Another YouTuber is moving to mainstream with “The Ed Bassmaster Show” premiering on Country Music Television (CMT) this Thursday, April 14, at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Bassmaster is a YouTube comedian and prankster from Philadelphia, and has garnered a half-billion YouTube views featuring his alter egos like Skippy (the lovable yet annoying nerd who oversteps boundaries), Mumbles (unintelligible accent) and Teste (his low-IQ Philly cross-eyed dude).
Click to see the very funny trailer for the new Viacom show, which is produced by the folks who launched MTV hits like “Teen Wolf,” “Kesha: My Crazy Beautiful Life” and “The Andy Milonakis Show.”
This article in the Guardian provides plenty more examples of how YouTubers are moving beyond the video-sharing site into television and film. It’s nice to see it happening to a humble and hysterical guy.
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.
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).
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?
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.
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).
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 Bureau, IRTS 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.
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 (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.
YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steven Chen may be hoping to do for digital magazines what they did for online video.
According to Fusible, the duo have launched Zeen, and you can reserve your username for this cryptic new offering that may allow users to create and share custom magazine currations. Zeen announced on April 7:
In the last 24 hours, YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, who now run AVOS, posted a “Coming Soon” page on the website Zeen (a take on the word zine, which commonly refers to a narrowly focused self-published magazine).
Of course PC Magazine‘s Dave Murphy offers some sage caution:
…here’s hoping the general Internet population doesn’t launch 6,000 different cat magazines once Zeen goes live.
Let’s recall their announcement video having been acquired by Google, and wonder if we’ll see a similar video when they’ve sold Zeen to their former employer, Facebook or Yahoo…
Perhaps you watched Celebrity Apprentice last night, where the b-listers teamed up to create a “viral” video for O-Cedar’s ProMist Spray Mop.
Note that I put “viral” in quotes since it’s not a viral video unless it goes viral. For that matter, let’s call it what it is: try-ral. It’s trying. It may go viral, but it’s not.
This isn’t the first time Celebrity Apprentice has tasked the (has-been but charming) celebrities to create a “viral” video. But here’s my favorite quote from NJ.com on the coverage and the decision made in the boardroom after the competition:
The execs didn’t get the women’s “number” concept initially but liked the entertainment aspect of the video. They liked the men’s slogan… and thought the concept was clear and highlighted the mop’s selling points, although the video was a bit too much like a traditional commercial. The men win.
Did you notice anything there? The video was a bit too much like a traditional commercial, but… by the way… it won.
At the risk of stating the obvious, please don’t learn from this. They didn’t win despite the video being too commercial. They won because the women’s video was entertaining but not purposeful. That’s not good either. But if your “viral” video is a commercial, prepare to spend your media dollars to get it seen as prerolls. We almost never share commercials… we sometimes send entertaining videos that happen to pitch a brand.
Do not expect people to share your commercial. Please.
Entrepreneurs and small businesses sometimes struggle with YouTube and online-video marketing. So I teamed with ReelSEO to write a guide called “Online Video 101: Small Business.” It’s free, and you won’t get a pesky sales call if you register and download it.
Sorry the blog’s gone a bit grey lately, but I’ve been busy posting a video each day (every time you poop). Caught the virus from Trippy at his wedding. See ’em in this playlist called “Holiday Blitz.”
Years ago, when I was on a YouTube tear, I was posting daily videos. Most people discouraged this behavior, arguing that I should focus on quality not quantity. While both are important, I’ve let frequency suffer in pursuit of the elusive “good” video that people would share and view.
After Trippy’s wedding I decided to return to my old slogan of “making a video everytime you poop.” Here’s the playlist titled “Holiday Blitz.” By dubbing it that, I’m hoping not to pressure myself into another long-term commitment I won’t keep. But for the meanwhile, despite modest views, I’m having fun again.
So anyway that explains the minimalist posting here on the blog.
While preparing for an article for ReelSEO, I happened to be watching Gremlins (1984). I couldn’t help but see the parallels between YouTube changes and the cute and fuzzy Mogwai’s mutating into the entertaining but deadly Gremlins (pictured here). We’re about to see YouTube go “pro” in an extreme form, and that’s one of the biggest changes the video-sharing site has made in its history.
Don’t get me wrong. I like change. Even if it involves some interim puss-oozing pods during the “pupil” stage. And while I mourn for my RIP and decaying fellow independent creators (and my own channel), I am excited to see how YouTube/Google becomes a cable network despite the significant battles by studios, networks and serious content producers. It’s inevitable progress… even though I’ll miss the community (but they’re there somewhere, right?).
