How Are Online-Video Watchers Different from Abnormal People?

We online-video watchers are quite different from abnormal people (those who don’t watch). A research group queried nearly 2,000 people (representing the US census data) in April about online-video habits and preferences. The full report, created by Frank N. Magid Associates and sponsored by Metacafe, is called “Opportunities in Online Video,” and available as a PDF here (via ContenttoCommerce).

The basic information is consistent with other research in the field, but I found the following 4 nuggets the most interesting.

  1. Nearly half of us (45%) said online-video ads are as acceptable as television ads. I wonder if that includes those ubiquitous Army prerolls on Metacafe?
  2. I’m an outlier as a male between the age of 35-55 — that’s the only male age range that rated television as a favorite leasure activity above the Internet. Guys age 18-34 selected web nearly 2-3 times more often than television. So if you’re going to ground them, take away the laptop and stick them on television — and lock it on CBS if you’re feeling particularly cruel.
  3. Thirty percent of those 55-65 year olds watch online video weekly, which dispels a lot of the “it’s the younger peeps only” myths. While 70 percent of males ages 18-24 watch online video weekly, the peak range for females is 12-17 (56% watch weekly).
  4. Those of us who view video online at least weekly (that’s about 43% of us) are significantly different from non online-video watchers (around 30%). We’re twice as a likely to own an iPhone, purchase virtual goods, and carry a music player. And we’re significantly more likely to be an online gamer and rent DVDs (see chart below).

online-video viewers profiled by technology adoption

Bad Video News in Threes: Jumpcut is RIP. Revver Not Paying. Metacafe Cursed.

Bad news for the little guys of online video. Jumpcut.com, Yahoo Video’s video and photo site, is closing. Revver has stopped paying creators. Metacafe is cursed.

Online-video tombstones

  • Today Jumpcut sent messages to its users to alert them to the demise of Jumpcut. “Very soon, we’ll be releasing a software utility that will allow you to download the movies you created on Jumpcut to your computer. We’ll send instructions to the email address on your Jumpcut account when the download utility is available,” the company said.
  • Meanwhile, as reported by StreamingMedia.com, Revver.com has stopped paying its creators. Former founder and the most huggable guy in online video, Steven Starr, is busy with his film, “Flow: For Love of Water.”
  • And Metacafe? Well it’s just cursed.

But don’t panic. Neilsen reports that online-video usage is up (see pdf report)… YouTube, according to Neilsen, fetched 5.5 billion views in March (and some industry analysts claim that’s under reporting). The market is “sorting itself out.” Like any industry, we’ll have two or three major options, and the rest will vanish or, better yet, go niche.

At least we still have HuluTube. And Eefoof. And the Scottish lady from “Britain’s Got Talent” that’s all the rage for her Les Mis song.

picture-5

3 Things YouTube Needs ASAP

Today we have a guest contributor to the WillVideoForFood.com Blog the infamous Zack Scott. Noted for his dead pan humor, eclectic video work on YouTube and his love and concern for the common man. Take it away Zack!

‘My Dearest Kevin,
Here is an article for your stupid website…’

3 Things YouTube Needs ASAP
Hey, it’s me, Zack Scott. I’m not a YouTube megastar like Nalts, but I am very thankful for my decent subscriber base. I’m also thankful for YouTube. Since its introduction of the Partner’s Program, I really think that it has undeniably taken the crown as far as the best video site. YouTube’s strongest assets have always been its ease-of-use and its community. But the relatively recent Partner’s Program has really made it an invaluable platform for video producers like myself. With that said, I think there are three things YouTube desperately needs to fully outmatch any video site out there. These suggestions will not only help Partners but YouTube as well.

1. Earnings Reports Per Video

As a Partner, I get earnings based off YouTube’s ad revenue. But I think creators need more insight. I’m not asking for a look at their formulas. All I’m asking for is to have an earnings report that specifies how much money each video receives on a per-month or per-day basis. YouTube has done a fantastic job with their branding options and their demographics reports. Why can’t a Partner have an earnings report? Metacafe has had something similar for about two years.

An earnings report will solve two issues. One, I will be able to enable ads on videos that feature my friends. I will then be able to easily know how much I can distribute to them. I already have apprehension on including anyone else in my videos because I really have no ideas which videos make money. I have a lot of ideas that will require more than just myself, but I really don’t want to underpay or overpay a co-creator. Two, it will give me a look into which of my videos do better in terms of ad revenue. For all I know, my most popular pet videos could be netting me less revenue than my less popular comedy videos. This would also be beneficial for YouTube because it will make me make videos that bring me (and by virtue YouTube) more ad revenue.

