YouTubers Get Love from Yahoo, Google and Disney

Yahoo, Disney and Google are proving that being popular on YouTube matters.
Yahoo, Disney and Google are proving that being popular on YouTube matters.

It’s a good time to be a YouTuber… or at least own a popular YouTube channel. We’re seeing the online-video landscape mature, and start to resemble how networks and studios connect. The networks (Disney, Yahoo, YouTube) are working with studios (online-video studios and some individual partners/channels) in some interesting ways….

What’s interesting about these big moves is how markedly different this is from the past behavior of these companies.

  • We saw Disney making some early bets with its own home-grown online-video content. Remember Stage 9?
  • Yahoo contacted me and other YouTubers around 2008 to discuss potential revenue-sharing deals. They were considering exclusivity at the time, and that’s a deal breaker for YouTubers that won’t give up their primary audience.
  • And Google? It hasn’t even marketed itself well, much less its partners. And who would ever imagined the tech-engineering company would advertise YouTube partners on TV, print or outdoor? They’re doing it, but you know it pains them.

So what’s all this mean?

  • These events don’t impact your typical YouTuber, but the winners of the Yahoo/Google efforts will be the YouTube creators with large audience and studio representation by one of the online-video networks. That’s because Yahoo and Google will have to deal with the complexities of Discovery to get to Revision3 content, and Disney to get to Maker channels/creators.
  • But watch for partnerships between Yahoo and smaller studios like Fullscreen, BigFrame and Collective. 
  • And what about Google’s efforts to promote YouTubers beyond the YouTube regulars? I would expect to see “the rich get richer,” because it’s most likely to promote the proven content with top views. So like a marathon’s second half, we’ll see an increasing distance between the leaders and the rest.
  • There will surely be some more attempts to lock creators and studios to “exclusive” arrangements, although Yahoo won’t get anywhere requiring that of popular YouTubers. But it makes sense. TV shows don’t get to broadcast on every channel. The networks pick the shows, and promote them to “their” audience. We’ll see that happening with top YouTube channels in coming months and years, which is why YouTube will have to work harder to cultivate relationships and keep stars/channels.

What’s your take? And where is the Global Online Video Association in all of this? How about a POV, Kontonis?


Hulu’s New Owner: Google, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo?

Lots of speculation in the news about Hulu’s new owner. The Hulu peeps (Disney, NBC) opted against an IPO (initial public offering), and have an investment banker looking for a buyer.

Are we surprised that Hulu is for sale? Nope. In 2006 (give years ago) we posted that “Networks Pretend They Can Rival YouTube.” These types of things, I said, typically fail without “a STRONG intermediary is taking the lead and the individual players give authority and accountability to that player. Otherwise the interests of specific participants will almost always trump to collective goal.”

The news was dense with suggestions that Google might acquire Hulu. But despite suggestions Google and Hulu are in preliminary discussions, I’m finding that unlikely. Hulu is rumored to be trying to fetch $2 billion, which seems awfully high to me. I would suspect MSN or Yahoo would find far more interest than Google. The search giant paid less than $2 billion for YouTube ($1.65 billion), and I’m sure there is at least one tech company that would pay $2 billion simply to keep it out of Google’s hands.

What do you think?

Hulu Fail? Networks Biting Friends

Imagine trying to run Hulu…

  • On one hand, you’re dragging some media companies to the web. On the other, they’re out ahead of you on competitive platforms (Disney/App).
  • You threaten to quit because your pricing is wrong (FastCompany).
  • You’re charging for content that has ads, but at least the user interface is clunky… because some of your “partners” want to stream it on their archaic technology. Journalists and pundits accuse you of too many ads, even if it’s allegedly only one per 5 minutes.
  • You’re thinking about going all pay… effectively competing with your primary distributor (cable).
  • Your primary backer (NBC) is losing its strategic influence. You are blocking some new delivery devices and platforms like GoogleTV.

WackArnold’s post, “Hulu, Destined for Fail?” raises an interesting question.

I’d like to formally propose that Hulu is “lost in the middle,” with decreasing relevance as IPTV emerges and web video moves to television screens via a number of new platforms and hundreds of devices. It’s not showing the ability to coral networks, or to enable distribution via emerging platforms.

Hey networks… don’t bite your friends.

AppleTV & iTunes Dissintermediates Cable? Bigger Than Balloonboy Story.

Wowzer. Your’e going to want to read this post, because it’s hot news. And because I put some effort into some seriously solid metaphors that damned well better be scraped by some bigger bloggers.

For years I’ve been bitching and moaning about Apple not putting its little heart into AppleTV (instead of screwing with these ridiculous iPhone toys and their petulant little “apps”).


And all the while, the little Steve Jobs may have his eye on dissintermediating cable television. Fast Company provides some saucy news, and sources “All Things Digital.”

