Top 10 Stats About Online-Video Usage and Advertising for 2016 and Beyond

What do you need to know about online video for 2016? Here’s a convenient “round up” for your viewing pleasure.

Here's a guy looking at mobile video. It's trending.
Here’s a guy looking at mobile video. It’s trending.
  1. Mobilization. Mobile advertising is growing 66% and desktop is just 5 percent. What’s interesting to me is that 36% of our time is spent on TV, and 39% of the ad spending is there. But we’re spending 25% of our self on mobile, while only 12% of ad spending is on mobile. Implication: watch for way more advertising in your apps, on mobile-enabled site, and perhaps even while you text. (KPCB Internet Trends, June 1, 2016)
  2. Mobile vs desktop tie. By 2020, online-video advertising will be about 50% mobile and 50% desktop.
  3. Pay TV is stuggling. About 86% US Internet users think pay TV is too expensive. Some forecast a decline (source: TVFreedom, : SNL Kagan as cited in Video Advertising Bureau, 2015).
  4. TV ain’t dead. According to eMarketer “TV will continue to grow and remain the top video advertising format through 2020.” That said, our time with digital video (versus TV) changed in 2012 and the gap has widened, with digital outpacing TV (Nielsen, eMarketer).
  5. Netflix is rocking it for time. The streaming time of Netflix is growing insanely. 600M hours in 2009 and 42 billion hours in 2015. And originals are the reason (Netflix and Cowen & Company, 2016)
  6. Digital Video Ad Spending is Growing But Slowing. We’re seeing about 30 percent growth in digital video ad spending this year, but in the next few years the growth will slow somewhat…. Down to 20 percent next year and about 10% by 2020. Still growing, just not as radically.
  7. Watch out. We're gonna block that online-video ad on mobile.
    Watch out. We’re gonna block that online-video ad on mobile.

    Video ads need help. Many Online video ads are ineffective. About 80% of us mute video ads, and the majority (62%) are annoyed with pre-rolls. And 93% consider using ad-blocking software (Unruly Future Video Survey, July 2015). Given mobile use behavior, online videos are going to have to adapt.

  8. Block You. You know that thing about mobile users being annoyed by ads? The growth of mobile ad blocking is happening radically faster than desktop (as cited by the KPCB report, PageFair & Priori Data 2016 Adblocking Report.).
  9. What works in mobile video ads? Keep it less than 10 seconds, shoot it for mobile, and try for full-screen delivery. (Snapchat and other sources).
  10. What makes for good video ads? Unruly’s recommendations: be authentic, entertain, evoke emotion, go personal/relatable, be useful, give viewers control… and work with sound off and in non-interruptive ad format.

See more at eMarketer. Or KPCB for internet trends. Or Invisia for more.

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

There’s a new Global Online Video Association led by Paul Kontonis. What does it means to YouTube and the networks like Collective, Maker, Machinima, Fullscreen and others?

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.

What Percent of Us Have Uploaded a Video? Why?

"Oh, this is going viral, Claire."
“Oh, this is going viral, Claire.”


One in four people (25%) of Americans have uploaded a video, according to a recent Pew Research report.

That’s driven by two factors:

  • Mobile — more than 40% of us record video on our cell phones and 40% watch videos on our tiny screens.
  • Social media uptick going from 8% in 2005 to 72% in 2013.

The percent of online adults who watch or download videos has also grown from 69 in 2009 to 78 in 2013. Here’s a little video of results, although I’ve pretty much stolen its thunder.



Want to Reach Minorities: YouTube Stars Have Audiences

“Who Are Today’s YouTube Stars?” is a recent story title from The Washington Post

Hayley Tsukayama also wrote a Post article about minorities reaching more individuals than popular television shows:

…Almost most each of (Kevin Wu’s comedy) shows command at least 2 million views — rivaling the nightly TV audiences of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

A disproportionate share of YouTube’s top personalities are minorities, writes Tsukayama. Yet the popular shows on mainstream television have stars are largely white. “These minority-produced, home-grown shows are drawing massive audiences — the top one has 5.2 million subscribers — enough to attract the attention of major advertisers.”Ryan higa youtube minority

Ryan Higa (above) is a Japanese American comedian and that top YouTuber mentioned by Tsukayama. Higa has the second among all YouTube channels, with videos viewed 1.1 billion times.

Michelle Phan, the Vietnamese American beauty guru, is 20th among YouTube’s most popular channels, has become a spokeswoman for Lancome.