2. Thumbnail Selection
With tons of video sites letting creators pick from a vast array of thumbnails to represent their videos, I’m surprised that YouTube only allows you to pick from three. This means I still have to be very careful when editing my videos to make sure the quarter mark, halfway mark, or the three-quarters mark has a decent still shot. YouTube makes everything else easy when it comes to properly categorizing, tagging, and marketing your video. What is up with their limited thumbnail capabilities?

YouTube’s current model gives Partners incentive to inject a nice-looking scene or image into the middle of their video. Sometimes this completely ruins the flow of the videos, and it often breaks the fourth wall. I believe YouTube would benefit from better thumbnail selection because people’s videos would be better, people can edit videos faster, and people wouldn’t have to upload the same video multiple times. This will save YouTube some bandwidth. I hate it when I upload a video only to find out my thumbnails look horrible or blurry!

3. Direct Linking to a Specific Time within Annotations.
YouTube has done wonders with annotations and allowing people to link to other YouTube videos within their own videos. For better or worse, this has led to the creation of a lot of interactive videos. They’ve also recently added a cool feature where you can link to a specific time in any video. Now YouTube just needs to combine the two ideas. I would love to link to a specific time in any video within an annotation!

This would allow me to make an interactive video that is one video in size. I sort of like the concept of interactive videos, but I really hate how Partners have to upload twenty different videos. Maybe this is good for them because they get more views and ad revenue that way. But, at least allow me the option so I can have just one video. This should be a very easy fix. I think it will make the viewer experience much better.

Well, those are my ideas. I’ve already e-mailed YouTube a few times about them, but these changes haven’t been implemented yet. I think the first one is crucial, whereas the others are just fluff. But YouTube has been adding a lot more fluff lately, so maybe they will add these. Feel free to e-mail them as well and let them know if you’d like to see these ideas come to fruition. Also ask them to include a wide screen video player. Thanks for reading. I love you all.

See all and more of Zack’s works @

ZackScott.net –  BreakFacebookInstructables Metacafe PoptentRevver – Twitter –  You Tube

Kevin is a poopie head

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discuss!

Metacafe Gives Viewers Wikipedia-Like Editing Control of Videos

It’s maddening when a creator tricks viewers with misleading thumbnails, titles, tags and descriptions. Until now, we’ve counted on the website’s search engine to solve that problem. But even YouTube’s Google-like sophistication still opens the door to tricks by Viral Video Villians.

Google learns from its users, and I imagine the YouTube search engine quietly gives primacy to videos that meet criteria we never see… such as open rate, duration of average view, related videos, and other metrics that YouTube can track to determine if the video is perceived as relevant or “good.”

Metacafe — without the funding or mother Google to help — has created a clever alternative. It’s giving edit rights to the viewer in true Wiki style. Just as anyone can edit a Wikipedia entry, Metacafe viewers can now edit the title, tags, description and even flag misleading thumbnails or duplicates (I flagged a “Farting in Public” ripoff just now). This is hard to explain, and a video is worth a million views. Watch Sherry in the video here to see how it works. I love this demo and not just because I make a surprise cameo.

I hope Metacafe doesn’t allow its creators to switch the hosts of it’s Metacafe Unfiltered series? Imagine how much better you could make this interview with KipKay, who has made more than $100,000 in advertising revenue on the website.

This begs a lot of questions. I can report a misleading thumbnail (the image you see representing a video before you play it), for instance, but I suspect human intervention is required, and perhaps that requires a few people reporting it. I can edit someone else’s video description, which introduces some risks of abuse initially (for instance, I could add my name to popular video tags but I’m sure it would erode a trust score and have little benefit to me). Ultimately the community will police the community, and that’s theoretically better and less expensive than editors or complex algorithms.


Wikicafe Beta: Hate Typos?The best bloopers are a click away

 

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 TubeMogul.com 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. Sclipo.com 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.com HowCast is probably “the one to watch,” since it has recently signed distribution agreements with Blip.tv, 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. 5min.com 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 Mashable.com, including SuTree.com (a site that aggregates them but isn’t working as of this writing).

Top Secret YouTube Tricks & Hacks

Okay maybe “top secret” is an over statement, but most readers of this post will find a few surprises here. I give you some of the lesser known tricks on YouTube to optimize your experience as a viewer or creator…

