The Wall Street Journal reports that a 100-person Utah company, led by CEO Roxanne Austib, has raised more than $67 million from some prominent backers that include Microsoft Corp., Comcast Corp. and Walt Disney Co.’s venture-capital arm. The goal? Bring television video to homes via the Internet. I know. Crazy, right? What next? A computer in every home?
If the company pulls it off, you could watch programs via the web, your television-shaped monitor (via a converter box unless it already has an Internet jack or wireless receiver), or via your stupid iPhone or iPad (which some bastard called “the fourth screen” today at a conference, and made my omelette travel back up my throat).
But you won’t.
“…Move isn’t laying cable or launching satellites (so it says it)… can charge consumers far less than traditional pay-television operators for a comparable suite of channels. Move hopes to undercut those operators further by offering a pared-down lineup-perhaps as few as 80 to 100 channels.”
Here’s where it gets interesting. Comcast just launched a service called TV Everywhere that, um, uses Move software to provide its paying prisoners free on-demand access via the web. So will Comcast keep Mmmmoving? Or drop Move like Time Warner dropped its retarded older stepbrother AOL? I’d expect a bloodbath, and I will enjoy every moment. As the WSJ acknowledged, this “could turn cable providers into little more than utilities, maintaining thousands of miles of dumb pipe-pipe through which Move’s snazzily repackaged TV programming would be flowing.” Say what you will about Comcast, but I don’t think it will become a dumb pipe without a fight.
Would you like to know the very sad “secret weapon” cable maintains? We’re change-adverse, lazy idiots.
We take don’t like breaking up with important service providers even when they suck (how many excuses have you used to avoid adopting voice-over-IP?) We default to whatever damned boxes our cable/fiber/phone providers install. The model T Ford comes in black and black. We are statistically proven to prefer the burger with the McDonalds wrapper against the exact same burger wrapped in white paper.
We don’t trust new companies- especially on something important like a utility. What? Clear? Saw them at BestBuy and in lots of newspapers and billboards. But who are they? Verizon’s my phone company. It’s the only one I’m allowed to use. Just like the US Post Office is the only way I can send a letter. Groceries delivered via web order? No I like to smell my canned food before I buy it.
Take TiVo for example. It’s better, but few Comcast or Verizon customers realize they don’t have to put up with the TRS80-like machines the cable/telecom companies issue like obligatory military uniforms. Even better, the AppleTV (for $200) will give you every damned television show or movie you could ever want for a couple bucks and 2 clicks… with no stupid monthly obligation. Do we buy them? Nope. We’re saving up for an iPad as big as a goitre.
So perhaps Move soars over every hurdle and obstacle that cable and telcom companies can lobby into its way. Then it manages to (with a nervous and tempered endorsement from big media and tech players) launch a less expensive, easier, high-quality offering that effectively makes Comcast/Verizon a giant Bill-Murray wielding hose… Some early adopters try it and love it. They tell all their pretend virtual friends. But unless 100% of that $67 million is going into mass advertising, we unwashed masses remain confused, and stick with our drunk & swearing spouses we call cable/telecom. It’s our fault they abuse us.
Yes, we unwashed masses continue overpaying for never-used cable channels, ignoring the blinking 12:00 on the Betamax, and continue our 45th year of renting standard-issue 30-pound rotary phones for $5 a month from Ma Bell. We unwashed masses already tried your fancy microwave machines and facsimile phones, and that will be enough for now.
2009 proved the power of video and social media can change the world.
We experience the Presidential Inauguration with millions of friends on Facebook. We read breaking news stories from citizen journalists on Twitter. We saw live as-it-happens video on YouTube hours before the stories reached our televisions and the standard reports by traditional news agencies were read.
More than any other year 2009 saw the rise of video as one of the most effective communication mediums in world history.
Virtually, every aspect of video is now included in business. From concept, scripting, storyboards, production, editing, encoding, storing, managing, distributing, syndicating, tracking, analyzing, etc… Content producers, media companies, small and medium-sized business all have the same opportunities to build their business and become online video publishers like any major corporation.
2009 also saw a shift in how we do business, from the personal to the virtual, in boardrooms, in our living rooms and especially, from our mobile devices; which will soon do everything and anything we can imagine.
The stresses of the 2008 economy saw businesses cut their travel budgets, so it was no surprise that after more than 20 years videoconferencing found its resurgence as, “the next big thing” and video became the vehicle for our conversation.
