking the same.
  8. Yuck! Hey, I’ve been teleported back to 1998 and postage sized video for dial-up Internet connections, cool! I’m just uploading my videos to lots of sites. I really have no expectation that people will view them via my blog or website. I do like that I can catch Smosh videos in higher resolution at their website, but that seems like a lot of work for a guy that can barely figure out how to post a site.
  9. Composition? Hey look, it’s a video by amateurs. Compose using the rule of thirds and look space. Rarely center. Pros do it. If you do it, you’ll look like a pro. When I’m trying, I do get composition right. But the problem is that I don’t have a cameraman. If I’m in the shot, I’ve got to sit the camera down or trust a random person. 
  10. RSS? What if I could just subscribe to this show and get it whenever it uploads a new episode? Yeah- I’ve got those. They’re in the “subscribe” tab above. I cleaned them up this morning and hope they work. 
  11. De-interlace? Use the De-Interlace filter. Or, if you can, shoot in “Progressive” mode. Oh, CharlesTrippy is always “de-interlace, de-interlace, de-interlace.” I tried it once and it seemed to look worse. 

What Video Site Pays Best? Winning on Mashable Poll.

What video site pays you the best? Visit this post from Mashable for details, and you may see winning by a long shot. The focus is on the raw $ per views. Keep in mind that I’d take a significantly lower payment per view (average seems to be .05 to 1 cent) in exchange for lots of traffic. Even if I was paid $1 a view it wouldn’t do me much good if the video was never seen. And since I’m no ZeFrank I need the site to help me get exposure.

By the way- I love tips on stories like this. Please send them to kevinnalts at with all cap subject. Most importantly, please let me know how you’d like to be credited (name and URL). I’m often reluctant to credit because I don’t know if people want it or not.

This one courtesy of Klim.

Submit Your Video to Many Video Sites at Once

laptops.jpgI’ve been long begging for a technology that allows amatuer videographers to populate multiple video sites with ease. You may like the popularity of YouTube and the money from Revver, and Metacafe. But you can’t afford to miss sites like AOL Uncut, Yahoo or Google Video since they do deliver volume. I think I speak for most video makers that my LEAST favorite part of video is manually submitting it on sites. And I invariably forget one or two.

A number have people have confided in me certain new businesses that address that unmet need — I will not reveal specifics of these in respect to their need for secrecy. As you can guess, some go after subscriptions, others charge a flat fee, and others are targeting high-end publishers to charge a premium.

Marquisdejolie recently shared that Veoh uploaders can automatically populate their YouTube, MySpace and Google accounts with their videos. That’s brilliant. Something I’ve urged Revver to do for months.

This is how I see this market playing out:

  • The progressive, smaller sites will use this as a value-add to attract content. The larger sites (with maybe the exception of YouTube/Google Video) have no incentive to facilitate this.
  • Some software players will try to make a business model on this separately. You’ll register at a site, and they’ll take care of all the form requirements of the most common video sites. While I’d probably pay a modest monthly fee to avoid an hour of work each day, most will resist that.
  • Someone will build a free shareware application to do this. However the video sites might change their specifications or make this obsolete.
  • Ultimately there will be a hybrid free/paid tool. For free you’ll get, say, 20 uploads a month to various sites. For a minor ($10-$20) fee you can have unlimited uploads to a broader base of sites.
  • To avoid commoditization these tools will offer additional value-add functionalities. For example, they’ll get your video search-engine optimized, Digged, etc. And maybe they’ll discover additional value-add services that provide video junkies more time to focus on creating instead of posting and publicizing.

YouTube Ends 2006 With Technical, Customer Support Fiasco

problems.jpgYouTube is ending 2006 with dozens of technical support problems, and customer service that is reminiscent of AOL when it had a virtual monopoly. In fact, YouTubers have organized a “Bed In” to bring the company’s attention to problems. Ironically many can’t participate because the site, for days, hasn’t accepting videos in a timely manner. My videos in the past 24 hours have been held in a cue despite confirmation messages. And YouTube’s “recent” section shows that there are gaps of time where very few videos made it live (relative to the massive amounts that are uploaded typically).