  1. Find Best Videos on YouTube
    Don’t surf the homepage or most-recently uploaded section if you want to find the best videos. There are two places to go… the “top rated” section and the “most viewed.” I prefer the latter, because the community decides what’s lands there. Note that some creators live on this page because their fans rate them 5 stars without fail, so it’s not all good. There are also a few people that are “gaming the system” by artificially rating themselves 5 stars with sock accounts or autobots (boo, hiss). If you like vloggers, check the “most discussed” section of “People and Blogs.” You can also surf the “most subscribed” creators (by category) and when you find someone good (say, for example, Nalts) be sure to subscribe. Then visit your subscription page first, which is like an RSS for new videos by your favorite creators.
  2. Watch Blocked Videos.
    See previous post on this blog to see how to hack YouTube if a video’s URL is blocked by your ISP.
  3. See “Recently Deleted” Videos.
    Delutube and ReviveTube allow you to find deleted videos if you know the 11-digit URL. Source: ReelPopBlog.
  4. Make Your Videos Upoad Faster.
    Apparently SpeedBit Video VideoAccelorator makes YouTube videos load more quickly. It works for other sites as well (see site details at Accelorator.com).
  5. Upload to YouTube and a Bunch of Other Sites at Once.
    I use TubeMogul whenever I want to upload beyond YouTube on a mess ofwebsites including, currently, Yahoo!, MySpace, Metacafe, Google, Revver, DailyMotion, Blip.tv, Veoh, Crackle & StupidVideos.
  6. Reference a Video in Comments Section.
    You can post a URL in the comment section of videos, but you can provide the 11-digit alphanumeric code, and then people can post this before it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
  7. Get More Views on YouTube
    I’ve written a free eBook about how to promote yourself on YouTube (“How to Become Popular on YouTube Without Any Talent“), and there are other books including this 25-pager I haven’t read.
  8. Download YouTube Videos
    This is a post with some tips, but I like VideoBox from tastyapps.com (but it’s Mac only). KeepVid can download videos as FLV files pretty quickly. I’m also using Snapz Pro or Snagit to grab short sections of videos very quickly.
  9. Upload Videos for Best YouTube Quality
    For starters, you gotta export your videos in the best resolution possible — that means making them larger files (mine are 100 megs or more) and ensuring all the specifications are YouTube friendly. Trippy’s blog covers these specs well. Some argue that it’s best to convert it to an FLV per YouTube specifications before uploading, but I don’t like the idea of sending YouTube anything compressed so tightly.
  10. Subscribe to Someone When You Can’t.
    YouTube accounts without videos don’t have a “subscribe” option. To get around this (or to make it easy for people to subscribe to you), use this code, substituting the profile name where I have “Nalts.”
    http://youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=nalts

What did I miss? I’m updating this!

Secrets of The YouTube Homepage

ZackScott. I’m not sure when I started watching his stuff, but it was on Revver.com. Then I drifted off to YouTube. He cracked intoMetacafe, where he’s earned more than $17K with his pathetically unfunny pet videos. But for every video of his cat, Otto, there’s another that puts mine to shame. Can anyone top The Bird and the Egg? Or Carwash? These are insta-classics.

This is a guest post from Zack, since he was recently featured on YouTube’s homepage and now is officially on his way to viralness. This Tom Green Flyers video shows you he’s able to mute his social anxiety with an admirable ease.

ZackScott Mario Homepage YouTube

Hello, I’m Zack Scott, and my recent video “Amazing Nintendo Facts” was recently featured on YouTube’s front page. Since then the video has been viewed over 1.5 million times. It is currently the most-viewed comedy video this week and the second most viewed video overall this week on YouTube. I wish it were #1 on both lists, but you don’t expect me to overcome Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” speech do you?

Sorry if it sounds like I’m bragging. Honestly, I feel both proud and lucky right now. Frankly, I’m ecstatic! So, I decided to payback the community in the form of advice based on my recent experience. Hopefully this will be short and digestible. But first, I can’t take absolute credit for the number of views. After all, I don’t have the power to put videos on the front page. So I would like to thank YouTube’s staff. But here are some things that I think helped:

  1. Thumbnail: A YouTube front-page feature can’t get you over a million views on its own. Just look at the current lineup. You have to have a clean presentation. The most important aspect of this is an interesting thumbnail. For my thumbnail, you’ll see that there’s a nice, clean, close-up shot of me dressed as Mario. That should be enough to peak any casual viewer’s interest. The video below mine has over 2 million views mainly because of the half-naked girl for a thumbnail.

  2. Be Precise: It is important to tell the audience what your video is about before they even view it. If the thumbnail isn’t enough to do it, then the title and description should be. From the title, viewers can tell my video contains facts about Nintendo. The description further lays out what kind of facts they’ll be watching and how many.

  3. Topicality/Nostalgia: It won’t be possible for all of your videos to include topicality and/or nostalgia, but it just so happened my video embraced both. Nintendo currently has the top selling console out, plus many YouTubers and Internet users grew up with Nintendo and video games in general. Seeing Nintendo in the title probably made them want to click.