This post will be somewhat jumbled since my thoughts for the ReelSEO piece are still sorting themselves out. I would also value some input from people who’ve been watching YouTube’s transitions even more closely than me.
Some facts & phases of YouTube’s evolution (with considerable help from Urgo6667‘s ugly but robust SocialBlade data repository)
Phase 1: YouTube in the 2009-2010 placed considerable emphasis on an exclusive and select pool of YouTube Partners. These independent content creators were rewarded with preferred placement throughout the site (driving views), advanced channel features, and premium monetization (sharing the income from higher yield advertisements from brands that feared consumer-generated content).
Phase 2: Just as some governments reportedly destabilize other countries by introducing currency, the income caused new behaviors. As Archfiend laments in this video, the advertising income helped fuel desperate habits like faking thumbnail images, begging for comments and asking for 5 stars or thumbs up.
Phase 3: YouTube, once the home of free speech and cat videos, began to become increasingly commercial. Once subtle ads soon blanketed the homepage. Optional prerolls became mandatory. The lines blurred between popular content and what was “featured” (based on advertising dollars or preferential content placement for select creators).
Phase 5: As a great magician distracts you from his slight of hand, YouTube introduced the NextUp program. It gave $35K checks to a new crop of YouTube Partners to fuel their content.
Phase 6: Now YouTube is going after cable and investing $100 million in professional content
But as 2011 progressed, YouTube changes resulted in views spread out in cryptic ways. Some YouTube channels have taken significant hits from these changes in which videos appear in powerful areas such as search results, “related videos” and “spotlights.”
I’ve shared my own sharp decline since September (in October I averaged 64% fewer views then 3 months ago), but this chart from once-popular HotForWords tells a typical story…
Fall of Pioneers… The decline of solo creators is not unlike the fate of Indie singers online… as viewers shifted to mainstream content that arrived late to the party. But check out some non-trivial examples:
TheStation, which was launched by top YouTubers, went from more than 272,000 views October 2010 to under 110,000 in October 2011.
Smosh, one of the most subscribed channels, is down 94% last month relative to 6 and 3 months ago. They were once the darlings of YouTube with frequent sponsors.
SMPFilms, an early pioneer of YouTube meetups, is down 56% from 6 months ago… getting about 63,000 views currently (the drop is almost identical to the decline of Google’s channel on YouTube). MysteryGuitarMan (MGM) took a similar hit, and so did MediocreFilms.
Obviously there are few caveats to these declines:
Some (but a minority) of the decline could be the creator’s diminished productivity. For instance I posted less frequently. But this seems unlikely given that MGM and Smosh are still rolling out new videos that get significant views.
The decline is, perhaps, simply a return to normal. Most Partners saw a dramatic “artificial” lift in monthly views that were not dependent on their new content. In effect YouTube throttled creators and then stopped.
More than 50% of my own views comes from related videos. Some of that might be based on an algorithm that attaches similar videos, and that’s presumably less likely to change. But YouTube may continue to “throttle” my videos as related videos, meaning I’ve got further room to drop. Here’s hoping the Wizards of Al don’t decide to beat me down again for this post.
YouTube has not seen a decline in viewers, so the views are being spread out to the new “mini Partners” and other creators.
Here are some of the fastest-growing Channels according to SocialBlade analysis: Vevo (which took a 1900% growth relative to 3 months ago), HollywoodTV, StanfordUniversity, and PlayStation with a remarkable 500K views a month.
Stay tuned… working with Urgo I might publish a list of the biggest losers/gainers.
Thoughts? Observations? Insights? Bring ’em. And thanks mystery man (you know who you are).
You’ll need an Adsense account, which is how YouTube/Google pays publishers who run ads.
Do it. No down side unless you abhor ads around your content.
It’s not quite the same thing as being a YouTube “Partner” or “Creator,” which provides the channel with advanced branding (a logo on videos, and more flexibility on the channel page that few see). More importantly, advertisers are paying a premium for Partner/Creators and the other ads tend to command less revenue.
Still, my channels are excited. I’ll have to monetize them when I remember the passwords…
Any questions? Comment below or e-mail me at kevin (no space) nalty (a) g/mail
So you want to know how to get views on YouTube. You want to grow a vibrant YouTube channel, go viral, and become the next Ray William Johnson. Do you cheat, or choose a more proven way?
No Kindle lovers… you could read a great American classic on that sun-enabled iPad you call a Kindle. Or you could dive into some magazine article about the proliferation of germs on door handles. But here’s “How To Get Popular On YouTube Without Any Talent” right on the Kindle store. Is this a blatant promotion? Yes!
Oh it’s 34 pages long which is pretty beefy even though the image makes it look like a tomb.