TelePresence became a household word. Powered by Cisco TelePresence Solutions nonstop marketing efforts, IP video chat, WebConferencing, collaboration and live video streaming moved to the forefront as many businesses and media companies looked for ways to connect people and their team members to broaden consumer markets and publishing.
In 2010 I predict the most important area for video marketing and publishing will be the value video brings to the rate of return, ROI. Analytics will be big! It is how we measure and track performance, but it’s not going to be just about numbers, it’s going to be about engagement and reach.
Since “views” is what ultimately drives revenue we will see the emergence and demand for a standardization metric in both the industry and in business. We will also see an increase in social media metrics focused on search, discovery and optimization.
It is no longer enough for companies to deploy video solutions, business will need to engage in the communities where their audiences are through a variety of social networks. Conversation tools like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube will help marketers extend their reach and promote their brands.
Video is now part of the strategy within the ecosystem of marketing, and not just part of online marketing, but it must be part of everyone’s overall business plan.
Finally, in 2010 we will see more focus on high quality content, storytelling and a Smart Video Business Model (SVBM) will emerge to help foster that growth.
Every day, I run across FEAR of marketing on the Web. We’ve got to work together to help people overcome this fear in 2010.
Fear comes from bosses who insist on calculating the ROI of the marketing based on sales leads and press clippings.
Fear comes from offline advertising and PR practitioners cautiously making the transition to Web platforms to generate attention.
Fear comes from those who insist on copying the competition.
Fear comes from people who think “online video is just for kids.”
What’s behind the fear? Let’s take a closer look and then debunk a few myths:
FEAR OF PEOPLE SAYING BAD THINGS ABOUT US
Many company executives and public relations people trace their worries about “new marketing” to their belief that “people will say bad things about our company” via social media.
This fear leads them to ignore blogs and online forums and to prohibit employees from participating in social media. In every discussion that I’ve had with employees who freely participate in social media, I’ve confirmed that this fear is significantly overblown. Let me repeat – everyone who has experience tells me this fear is overblown.
Sure, an occasional person might vent frustrations online, and now and then a dissatisfied customer might complain (unless you’re in the airline industry and then it might be more than a few).
But the benefit of this kind of communication is that you can monitor in real-time what’s being said and then respond appropriately. Employees, customers and other stakeholders are talking about your organization offline anyway, so unless you are participating online, you’ll never know what’s being said at all.
The beauty of the Web is that you benefit from instant access to conversations you could never participate in before. And frequently you can turn around impressions by commenting on a “negative” post.
FEAR THAT WE WILL LOOK SILLY
When you wrote a first blog post, started shooting videos for YouTube, or begin to tweet it felt like you’re just a big dork, right? I certainly did. But like anything, experience brings mastery. Tell those who are fearful to just get going!
My daughter is learning how to drive. Yes, she gets honked at and may even get “the finger” as she gingerly tries to park in a crowded lot. But she’ll figure it out. Learning to drive takes time, but it is worth it because it beats the hell out of biking or walking in a Massachusetts winter.
FEAR THAT IT DOES NOT WORK IN OUR INDUSTRY
One of the most frequent manifestations of fear is that web marketing does not work “in our industry.” The proof people provide is that nobody else is doing it. I’ve heard “The new rules do not work for mutual fund managers or lawyers or dentists or politicians or Singapore based software companies or Canadian blood donation centers or Florida based real estate agents or churches or rock bands….” I’ve heard them all. I see the excuses of “this doesn’t apply to my market” and “people in my market do not use social media” literally every day.
Duh. Someone has to be a pioneer.
So my style and strategy in my books and speeches is to show examples from many different organizations. I also show examples from non-profits, the military, government agencies, doctors, rock bands, plus big companies, small companies, B2C, B2B and much more.
I am firmly convinced (and my audiences agree) that you can learn more from what a broad range of people are doing than from what other people just like you are doing. Let’s help people get over their fear by insisting that they not insist on copying the competitors. Instead, tell them to learn from a rock band or hospital.
Better yet, tell people who are fearful to learn from Nalts. He’s the master.
The long-anticipated second edition of David Meerman Scott’s book The New Rules of Marketing and PR releases in late December 2009. The first edition, a Business Week bestseller, is published in 24 languages. Follow David’s Blog
Seven secrets YouTube doesn’t want you to know. Revenue, profit, editorial versus algorithm, Steven Chen’s latest.