  4. Be Memorable: Breaking a million views requires your video to go viral. A video cannot go viral unless it is memorable. I couldn’t rely on the easy-to-digest facts about Nintendo to carry the video alone, so I included some bizarre humor as well. Half of the comments I got was about Nintendo. The other half was about my cats and how gay I looked in a bathrobe (Editor’s note from KN: Zack does look gay in a bathrobe, so I stand by that comment).

  5. Spread It Yourself: I upload to many sites in hopes that my videos will pick up steam wherever they can. I will also email relevant blogs about my videos. Simply put, the more places your video resides, the more likely it is to go viral. In fact, my video was on the front page of some Nintendo blogs and eBaum’s World before it was featured on YouTube’s front page. This helped the video get on search engines and go viral beforehand.

  6. The Snowball Effect: Subscribers are your lifeblood on sites like YouTube. Unfortunately, they are the hardest part to acquire, and they only come with time and dedication. “Amazing Nintendo Facts” got a strong initial boost due to my subscribers rating and commenting on it. I can’t thank them enough. Their actions helped the video climb the list of most viewed and highest ranked comedy videos, which in turn helped the video get more views. It’s basically a snowball effect. To get more subscribers it is important to network, collaborate on videos, address your fans, and make frequent good-quality videos. The more you do, the more you’ll receive. For example, a large portion of my subscribers was gained when Christopher Mast featured “Amazing President Facts” on YouTube’s front page last year. But that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t got acquainted with Mast through Nalts. Again, it’s the snowball effect. One day I hope to pay him back! Check out his song “No One to Blame.” –

Well I hope this advice comes in handy. It may not guarantee a successful video, but these are good rules to follow for general use. I hope it doesn’t make me sound arrogant or pretentious. Any success I have gained is mainly because of my subscribers and people like you. All of the views in the world would be worthless without the community and feedback I receive. So, thank you for reading and thanks to those out there who watch my videos. -Zack

New Weekly Show Featuring 50 Interesting Online-Video Personalities in 2008: The Bubblegum Tree Show. Yey!

Bubblegum Tree Show logoHad enough of horrible big-media interviews of your favorite online-video “weblebrities”? The same questions over and over? The 7 hours you spend, as a video creator, meeting with a television network, only to find your interview has been reduced to a 12-second soundbite?

Well it’s time for The Bubblegum Tree Show! Yey! (See trailer).

It’s my new weekly show that will feature 50 of the most interesting (not necessarily the most popular) online video personalities in 2008. There is, of course, no shortage of shows that feature online-video creators. In fact I also do one for Metacafe called Metacafe Unfiltered. And then there’s Veoh’s Viral.

But this one’s different. You see, there’s bubblegum. The interviewed guest will be chewing gum, and send it to me at the end. Next, the gum will be affixed to the official “Bubblegum Tree,” which eventually will be populated by dozens of pieces of chewed gum (each beside the name of its weblebrity chewer). The show is designed to be fast, quirky, informal and interesting. The balance I’m trying to establish is making it cheeky, but giving people a real glimpse of the creator’s personality.

Subscribe now (only 25 elite subscribers as of this post), and be the first to catch the premier. Who will be first? CharlesTrippy? MarkDay? LisaNova? We’re after all of them. And if you’re an interesting online-video personality with a fat talent agent, send them our way via “bubblegumtreeshow dot com at g mail.” Because before long getting booked on The Bubblegum Tree Show will be like trying to get your book on Oprah (a woman who has a television show).

“How to Become Popular on YouTube (Without Any Talent)” – A Free eBook

YouTube Popularity bookThank you, dear readers, for your help finalizing this version 1.5 of “How to Become Popular on YouTube Without Any Talent.” Honestly, if I look at this document another moment I’m going to boot. If you’re looking for my real book, “Beyond Viral,” published by Wiley & Sons in 2010, please click here.

(Warning- clicking the image to the right will cause you to download the book, which is annoying but probably what most people expect).

This post marks the official release of the book. You can download it (for free) by clicking this link, which will open the 30-page PDF: “How to Become Popular on YouTube (Without Any Talent), version 1.5” by Kevin Nalts, WillVideoForFood.com. If you post the PDF on your own blog or website, please keep that title, and my name and URL. You might want to list this post’s permalink, since it will point to future downloadable versions.

While you’re waiting for Adobe to open (insert “car rusting” joke here), I hope you’ll RSS this blog so we can keep each other current. If you’re a YouTuber and haven’t subscribed to my videos, visit YouTube.com/Nalts, then select the orange button labled “subscribe.” Okay- enough self promotion for one day. I’m going to take a nap.

Here’s the book on Skribd for easy access.

Here’s a free 2-page synopsis of my book, “The Prophet of Online Video.” If you want to use this outline and write your own book, go ahead. I’m so not writing for a while.