Online Video is Irrelevant

The headline is a quote by Mark Cuban, who is very rich. The full quote, as captured by Adam Kleinberg in last week’s Videonomics event in Dallas Cowboys stadium, is: “Online video is irrelevant. The top videos most days on YouTube get 250-750k views. If you got that kind of traffic on TV, you’d be a huge failure.” 

Before I comment on Mark’s thoughts, I gotta say… I love Adam’s post for three reasons:

  1. He references me before Mark Cuban.
  2. He captured the quote I was too lazy to write down.
  3. Adam let me kiss him on the head, and he’s like a human teddy bear. I told him I almost want to go back to a big company just to hire his agency, Tractionco.com. If you know anyone from Studio Lambert, tell them to get Traction Co on The Pitch (AMC) NOW.

I did get a photo of Mark Cuban and me, but nobody seems to care as much as I might have thought. Only 5% of the people I know seem to recognize him, and only 14% of that segment seem mildly impressed that I arm wrestled him. Some were more impressed that he’s on Shark Tank than the fact that he sold Broadcast.com for 55 billion.

Mark Cuban arm wrestling me

And now to the point (you buried your lead again, Nalts): Mark Cuban’s point was that the view count of “YouTube’s most viewed videos of the day” pales against television-show viewership. He’s got two reasons, the first is that YouTube most-viewed daily videos sometimes don’t often more than a few hundred thousand views. Second, the views are brief relative to viewing durations of Shark Tank, which Mark says is the show most watched by entire families. Mark appears on that show.

What Mark didn’t point out is that the most-viewed YouTubers (top 50-100) typically have daily views that exceed top television shows. Annoying Orange or Ray William Johnson get 10x the daily views of many network shows. They are, in effect, small networks. Sure the views are minutes not 30 or 60 minutes. And they’re less monatized. Furthermore, here’s another little secret for Mark. Sometimes a creator’s “daily views” are not, in fact, driven by their most recent video — a creator’s daily views are often driven by the cumulative views of the creator’s collection. (For instance, my recent videos tend to be viewed a mere fraction of the total daily views I have; the latter number is driven by a few older videos, like “Scary Maze” or “I Are Cute Kitten,” that continue to accumulate views).

During last week’s Videonomics event, Mark invited people to challenge him, but I declined because… this is all a moot point. Why? For starters, advertisers want eyeballs, and they don’t generally care if they bought 100 ads on 100 YouTube videos or 5 ads on 5 television shows.

They want targeted reach with spending efficiency.

Period. Advertisers also need scale, and if media fragments so too will their media spend. Most studies show that online-video advertising growth will come at the expense of television advertising in years ahead… but eventually these budgets won’t be separate. That brings me to my second point… in the next 4-8 years we won’t really discern between online video, cable TV, mobile and television. It’ll all be video, and the long and short tail will both matter to advertisers.

(Whether Mark Cuban says so or not).

P.S. I let him win in arm wrestling.

Improve Your Friday With Batman’s Fake Shark

Are you enjoying your Friday afternoon? Well here’s my gift to you to improve it. Batman and Robin fight the fakest shark ever. Now a free piece of cheese for anyone who can find me a video clip of Batman telling Robin, “drunks are people too” as they decide to not toss a bomb into a bar.

No batman since adam west knew how to beat the crap out of a fake shark

Tell me, dear friends… Did Christian Bale ever kick a fake shark’s ass? How about Val Kilmer? Nope even Michael Keaton didn’t carry bad-ass shark repellent.

And I’ve always had a thing for Batman because he was the only super hero who had no magical powers. Just an assload of money and free time. And a sidekick, butler and city commission as his personal bee-atches.

Officer Bubbles Sues YouTube Commenters

Watch out folks. “Officer Bubbles” (Toronto police constable Adam Josephs) is suing not just the people behind YouTube video parodies of his anti-bubble threat (example from a 2-day old account “MisterOfficerBubbles” channel that’s soon to vanish), but commenters as well. According to this post, Josephs is suing Todd “pussymcfats” Mara (age 33 and father of two) for more than $1 million for spoofing the original clip.

The original video, posted in July 2010, showed the constable warning an anti-G20 protester (nurse Courtney Winkles) not to blow bubbles at him. TheRealNews clip then attracted parodies, remixes and comments.

For a full background see The Toronto Star’s coverage of “pussymcfats” and “thepmocanada” (both accounts are closed). The Star reports that Josephs is suing and that, “Josephs suggests the cartoons and comments are “false and devastatingly defamatory” for implying that he is a narcissist, among other things.”

The entire event sounds quite familiar to me for reasons I’ve been advised not to express right now. But let’s just say that Josephs is unlikely to improve or recover his tarnished image through the lawsuits, and the parodies are likely covered by free speech and satire. Even if Josephs manages to win or settle for a trivial amount, it won’t likely cover the cost of his attorneys or the increasing damage of the drama.

Would you rather be known as the police officer who became perhaps legitimately frustrated when bubbles were blown in your face, or the guy who tried to sue people who commented on parodies and found it amusing? I think I speak for most employers in saying I’d hire the former, but not the latter.

Watch what you say in the comments, friends. The Canadian Mounties are watching.

“Funny or Die” Defeats Death. And Gets My Secret Sauce to a Phoenix-Like Revival.