Technical problems in the past weeks have included:

  • Severe problems with messages and comments
  • Videos are encrypted beyond recognition. Look at this one.
  • Loads of spam in YouTube mail
  • Errors reporting the quantity of mail
  • Several days of chronic bugs related to uploading videos
  • And now, in the past 24 hours, the site confirms uploads but doesn’t post them. Most of mine have vanished, and others have appeared 10-14 hours later.

In recent months I’ve come to appreciate YouTube and the powerful community it has fostered. I’ve met people via YouTube and have collaborated with fellow YouTubers on The GooTube Conspiracy (which mocks the power accumulated by Google and YouTube).

But it’s perplexing how indifferent YouTube has appeared despite this technical fiasco. The response is less excusable than the technical snags:

  • I’ve never received a response from a message sent to customer service or technical support. Not once.
  • There have not been messages on YouTube that alert people to the problem, or plan to fix it. At best we’ll see occasional red error messages when certain functionality (like uploading) is down.
  • YouTube’s technical support fails to alert YouTubers through their YouTube mail (or e-mail) when problems arise.
  • There’s virtually no way to reach YouTube via phone

phone.jpgThis is a stark contrast from the way other video sites handle problems. Revver has been one of the less stable sites, but uses its blogs and forums to update users.’s founders answer problems via their cell phones at dinner.

YouTube has obviously been swarmed with users, videos and customer-support and technical inquiries. And there’s a certain amount of this that can be explained by rapid growth. But some of these issues can be addressed simply by communicating. But YouTube appears to be sweeping the issues under the carpet.

Here’s hoping the site has a New Year’s Resolution to stabilize its technology and improve its communication with users. The community is tight, but if there was a viable alternative I’d suspect an exile of many users in 2007. Especially since many of the traditional portal sites are beginning to recognize the power of community, and rapidly developing tools to foster it.

Top 10 Online-Video Predictions for 2007

sit.jpgI pulled out my crystal ball this morning, and I’m predicting the most significant online-video highlights of 2007.

I’ll be citing these selectively at the end of 2007 (only those in which I was right).

Okay I didn’t use a crystal ball. This video tells a better story about the process I used to arrive at these today.