And here’s the clincher:

Nearly 80 percent of minorities regularly watch online videos, compared with less than 70 percent of whites, the Pew Internet & American Life Project says.

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.”

Yahoo Video Out-YouTubes YouTube

Yahoo Video: Better aggregation of my kinda video

The latest version of Yahoo Video arguably out-YouTubes YouTube itself. There are just two problems with Yahoo Video, using this Butterfinger Comedy section as an example. First, I’m not a fan of auto-roll videos (especially the jabba the hut neck dude, which hits too close to home). Second, YouTube is still better at customizing videos based on my preference.

Otherwise I’d give Yahoo Video a like and thumb’s up for finding good content. Clearly a number of people are curating content, and Yahoo Screen is very 3.0ish… looks like it’s making that critical leap from web to TV.

Now let’s identify what we need from online video:

  1. Ability to toggle between short and long form content (for different types of sessions).
  2. Toss to TV… allow longer videos to be saved, and automatically cued on TV.
  3. Better predictive recommendations.
  4. We like current, so current videos should get primacy (and they don’t sufficiently on YouTube or Yahoo).
  5. More intuitive user experience tools
  6. Less clutter
  7. Separation between vloggers/amateurs and pro content
  8. Integration with social network (YouTube should have done more of this with Google Plus launch)
Yahoo Screen
I’ve always wondered why Yahoo, who is more about content, slept through the online-video revolution… snubbing amateur content. Now it seems to be taking a more YouTube approach. The trick, however, is that out-YouTubing YouTube doesn’t mean customers will flock. Yahoo needs to create a Yahoo edge that takes online-video to 2012-2015. What’s it gonna be, Yahoooooooo?
Hey I just realized Yahoo Video called me a year or so ago to discuss a program like YouTube Partners, and then dropped the ball. Bastahds.
YouTube: Better at recommendations still (but it has more data on us)


NextUp YouTube Winners in NYC

So the NextUp YouTube winners are in NYC right now… receiving loads of love from Google/YouTube. It made me happy seeing the next generation of amateurs… and to see that Google/YouTube still encourages them even while commercial content is on the rise on the world’s second-largest search engine.

I was invited to speak to the 25 of ’em, and here’s my presentation. If you were one of the wanna-bees, don’t fret. I asked if they’d be picking a new crop 3 times until I got the answer I wanted to hear… yes.

After I cranked this presentation out, I realized I’d been billed as the marketer. So this deck actually represented only half my time. During the rest I decided to play the role of an amalgamated product director, and I replaced my “Nalts” hat with a blazer. I asked them to pick a product (they said Coke), then I proceeded to explain my goals, hidden agendas, beliefs about YouTube and my understanding about product placement and sponsorship. I couldn’t help but point out that Coke gives out free products on the streets of NYC but no swag to people that have hundreds of thousand views daily. Hmmmm.

I told them I wanted to sell more Coke so I could become Chief Marketing Officer, and that I was mostly concerned with reach, frequency and single-minded proposition. I wanted to leverage emerging media, but I deferred YouTube spending to my media agency. And I wouldn’t know how to begin to tap YouTube creators… frankly I’d be scared they’d harm my brand (as a product director, of course, I wouldn’t realize I could review/approve any sponsored videos).

Lots more detail in my free eBook or Beyond Viral, which you really should just go ahead and buy. And dont find any thpelling erars.


AdAge Celebrates YouTube Sellouts

AdAge called out the biggest YouTube sellouts— those known for sponsored videos for top brands. Naturally my headline would have read “YouTube’s Most Prolific Sponsored Artists” had I been included in the list. For those of you whose nipples don’t get pointy when you hear words like “advertising, marketing, Mad Men, spot, creative brief, storyboards, USP, reach, frequency and single-minded proposition,” AdAge is kinda the Forbes for advertising junkies. It’s like Men’s Health except some straight people read it.

shaycarl t-shirt

The actual article is titled “Meet YouTube’s Most In-Demand Brand Stars,” and it’s a nice representation of the booming webstar, perhaps the central point of “Beyond Viral,” an amazing new book by Wiley & Sons coming out Sept. 21. Despite some conspicuous misses and a few odd inclusions, the article points to some interesting nuggets like MysteryGuitarMan (MGM) preference for a blank creative brief… his videos have never been better, and each one squashes my own confidence more aggressively than the next.