In a brave move by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and their gang, Funny or Die has finally moved its content to YouTube. The FunnyorDie website has always had an identity-crisis. It certainly wasn’t a sage financially-driven move, but a fantastic creative outlet for spontaneous and risque comedy by Ferrell, McKay and friends.

funny or die ferrell landlord screen shot

It was a bold moment where the actors and writers stood before the public — without layers of intermediaries muting their brilliance. Could Hollywood have produced Pearl The Landlord? The most epic star-created viral video ever (and interestingly not appearing on the YouTube FunnyorDie channel).

Then other stars jumped on the bandwagon. While the site was rarely “top of mind” even for comedy enthusiasts, every few months something would draw us all back for a reunion. In the spaces between, there were dips in recurring traffic despite some great star-powered comedy. Furthermore the site wasn’t sure if it was a pet project, a consumer-generated content play, or a mini television studio. It was, in fact, all of that.

A partnership with YouTube will now give the team a recurring audience, which takes the pressure off the “hot viral” clips that would remind us FunnyorDie.com exists. And it will most likely drive more traffic to FunnyorDie than the site would get otherwise (especially if the team is smart about how it teases content is keeps exclusively on FunnyorDie). I’m not sure I’d advise the CollegeHumor approach of posting content 1 month prior on its own site. Instead, I’d post best-of content and occasionally have Ferrell talk to his subscribers about what’s new in his life and on FunnyorDie.

Remember, FunnyorDie… the most popular and most-subscribed YouTube channels aren’t networks as much as people. Give Ferrell or McKay a Flipcam once a week and post weird unedited stuff…. then you’re sitting on traffic gold you can monetize on YouTube and back on FunnyorDie.

Here’s what I find most interesting and maybe concerning to the FOD folks. Despite a significant push by YouTube (featured ‘n spotlighted videos), we’re seeing only 20K subscribers to date. Compare that to the nearly 500K subscribers TheStation picked up in just weeks (due to its already popular YouTube “star” cast promoting it). TheStation picked up 20K in about 45 seconds.

Here’s where the “blatant self promotion” comes in (it’s disclaimed in the damned masthead, people). I first established a Nalts FunnyorDie account I wrote Will Ferrell a note naively thinking he might write back. Well here’s an open public invite, Mr. Ferrell. I will promote the living crap out of “Funny or Die” on YouTube to my 150,000 plus subscribers. Just let me meet you for 7 minutes and get some footage. We’ll do a collaboration, which is the fastest way to get a loyal for you to pick up a loyal YouTube following (see my free eBook “How to Become Popular on YouTube Without Any Talent” to learn more). After these 7 minutes or up, I’d like you to scream at me to leave. And I will.

I’m serious. A Nalts Will Ferrell collaboration. I’ll meet you anywhere, sir… New York anytime. In San Bruno during Thanksgiving. Toronto next week. You make me proud to be a middle-aged guy with a spare tire. I just want to bite your arm. Not a flesh-piercing bite. More like a gentle but awkward nibble. It won’t hurt.

Coolest Interview JibJab Creators Have Ever Done

jibjab logo“People like to look at themselves,” JibJab co-creator Gregg Spiridellis told fans last night to explain the appeal of JibJab Sendables — one of just a few cash-makers for the company that spawned several of the most viral video animations ever. Gregg and his brother Evan said it the live show with fans was the “coolest interview” they’ve done (see 10-minute clip below).

Alan Lastufka, know on YouTube as fallofautumndistro, invited the NJ natives to interact with JibJab Junkies via live video on Blog.tv. (a website helping some YouTube Cewebrities connect with fans and earn some additional cash through ads).

The Spiridellis brothers talked from the heart — not the marketing script — and dropped words like “nipple” and “banana hammock” as if we’re with them in their Freshman dorm. If you’ve ever marvelled at the JibJab cartoon musical satires, then you may find this unscripted format intriguing. The fourth wall is gone, and the brothers relax with the lack of lights, big cameras and nervous action from journalists, producers and production assistants.

On a continuum between meeting someone live and watching them on a late-night TV interview, the Blog.tv experience was an experience far closer to the former. The duo took random questions in a relaxed, bemused style unlike an edited TV package or even live television. We watch the awkward pauses between their sound bites, how they transition between each other, and the way they handle quirky questions with improvisational wit.

There’s a moment where they chuckle about their paultry earnings, and we get a peak into a playtful motive of their collaborations. And the event punctuates with them walking off camera and out the room, but not before inviting their “marketing guy” to speak to the audience (he doesn’t, but in fairness he does look like he’s younger than my Charlie).

The Spiridellis are now my second favorite brother duo. Above the Cohen brothers, but second, of course, to Nalts and his brother Chris [who I love even when I don’t return his calls… and from whom I stole the college nickname “Nalts”].

Gregg and Evan’s live appearance makes it hard to hide the fact that they are far more interested in the fun and humor of their satire than in capitalizing on it. They seem to work like crazy and love it, and you may not watch another JibJab without thinking back to this fascinating peak at the Spiridellis. While there are moments that drag and a few gratuitous plugs for JibJab, we experience insights into the spirit lurking behind the whimsical JibJab moments.

Do I sound like a fan gone rabid? Yeah, I am.