VidCon: Community & Online-Video Industry Morphs in July 2010 Event

This video shows Hank Green (with his lesser known 3rd Green brother) announcing VidCon, taking place July 9-11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Here’s the official VidCon website.

youtube gathering july 2010 la vidcon

For those of you familiar with the Vlogbrothers (John and Hank Green), I don’t need to tell you what an enormous connection they have with the vibrant and growing community of online-video. They’re funny, smart, and selfless; this week they’ll be orchestrating another “Project for Awesome,” where they encourage fellow video creators to make a video about a charity… to “reduce world suck.”

So it wasn’t surprising that they’ve attracted the “Who’s Who” of online video… literally the most-viewed and most-subscribed video creators of YouTube and beyond. Also- if you know Hank and John, you’ll know that the admission price is to cover costs, and proceeds are for charity. These guys aren’t interested in making money, but these events cost a lot to do well. So I’ve got little sympathy for those few dozen people who feel a price tag is “anti-community, man”- sing that tune to your waitress at IHOP, kids.

For you online-video industry people who are less familiar with the community side, I have one piece of advice. Attend. If I could only attend one conference this year, it would be this one.

There will be a series of professional tracks covering advertising, marketing and production. But of course you can see the “brains” of online video at any conference. This one you’ll see the brain and the heart. And you really don’t know online-video until you’ve seen the heart… watched the most-viewed amateurs interacting with the fans… seen the groundswell of enthusiasm about a medium that’s changing people’s lives… see the friendships among the talented people (and me).

The informal YouTube gatherings — like 7/7/7 — have brought hundreds and even thousands together in various cities, but this one’s actually organized and planned. So it’s likely to be a huge event. Book your hotel early, friends.

If you’re interested in speaking slots, panels or sponsorships (imagine how many videos your logo can show up on, and how many millions of times it will be seen), let Hank know or shoot me a note (I’m volunteering to help on the professional side). Much of that will be formalized by the end of January. In the mean time, follow VidCon on Twitter.

Best Resources for Online Video ‘n Marketing, Farty

Best Blogs and Websites about Online-Video Marketing and Social Media

Online-Video RSS

What’s on your RSS or what sites do you visit related to online-video and marketing? Please comment below, especially in the likely event I missed something. I’ll update this, and you and I can find this post again by searching the word “FARTY,” which unlikely appears elsewhere here. I could be wrong.

Yes it’s time again for a round-up of some must-read blogs & peeps related to online video, marketing social media, and the shizzle.

Here’s the problem about finding good websites and blogs about online video. If you add “online video” to a search query, you’ll get a lot of videos about marketing. And the social-media space is just too damned cluttered. Any idiot can write an article about that. I like the writers that touch on the intersection of online-video and marketing, and don’t stray too far into the self-indulgent world of traditional entertainment and advertising, the desperate starving filmmakers overproducing episodic content, and boring crap about technology providers.

Most of these peeps are smarter than me, but I actually spend most of my day marketing and making videos… not a journalist or professional speaker (although I’m doing more and more… someone help me figure out how to charge to speak please). So although my content will give you great secret or bore you to death, at least it’s mostly practical.

If I missed you, take a cue from Uncle Nalts. Shamelessly self promote below. Unless your blog is about cats.

Seven Secrets YouTube Doesn’t Want You to Know!

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.

But most of this is public now, or based on educated assumptions topped with a saucy tabloid-like flare. On a similar note, YouTube’s Business Blog published a refreshingly transparent POV about some YouTube myths recently. Did you know that 70% of Ad Age top 100 marketers ran YouTube campaigns in 2008?

Here are the secrets the YouTube PR folks won’t reveal:

I've got a secret
"I've got a secret" -Cindy Brady

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?

2) Algorithms Squashed the Editors. Almost nothing you see on YouTube is by accident… or an editor anymore. While YouTube editors once possessed more power than most network executives (creating instant celebrities by homepage feature pixie dust), the model is now driven almost exclusively by relevancy and economics. Recently, YouTube announced content creators and small advertisers can get their videos promoted for a fee… and not just against search results. Editors continue to serve some role on the “spotlight” pages and community relations, but are not the Titans they were in 2006 and 2007. That said, we still love them deeply because our love was unrequited. Especially when they put us on Partner showcase pages.

Google-Data Robots Eat YouTube Editors' Brains for Fuel
Google-Data Robots Eat YouTube Editors' Brains for Fuel

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.

YouTube ad

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.

7) Steven Chen’s Latest Contribution. YouTube won’t likely be issuing press releases about Steven Chen, who has continued to vanish from the public light. But thankfully, Chen disintermediated his employer and shared his latest project — which includes a golf swing. Hey, he’s got billions in the bank. What would you do? Probably build a coffee bar. Or buy the car you’ve saved up for since 2005. For nostalgia, check out Chen when Google bought in.

steven chen

Shit. This post took me hours of time I could have otherwise spent trying to, um, make money. At least there will be a few comments from the back row. Right?

You Spend More Time Watching Online Videos Than Having Sex

We spend more time watching online videos than having sex.

laptop versus 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.

People watching online video in the U.S. now watch more than three hours per month, according to new data from Nielsen Online. Studies suggest people, on average, have sex once a week. My sources on sexual frequency and duration are a bit sketchy here, so you can do your own digging.

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. video share by website

The market share:

  1. Google’s YouTube continues to dominate the category, with 5.5 billion videos and 89 million people using the service in the U.S.
  2. Hulu is in second place with 348 million videos and 9 million users.
  3. Yahoo is in third place with 232 million videos, but it’s got more users than Hulu, about 25 million users.
  4. Revver is not ranking.