I would have also liked to read a “who’s who” of the companies that link stars with brands (Hitviews, Mekanism, PlaceVine, Howcast, YouTube). That’s something you don’t see covered well, and it’d be fascinating to read about the total market for sponsored videos and the dominant players.

TubeMogul helped compile this list, and you can see the webstar’s vital signs on the TubeMogul marketplace. The stats seem to be out of synch with YouTube’s counter and other sites (TubeMogul has me at 145 million, while YouTube alone counts 161 million…. so my views on Yahoo Video and other sites must be negative 16 million). It could be that once I “private” a video (like those I’ve buried because I no longer like them), I lose Tubemogul credit for them.

Before I could go to bed sulking for being overlooked by AdAge and Tubemogul, I discovered author Irina Slutsky sent me a note about this a week or so. And yeah I missed it. Just like the two e-mail offers to appear on AnnoyingOrange, one of the hottest web series by DaneBoe.

ADHD online-video creator and marketer seeks minimum-wage e-mail account manager from India.

These peeps don’t seem to read my blog, but I consider more than a few of them as friends… Trippy (he’s been in my kids’ bed), Buckley (he spanked me), Penna (wrote the Nalts theme and couldn’t get into bars at early YouTube gathersings), and Shay (he was new, we collabed, then he became twice as big as me overnight… and also got a lot more viewers). Others are more like acquaintances like Justine (who keeps a safe distance, but I made her what she is) and Smosh. Speaking of Smosh, Ian and Anthony get props for the recent Butterfinger Snackers video (“Selling Out”) that spoofed the criticism they’ve taken lately for doing a few too many sponsored videos. Heh. I did a Butterfinger video in 2006, a year before I goofed on this whole sponsored-video space with this video, which mentions Smosh. I’m guessing the Smosh kids never saw this diddy…

It’s me 3 years ago mimicking the emergence YouTube “sell outs” and the personalities who might desperately broker brand/webstar love connections... you know, the entities connecting brands and web stars. Most YouTube webstars know more about engaging an audience than turning a brand strategy into effective and persuasive messaging… so they need help. There are some exception- like Rhett and Link, who could just as well be their own boutique creative agency, as reflected in the quality of their advertainment and the highly unusual ratio of branded to non-sponsored views. I almost like their sponsored videos better than their brand-deficient ones because like a pro athlete they make it look easy.

And, lest I miss mentioning my book (Beyond Viral) in a single post, you’ll find mention of almost all of these cats inside the low-cost pages… including featured sections on Rhett & Link, Charles Trippy, Shay Butler and others.

Hey what ever happened to Buckley? I think he ignored me like Caitlin Hill (thehill88) and iJustine. Maybe Buckley needs an e-mail intern… I wonder if there are any Indians with the name Mason?

AppleTV vs. iTV vs. Roku vs. TiVo vs. WTF?

The iPin is AppleTV's latest model, and it's smaller than a grain of rice but 32.5% larger than Plankton from Spongebob.

I’m a long-time advocate of the AppleTV, and intrigued enough by the iTV that I’ve got one on route. So what’s the difference, you ask? First check out Ryan/NewTeeVee’s coverage of AppleTV vs. Roku vs. Boxeee. Liz/NewTeeVee provides more in-depth coverage of the AppleTV/iTV.

So there’s no iTV. It’s just a new version of AppleTV, where the price of the unit was slashed in third. At $99 you won’t likely find a smoother interface to stream your content… assuming it’s as user-friendly and fast as AppleTV’s earlier model (around $300 with some room for storage).

We like the lower entry price making it an impulse buy, and the 99-cent rentals of television shows we miss — despite our best attempts via TiVo or the vintage DVR you’re using because you’re the cable company’s little bitch.

Until now we were buying assloads of missed television shows at twice that price ($1.99), and that’s a bit bloated for a 23-minute show (but certainly fair for an 45-minute show). We’re talking about decent HD, no stupid pre-rolls, an easy interface, and easy purchasing via the credit card Mac has on file. And for 95% of the shows we bought, a rental would be fine.While we’re not happy to see episodes costing $2.99 to own now, we’re hoping that our old AppleTV enjoys a software upgrade that makes it a new one. Otherwise we feel screwed. Except “The Office” and a few other shows, we don’t need to own in a reasonably priced “on demand” word. Wait that’s a drop quote.

We don’t need to own in a reasonably priced “on demand” word.