Man that headline will sell. Truth is, I am very careful about NOT revealing confidential information on this blog that I learn from Google employees, as a YouTube partner, or through my conversations with industry colleagues or creators.
Here are the secrets the YouTube PR folks won’t reveal:
1) YouTube is Monetizing Fewer than 9 Percent of Its Videos. But Who Cares? Kudos to Jason Kincaid for doing fancy math to figure out what percent of videos YouTube is monetizing (meaning the site is making money instead of paying to stream and bleeding money). The answer was 8.5%, which is close to AdAge’s 8.7% estimate (CNN Money claims 13%). Of course, monetizing could mean shitty lil’ penny banner buys, decent InVideo sponsorships, homepage takeovers, or premium rev-share deals. It’s long been rumored to be 3-5 percent monetization, but let’s get real. Google could turn that number to 100% by simply running Adsense indescriminately on each page. So I’d be less concerned about the percent than the profitability.
Thanks to YouTube my videos are seen 200-250,000 times a day (yey, Uncle Google). That wouldn’t happen any other way, and I’m only hoping the biz-dev folks enhance the average profit per-monetized video before it bothers chasing the impossible-to-monetize-well long tail. This is happening as we speak with new revenue boosting options.
If I got a penny per view, I’d earn $730,000.00 this year. I’m not, mkay?
3) YouTube Still Plays Favorite, and especially for “TV Shows.” Lately, YouTube has worked hard to pimp its “shows,” a collection of retro TV that lost its charm faster than Bazooka loses its taste. Ba-boom. There also are some YouTube partners that live on the home-page (CommunityChannel), the recommendation section for new registrants to YouTube, or are “micro-featured” everywhere. We don’t know whether the editors are doing this, or the algorithms are saying: “these guys are good YouTube-addiction starter drugs.” But we do know that if a human does have any input to this “favoritism,” the person is probably really smart, attractive and has good breath. Man I’d like to meet ’em!
4) It’s All About Your Relatives: Not Keywords and Viral. Think viral-views is the engine behind YouTube? Wrong. It’s about having a steady daily audience (like many, but not all, of the top 100 most-subscribed) and having your videos appear as a related video to popular videos… in other words, via ad, editor or algorythm, getting next to watched videos. Just like being next to a pretty girl makes you look cooler.
A visit to YouTube is often a chain reaction. You start to watch one video, and several related videos draw you deeper. Metacafe was once the master of this, and now YouTube is drawing upon its data-oriented parent, Google, to facilitate what I call the “video roach motel” model. This will get better with time, as we move from “title, tag, description” as being the view driver, to that mystical thing called “relevancy.”
What’s relevancy? I’ll give you two examples: if someone searching Google returns instantly after clicking on a result, that page is penalized on the rankings. Presumably it wasn’t what the searcher wanted. On YouTube, if a video is poorly rated and/or is viewed for a percentage that’s far below average for its total duration, it will eventually be penalized. Example two: on Amazon, there’s a high correlation between Wayne Dyer and Dr. Seuss book purchases, then those two books are related. The machine is getting smarter based on universal behaviors and your own preferences. Soon enough, my audience will be a smaller percent of YouTube but hopefully larger and more appropriate. That’s because we’ll see more of “people who like Shaycarl may also like Nalts.” (And although I may not be as funny or cute, I’ll look thinner to those viewers).
Neither of these models requires indexing the content, mind you. So in theory a video could be relevant to you without the algorithm even knowing what’s being spoken (remember years ago we thought all video would be transcribed to facilitate SEO… and that we’d be driving space cars by now?).
5) YouTube May Not be Hurting, But it’s Hungry. Google was the first to abandon banners and move entirely to a bid model. But YouTube, in a Yahoo-like move, has blitzed in past few months with homepage takeovers. Folks, there’s no reason for ads to represent 50% of the site’s homepage (above the fold) unless you’re trying to show fast revenue. It’s not Googlesque (even if CNN Money maintains that Google hearts YouTube). Of course the rice-sized brained media buyers are using this precious space to simply drive awareness instead of engagement: most of the homepage takeovers are for films, and there’s usually nothing more than a trailer to compel interaction.