 

Top 10 Best Superbowl Ads (and 3 worst)

We count down the best and worst of 2009 Superbowl ads even before the Superbowl is finished airing…

Best & Worst Superbowl Ads of 2009

 

What were the best Superbowl commercials that will help you survive the watercooler this week? Check out Charlie and I as we do a video review on YouTube of the best (and worst), (see it on Google video too) and click here to view the entire ads on various online-video sites.

Note that this post and video were done before the game actually finished, so we may see some unexpected surprises and need to revise accordingly. What do you think? Have some favorites I didn’t mention, or some losers of your own?



 

Here’s a Hulu widget that lets you watch the Superbowl ads in HD…

 

Now here’s my top-10 list (you can also see Adweek for some coverage).

  • Number 10 was Coke”s avatar ad–  visually appealing and sentimental. 
  • Number 9 may be the most quoted ad: “Think With Your Dipstick Jimmy” by Castrol. Annoying at first, but it grows on you like fine wine or oil sludge.
  • For spot 8… I don’t often like repeat campaigns but that eTrade baby did it again with talking babies. 
  • Position 7 belongs to Dreamworks animated film “Monsters Verus Aliens” and the clips rocked even in 2D.
  •  Number 6 belongs to CareerBuilder for reminding us that these symptoms may indicate it’s time to brush up the resume. 
  • Number 5 goes to Denny’s who flip off iHop’s foo-foo pancakes. We need more Giggledrops, baby.
  •  The fourth best ad belongs to Coke with its medley of animated insects. Ladybugs, like cows, sell.
  • The hotly debated number 3 ad is Pepsi’s Refresh mosh up of Forever Young featuring Bob Dillon and Will.i.am
  • The second greatest Superbowl ad this year goes to Pedigree Dogfood video, which features no dogs but will be the most talked about. Rhinos in cars? Common, peeps. If you didn’t laugh at that ad, check you funny pulse.Now for number 1: Miller Light’s “Deliver Guy” ad by Saatchi & Saatchi  is the indesputable winner of pre and post game buzz. Windell Middlebrooks spent 17 hours taping these 1-second spots, and it worked.
Now the losers?
  • Spot 3 is the absurdly forced Gatorade ad featuring a collection of athletes and animated lizards. Puleez- 1996. 
  • The second loser award goes to GoDaddy.com for still pitching hosting solutions with hot babes.  That campaign is beaten to death, and is almost as bad as Peta’s banned veggie campaign. The absolute worst ad belongs to the biggest sellout since me. Ed McMahon’s Cash4Gold.comlong after we care.
  • I know many liked this “amateur” Doritos advertisement, but I was almost tempted to put it in the worst category. What? I’m not a sore loser or anything. Right Reubnick? Okay- here’s my losing entry to Doritos “Crash the Superbowl” contest.
Finally, some cool quotes to give you extra credit at the watercooler. Use them as your own if you wish…
  1. Gawker’s Joshua Stein: “A girl shoving a stalk of broccoli up her cooter doesn’t make me want to stop eating meat even a little.” 
  2. Although the economy meant fewer startup ads, Techcrunch Michael Arrington’s favorite is Technorati, although they cheated by using footage from one of my favorite movies. His readers were polled and agree. 
  3. “It’s sure not 2008 any more,” said Nathan McKelvey, the CEO of Jets.com. Poor executives…

Now what do you think?! And here is YouTube’s “AdBlitz” channel that now features all of the ads…

Youtube AdBlitz Superbowl Videos
See 2009 Superbowl Commercials on YouTube

 


Dangers of Mobile Advertising

A video parody of what might happen as mobile advertising starts targeting you based on your location, and sending you instant offers to lure you into retail stores.

Wired magazine reports this month that it’s the GPS revolution in 2009. Remember a decade ago, when we heard stories about how you’d be passing Starbucks and suddenly receive a text/sms offer via your mobile phone? Yeah, that and the space cars I’m still waiting on.

Well here’s a glimpse into the dangers associated with GPS-based (location based) text advertising. Jo and I depicted the sad reality as we see it. We’d be passing stores just to get the discounts retailers would use to lure us back. Mind you this isn’t a sponsored video, so the Borders, Starbucks and California Tortilla appearances are just to make it more realish.

I’m not sure if other countries have introduced this technology, but I sure can’t wait for it in the US. That’s what I love about those free 411 services. You suddenly get text junk mail. Eww. And how creepy would it be to have an advertiser know exactly where you are at a specific time. Here’s hoping for opt-outs.

I’m posting the blip.tv version first because it’s a bit better resolution:

And the YouTube version…

Dear WVFF Regulars

I’m writing this quick post to thank youall for your well wishes. You are such wonderful people. No greater group of strangers conversing anonymously over the Interweb has ever existed. I am truly grateful to call you all my casual acquaaintances.

Now, a word to the wise: I would not recomend spinal fusion surgery to anyone. You know, it really kind of hurts. Lots more than I thought it would. And the drugs they are giving me are not really working. All the morphine does is make people look and talk funny. And I don’t mean funny “ha ha”. I mean funny “odd.”

pink

Well, I’ve got to sign off now. Sudenly my room is full of bunnies. Big, pink fluffy bunnies. That makes me happy. It’s a comfort to know that when I’m screaming like a little girl from the excruciating pain, the bunnies are there for me. That is, when there not humping each other.

Love,
Kevin