I find it perplexing that the unwashed masses are only beginning to adopt these things. We’ve got a Roku that’s not used often except for occasional Netflix viewing. The TiVo is the primary device because it plays live Verizon Fios without subjecting us to the horrible Verizon machines… TiVo also allows us to “subscribe” to YouTubers like “Obama Girl” and “Rhett & Link” and “The Onion” and “College Humor.”

Maybe I’ll do a little video demo when I get the new AppleTV because I read Scoble’s tweet that we can use our iPad as a remote to the new AppleTV, something that didn’t seem very easy with the old one.

Bottom line:

  • AppleTV is different in two ways. Cheaper unit ($99 not $300), and now you can rent all that television you missed or if you’re still not paying for access to premium channels because you’re a cheap bastard like me. Wait that made no sense. I’m probably paying more by buying these shows.
  • More choices (in hardware and vendor/price options) means a more confused marketplace but more attention by the mass market. Only one or two will survive, and you’re going to be getting lots of questions from your parents in the next few years. At least there’s no flashing 12:00 to worry about.
  • I’d predict that these will be mainstream by the fall, but I’m a bit gun shy making that prediction a 5th year in a row. I can’t even remember how I hedged this subject in my book, which is coming out in a week or so.
  • If I talk about my book too often, please tell me. I have seen authors do that, and it’s revolting. If I’m walking around with spinach in my teeth, you’d say something right?
  • How the heck did Netflix secure its space in this evolution? We thought they’d be Blockbustered.
  • It doesn’t bother me that only two people read my blog carefully.
  • Seriously- give me one good reason NOT to have a friggin’ Roku/Netflix/TiVo/AppleTV in your house? Sure it’s a few more devices and subscriptions, but we think this Onion spoof on Blockbusters is a reality now. When’s the last time you rented a DVD?
  • Is anyone else feeling like YouTube has gone WAY to far with the pre-rolls lately?

The Problem With Predicting the Future of Online Video (and the magic of marketers)

Ladies in gentleman, in this seminal post, I shall speak to you not as a video entertainer but as a student of psychology, a practicioner of marketing, and a former magician (age 10). Watch in awe as I explain why our human species has trouble predicting the future, why some of my online-video foresight has been subject to such annoying external factors (not my own failures, of course), and how marketers survive. Then gaze in bewilderment as I change the subject so artfully that you conclude with a round of applause for my genius, and your keen intellect and humor for appreciating it.

As you loyal readers surely know, this blog has periodically devoted itself to predicting the future of online video (see 2006 post), and my soon-to-be-published “Beyond Viral” has a short chapter that attempts some quite risky futurspection*. It may not surprise you that it was the last chapter I wrote, the one I procrastinated the most, and the one that will surely be wrong in as many ways as it’s right.

But you and me? We’re a lot alike in that way. We are all clueless at predicting the future, even though we’re masters at looking back in time to convince ourselves otherwise. We revise history to confirm that we purposely selected the path we stumbled into quite by chance. Ask yourself about the last major change you made (change in job, relationship, geography, etc.). If it was more than a year ago, the reasons you recall justifying it are entirely different from the ones that caused it. By now your psychological white blood cells have attacked that virus of a notion, but let’s move on… Common, drop it I said. Dropppp it. Keep reading. Good boy.

There are, of course, a number of problems our species has with making predictions:

1) We can’t escape “present bias” in making  predictions (a subject well explained in Dan Gilbert’s “Stumbling on Happiness“). For instance, in this 1960s futuristic view of today’s technology (video below), you’ll see that both members of the household enjoy the use of “televisions” (not monitors) and hand write communication that is sent from a “post office” in their very homes. What makes this video so humorous, of course, is that it completely overlooks the changes in gender roles. Wife is spending, and husband is busy using his multiple monitors to figure out how to pay for them. Oh, and neither have apparently adjusted their hair for the future.

I encourage you to check out Gilbert’s book if you share my interest in pursuing happiness, spiritual curiosity, amazement with psychology. I believe my next book (yes it’s time already to think about that) will be partially drawing upon Gilbert’s wisdom to provide marketers with new and entertaining ways to manipulate us transparently: let’s call it transmanipulation*. Does that sound odd? Than you haven’t seen my video about why I decided to become a marketer (click to see video about my experience with the $1.25 “flying ghost”).

Where was I? Oh- check out this video and ask yourself why it’s odd. The multiple monitors? The pen reader? The haircuts?