  1. Online video and television collide then converge. We’ve seen small steps toward this, but they’re trivial relative to what will happen in 2007. We’re first going to see some territorializing between online-video players and larger networks and media distributors. Then we’ll start to see great partnerships between major networks and online video sites, as well as deals with Verizon, Comcast and TiVo that give online video creators much broader exposure.
  2. Consolidation of online video sites will increase exponentially. Eventually there will be only a small hand-full of sites (GooTube, AOL, Yahoo) where people upload videos, because those sites will gain critical mass and cut exclusive deals upstream. Almost every industry starts with hundreds of players, consolidates to a dozen, and finally matures with 2-3 major entities. Small sites will get acquired or fade. There will still be niche sites like and special-interest sites.
  3. amanda.jpgViral video creators will “cross over” to television. We saw Amandon Congdon make the leap from Rocketboom to ABC recently. People with talent, like ZeFrank, will land a short segment on The Daily Show or some other television show. Ultimately this will make ZeFrank’s bloated ego explode — something we hope occurs live on Good Morning America. A few name-brand stars will decide they can move online without the hassle of networks. I don’t see any of these succeeding initially, but as the audience for “online video” surpasses (in some areas) television viewers, it will be hard for them to resist.
  4. Many television shows will develop online manifestations. This will include “behind the scenes” shots, extended storylines, and interactions with the show. Some shows will invite submissions by amateurs and even cast amateurs to participate.
  5. Consortiums will form for economies of scale. Viacom/Fox/NBC/CBS are already toying with an anti-YouTube play. This is as impossible to resist as it is to achieve airlift. Other consortiums will succeed. I see groups of independent online video amateurs forming copperatives to market their content to networks, or networks organizing the coops. Shows like RabbitBites will have higher odds of moving to mainstream when connected with similar content.
  6. Select amateur video creators will begin to make a full-time living without “crossing over” to television. Metacafe‘s CEO Arik Czerniak recently told me he anticipates his top amatuer creators will make six-figure incomes in 2007. I think he’s right. I’d also watch for people earning high revenue via Revver if the company rapidly expands its viewer base through affiliate/syndicate partnerships.
  7. crystal_ball_juggling.jpgA major news story will break via live (or close to live) footage by “citizen journalists” holding cameras. Remember the impact of the Rodney King footage? Consider how more of these we’ll see now that so many of us are equipped with cell phones that record video. And eventually we’ll see live footage from a cell phone in a major news story — a robbery, hostage situation or natural disaster. If the reporters can address the nation live via satellite, why can’t the amateur videographer via a video-enabled cell phone? It will look like garbage, but it will be horrifically real.
  8. Marketers will get smarter about how they gain consumer mindshare through online video. The self-created viral videos will give way to more creative partnerships between brands and top video creators. These deals will be efficient for marketers, and highly profitable for video creators with low budgets. We’ll see increasingly fewer $250K viral video series created by agencies, and more low-budget, fun videos that were inspired by amateurs but get the media support of advertising budgets.
  9. lonelygirl15.jpgReal vs. fake will be a major 2007 theme. People don’t understand that some videos are designed to be “story telling,” and others are real footage. LonelyGirl15 was an example of a deliberate ruse, but many other “are they real or not” videos are endlessly dissected by comments. This will catch media’s attention, since they’ll enjoy raising viewer concerns about the integrity and validity of this threatening medium.
  10. The “big boy” sites are going to start sharing advertising revenue with select creators like some smaller sites (Revver, Metacafe, Blip, Brightcove, Lulu). That means Google, YouTube, Yahoo and AOL will finally realize that good content means eyeballs. And eyeballs means more revenue. New Marketplaces Serialized Content is adding a new dimension to the segment of the online-video market that shares advertising revenue with creators. CEO Mike Hudack says his 8-person company is working with media buyers to create custom deals for video creators that own “independent serialized content.”

“Video creators should concentrate on creative production, not hosting, distribution or advertising sales,” he says. In August announced that it developed license agreements with CNN and Oxygen. In what he refers to as “collective marketing,” Hudack is helping video creators increase purchasing power with larger advertisers. “We are designing a series of marketplaces in which content creators can gain access.”

Unlike Google Video – which shares advertising revenue only with creators with at least 1,000 hours of content – doesn’t discriminate. Anyone can post video content and earn 50% of the advertising revenue that accompanies that video. departs from most revenue-sharing sites because it also brokers customized sponsorship deals between advertisers and video producers that have strong or niche audiences that are valuable to advertisers. It also gives creators a rare option of controlling what type of advertisement appears with their video – post-roll, pre-roll, impressions.

Hudack’s team works with media buyers to target sponsorships based on content and customer segments – whether that’s business executives of video gamers. is also the only site that helps advertisers place contextual ads (like Google) based on specific content in a video. He is working with a partner that has voice-recognition software to marry ads to related video content.

Asked about his well-funded competitors, Hudack acknowledges watching them closely but says he’s not afraid. “We don’t have legacy models behind us, so that unties our hands,” says Hudack.

“Our job is to add as much value and maintain as slim of a presence as possible”

He also remains facile, he says, because he has a small team and lack of venture capital funding (he has strictly “angel” investors). And the video evolution, he says, will create increasing opportunities. Hudack expects a boom in vertical video sites and “carrier-neutral aggregators.”

“Video is a medium not a single business,” he says.