CNN Money suggests all is zen-like between YouTube and Google. Hey, even if YouTube captured as much as 1 billion in annual revenue, that’s 1/30th of what Google does. Meh. So if YouTube bleeds a few hundred million to run itself ($83-$350 million in infrastructure/hosting alone, and — who knows — $250 million to maybe $500 million in a year), who cares as long as it has strategic long-term value? Online video is white hot, and it’s just a matter of expediting the future and reducing the blood loss. Of course, all of this is speculation, and Google/YouTube aint talking.
6) Why YouTube Can’t Discuss Real Profit/Loss. No, YouTube doesn’t want you knowing about its economics, but I have 3 words for the curious: stop asking, idiot. YouTube can’t over or understate financials, yet journalists whine about the company’s decision to not publish profitability (or even costs or revenue specifics). Imagine the channel conflicts disclosure would create! If it’s horrible, YouTube has dimished street credibility with media outlets, downstream distribution partners, and advertisers… not to mention shareholders. If it’s schweet, then it attracts copyright attorneys like watermelon at a picnic. But should YouTube reveal case study ROIs (with permission of advertisers) to legitimize the medium to marketers? Uh- yeah. Glad you asked. I give YouTube a D minus on this.
We spend more time watching online videos than having sex.
If you’re an average online-video watcher, then today you’ll watch about 2 videos, and spend 6 minutes doing so. You’ll most likely be on YouTube, but if you’re watching long-form television on Hulu you’re probably skewing the average by watching for much longer per session/view.
So, friends, you’re probably watching online-videos for more time each month than you are having sex — depending, of course, on whether you’re one of those 2.7 minute “slam bam thank you mam” YouTube people, or if you prefer the longer forplay of “Hulu-like” engagements.
And I’m not sure all of that online-video viewing is going to help you in the sex department, but it’s a more reliable, albeit often less climaxic, alternative.
Check out Stephen Shankland’s “Online Viewing Clears Three Hours Per Month.” Neilsen is the source. Do you know how silly that headline will look by the end of the year? First, we’ll have a more difficult time what’s occuring “online” versus “offline” as devices merge. Second, because that three hours will grow dramatically as people begin to consume an episode of Lost (which is, by my crude calculations, roughly the same time it would take to consume about 20 or so short videos on YouTube).
Here are some other notable points from Shanland, and a pretty chart so you can see that YouTube is dominating viewers and videos viewed. But this is going to change when we look at duration spent per site. After all, Hulu has longer-form content, and Yahoo’s 25 million users could, with a little prompting by Yahoo, start watching more video. Hulu has more ad inventory than it has sold, and one can only assume the ad inventory isn’t sufficient for Yahoo to compel its visitors to consume video. Or perpahs Yahoo visitors are busy enjoying display ads and drinking their Tabs or Mr. Pibbs.
March viewing rose 13 percent to 191 minutes. Total video streams viewed increased 9 percent from 8.9 billion to 9.7 billion. And the number of videos per user grew 7 percent from about 70 to 74.
If time spent is going up faster than videos streamed, that means a) we’re tolerating 2.7-minute YouTube clips, or b) Longer form content is skewing the average, and we’re continuing to expect our YouTube clips to be 2-3 minutes. I suspect the latter, but Neilsen and the Shankenizer aren’t saying.
The market share:
Google’s YouTube continues to dominate the category, with 5.5 billion videos and 89 million people using the service in the U.S.
Hulu is in second place with 348 million videos and 9 million users.
Yahoo is in third place with 232 million videos, but it’s got more users than Hulu, about 25 million users.
Coke and Google are soon to publish ROI data on a campaign in Germany that includes online video. The study isolates individuals who were not exposed to television but did see YouTube promotion, and reports incremental consumption data by various digitalchannels. Paid search leads, of course, and YouTube ranks high (far above banners, which showed almost no impact… and outdoor advertising).
Jens Monsees, who heads consumer goods and healthcare at Google in Spain, teased the audience with info, but results are to be published jointly by Coke and Google. Monsees was speaking at Exlpharma.com’s “Digital Pharma Europe” in Barcelona today.
It’s about time we had a marketing mix study that includes online video, and I look forward to seeing the details. BTW- the average YouTube viewer is 31 years old.