2) We tend to overestimate the short-term changes, and underestimate the long-term ones. (Better put by Naughton in 2008, “THE FIRST Law of Technology says we invariably overestimate the short-term impact of new technologies while underestimating their longer-term effects.” When I began imagining the future of online video in 2006, I expected online-video and television to have merged by now. But I failed to imagine far more interesting things like how we’re slowly beginning to consume more video from our smart phones, and about how television and online video continue to co-exist.

The big stuff creeps up on us like the frog in water that gets slowly hotter (legend has it that he’d jump out immediately if it was boiling to begin with). If you haven’t heard this analogy before, or investigated the flaws in it, then you really need to spend more time with some marketers.

3) Vested interests retard progress. This quote, from a wonderful 1950s article in Popular Mechanics predicting 2000, explains this challenge well. When I imagined integrated online-video and television, I underestimated how the economic interest by cable providers would delay what is readily available. Although ANYONE with moderate income can enjoy online video from their HDTV, few do. That’s because most of us are so lazy or uninformed that we default to the box that Comcast or Verizon sell or rent us. Then we laugh about how our grandmother is still renting a rotary phone from Mah Bell.

Predictions for 2000 (Popular Mechanics, January 1950)

Yes, friends, today’s technology is not entirely driven by possibilities and your preferences and demand. You’ll get what the economy rewards, even if that means you’ll buy your iPhone and iPad and give up Flash. And you’ll switch from one telecommunications provider with great coverage and low prices to another… because your emotional desire for beautiful and prestigious gadgets overrides your logic. Sorry, folks. The brain is the rabbit in the “hare versus turtle” tale. Bet on the heart.

Wait this time I switched subjects by accident not on purpose. But just out of curiosity, did you click the word “retard” in this section’s title?

4) We selectively recall predictions we and others called accurately (and ignore or forget the ones that were wrong unless they were wonderfully and profoundly wrong). This inarguable psychological nuance is the basis for a booming industry of futurists and psychics. Even their victims help their cause, like many Notradamus faithfuls do when selectively interpreting his predictions. But before you feel too proud to be above that, consider why you might visit a psychic… then later recall just a few of the things he/she predicted quite accurately. You know the Pied Piper is manipulating you, but dang that pipe plays a mesmorizingly* attractive tune.

While in 2006 I predicted fairly well the consolidation of online-video sites and the evolution of a network aggregation model (Hulu), I also thought some online-video stars would become television and film stars. Whoops- failed to appreciate that the television/film economy still mostly under estimates or snubs “weblebrities,” and that many have gained more income and larger audiences by NOT being plucked from web obscurity and graced with attention from talent agencies, representatives and producers. I’m also seeing more clearly that what makes a web star (talent, self sufficiency, persistence, social networking, interaction with audience, thick skin, diversity of skills) is quite different from what makes a television or film star (good looks, acting chops, Hollywood network, good timing, the right gene pool, ass kissing).

And of course sometimes I like predicting things unlikely just to generate some controversy or get people to think.

So why, you ask, am I reflecting on the “problems of predicting the future of online video” (or any crystal ball gazing)? You didn’t ask that, but I made you think you did.

Well its’ pretty simple. I’m using this post as an exercise in addressing cognitive dissonance with public use of rationalization, ego defense and misdirection. But now you think you saw that all along, right? In 2006 I predicted “marketers will get smarter” about online video. And although financial predictions suggest 2011 the space will flourish, I failed big time on that account. As a career marketer, I should have known one thing with certainty. We marketers will not get smarter in a year, or even a dozen years. We’re an impressive group with lots of sizzle, but smarter? So naive I can be.

We marketers lack the balls to sell or the intellect to create something. But we’re psychological masters of that odd space between creating (Beta tapes were good) and selling (VHS tapes were adopted), so we market!

Sure it's snake oil. We both know that. But isn't it fun to pretend it will solve all your problems and make you happy forever?!

And you’ll watch with amazement at our brilliance! Stand with mouths agape as we’re targeting important segments, generating unique consumer insights, identifying real and perceived value propositions, engaging and converting prospects, articulating benefits not features, and (of course) executing flawlessly. Yes you’ll watch our show like first-grade children enjoying their first magic show. Some will see our slight of hands, but all will leave with astonishment and wonder.

(Insert applause here)

* I made us the words in asterisks, and I hereby trademark them (c) Kevin Nalty 2010.