A YouTube for All of Us
As a community, we have come to count on each other to be entertained, challenged, and moved by what we watch and share on YouTube. We’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to make the collective YouTube experience even better, particularly on our most visited pages. Our goal is to help ensure that you’re viewing content that’s relevant to you, and not inadvertently coming across content that isn’t. Here are a few things we came up with:
* Stricter standard for mature content – While videos featuring pornographic images or sex acts are always removed from the site when they’re flagged, we’re tightening the standard for what is considered “sexually suggestive.” Videos with sexually suggestive (but not prohibited) content will be age-restricted, which means they’ll be available only to viewers who are 18 or older. To learn more about what constitutes “sexually suggestive” content, click here.
* Demotion of sexually suggestive content and profanity – Videos that are considered sexually suggestive, or that contain profanity, will be algorithmically demoted on our ‘Most Viewed,’ ‘Top Favorited,’ and other browse pages. The classification of these types of videos is based on a number of factors, including video content and descriptions. In testing, we’ve found that out of the thousands of videos on these pages, only several each day are automatically demoted for being too graphic or explicit. However, those videos are often the ones which end up being repeatedly flagged by the community as being inappropriate.
* Improved thumbnails – To make sure your thumbnail represents your video, your choices will now be selected algorithmically. You’ll still have three thumbnails to choose from, but they will no longer be auto-generated from the 25/50/75 points in the video index.
* More accurate video information – Our Community Guidelines have always prohibited folks from attempting to game view counts by entering misleading information in video descriptions, tags, titles, and other metadata. We remain serious about enforcing these rules. Remember, violations of these guidelines could result in removal of your video and repeated violations will lead to termination of your account.
The preservation and improvement of the YouTube experience is a responsibility we share. Let’s work together to ensure that the YouTube community continues to thrive as a positive place for all of us.
When it comes to new-media news today, lots of rivers lead to the ocean. Steve Rubel (Micropersuasion) told me about this phenomenon two years ago when we hired him to speak at Johnson & Johnson, but now I’m seeing it first hand.
I get all my news about cool stuff from you guys- the brooks of new media. You told me about Vloggerheads, Tubicide, YouTube partner earnings, etc.
Then it eventually gets dumped like landfill into the murky ocean… when it gets picked up by high-strung mainstream reporters, who surf these new media websites to find something to write about it so their editors think they’re hip. And damn what they wouldn’t do for the days when they could smoke in the office.
So in effect, you’re the fog. The rest of us are just shaping it.
Hold on a second- that’s a cool quote. I have to go write it down. Okay I’m back.
Rhett and Link’s Alka Seltzer road show (see previous post) hit Philadelphia recently, and it didn’t take them asking more than once to convince me and a bunch of YouTube Cewebrities to hit Pat and Gino’s to appear in this video. I picked up CharlesTrippy, ShayCarl, TheMightyThor1212 and those gals to stop by before the YoTube events. We did it for fun not profit, but Rhett and Link were classy enough to feed us, and even send us off with beer money for that night (thanks, guys).
Favorite moment? The nervous look on the face of the agency account manager as she reluctantly handed me a Speedy statue. Don’t worry, agency lady. I’ll behave with him.
Admitting my bias, I’m still putting this promotion down as one of the top three smartest viral video campaigns of 2008. It joins the ranks of BMW’s Rampenfest and Diet Dr. Pepper’s Cherry Coke promotion of TayZonday.
It’s funny, entertaining, balanced well (promotion is subtle), it’s leveraging the charasmatic appeal of two video stars who have been provided creative control of the series. Rhett and Link give us a perfect example of advertising content that is first entertaining. And the branding finds a happy medium between, on one extreme, dominating the video, and on the other relegating itself to ignored pop-ups or lost entirely. The topics are related to food, the tone revitalizes an otherwise stale brand, and Alka Seltzer’s differentiator (the plop, fizz) is not lost. Bringing back Speedy was brilliant too.
The only thing I’d say about all three of these campaigns is that they probably could have been done more cost effectively. Diet Dr. Pepper got TayZonday for a song, but had some production overhead (it was also hampered by the reality that the drink tastes like the smell of a chocolate scratch and sniff, and that’s coming from a hardcore Diet Dr. Pepper guy).
The Alka Seltzer road show was fairly shoestring for television and advertising rackets, but still could be leaner (do you need 5 or more people beyond Rhett and Link at the shoot?). I don’t know about Rampenfest, but it looks very, very expensive (guessing $500-$1,000 MM).