But this isn’t about the AppleTV, idiot. No it’s not about software or hardware. Apple is basically envisioning a $30-per-month iTunes television offering, which would give networks new reach via 100 million iTunes users. And that means you, like the 100 million iTunes users, would start watching shows via Apple both on your computer and (via some box) that big-ass monitor you call a Plasma or HDTV.

Do I need to repeat that? Television shows when you want, and on whatever damned screen you want. Oh, and a gentle reminder that technology companies will control your fate more than telephone, cable, publishers and networks (never mind that whole AOL/Times Warner hickup).

Alas, it’s hard for me to envision a scenario where cable companies don’t start tossing fecal matter like angry apes. But it’s a game of chess, not the beloved “toss-the-feces” we’d play at birthday parties. If Disney, as an example, slept with Apple… what could the angry ex (cable companies) do? They can’t very well drop Disney. And since Disney’s move would be the “tipping point” this all needs, Disney gets to set the terms. Girl, you know those Mickey Mice could nibble up an Apple like Piranha to a cow.

Fundamentally the broadcast networks have to decide whose bitch they want to be. Cable television or Apple’s.

If the music industry feels that iTunes was a good thing (additive revenue that didn’t exactly kill radio or CD sales entirely), then maybe the television networks go the same route. And to keep Apple “in check” they can replicate the terms via Hulu, YouTube or even some genius that manages to build a television-manufacturer standard.

The bottom line, however, is the train already left the station. I’m an example of a fast-follower (not early adopter), and I’m spending more each month on $1.99 television episodes than I am on a cable bill! I loath Verizon’s interface and on-demand library, and persist only because my wife likes depressing news and Nancy Grace, and my kids need their Nick Jr.

To be fair, I’m discovering I liked the control of “lean forward,” but I want to lay down on the couch and bed too. Love my TiVo, but it didn’t catch any fresh fish (like during this damned Fox Fringe hiatus), I dive into AppleTV and try out a new show… maybe buy a few episodes or a season pilot because $1.99 ain’t a bad price for 45 minutes of some boob-tube love making. I’m less often surfing YouTube’s most-popular list because it’s just a sad reminder remind of how much better Sxephil, Shaycarl, CharlesTrippy and ShaneDawson are than me. Last night me, Charlie and Grant and me did start a YouTube binge that began with Edbassmaster, then progress on a downward spiral that culminated in farts and babies. But then we jumped back to paid episodes of Angry Beavers. Damn that intro is hip.

Speaking of YouTube, those trained monkeys better get their own poop in palm. They’ve cornered the market on searchable video, but this is a bidneth model that can move faster than ad-supported web video. I think this crap (you know the kids are saying that now like it means nothing anymore) is bigger than the Balloonboy story. Except the Falcon hiding in the attic and puking on CNN might just be… Comcast, Verizon and other cable providers. I predict Hulu maintains its relevance if this shakes out, unless Apple iTunes makes itself incredibly easy to purchase and view via both web and those BIG ASS televisiony-like monitors. Hell in a few years, maybe we don’t even know or care where our video content comes from.

Yeah- I even think this story might be bigger news even than last night’s AppleTV upgrade:

“WTF? A vertical menu?” he says, tossing his mini white remote that has been chewed to near obsolescence. Fade to black.

Hulu Plus Disney: Why Jason Kilar “Gets It”

This morning I had the pleasure of meeting Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, who speaks elegantly about balancing his company’s three key customers: viewers, content producers and advertisers. His focus on convenience and simplicity of video content is unmatched, and is quickly turning Hulu into more than a website (Hulu recently jumped to #3 in online video, surprisingly beating Yahoo Video but not surprisingly beating “wheezing” AOL Video according to comScore).

Hulu CEO Jason Kilar
Hulu CEO Jason Kilar

Kilar agreed to be in one of my goofball videos, but was not surprisingly swept away mid-morning as news broke of the Disney/Hulu deal. Catch ya next time, Kilar. We’re not offended that WVFF didn’t get an exclusive on the Disney deal before the networks.

A few notables from his talk private presentation (which I had the sad task of following). And, no, Nalts will not be appearing on Hulu. It’s focused on “professional” content, so I need not apply.

  • Awareness, message association, brand favor-ability and audience intent increase from 4-20% after Hulu ads.
  • He’s got a great new feature that allows consumers to select the ad, and an even cooler one that lets the advertiser survey the viewer (which gives the viewer fewer interuptions).
  • Still struggling with distribution beyond computers, because television can put him at odds with cable and networks. He doesn’t appear to be soon helping me watch Hulu on AppleTV. 🙁
  • A lot has changed since Hitchcock Presents (his mom’s favorite show- Kilar’s is Speed Racer, and he used to run home from school, only to catch it 9 minutes late). Hitchcock ran 4 minutes of ad times (with 26 minutes of show). But The Office runs 8 minutes of ads (with about 22 minutes of show). Hulu strives to keep ads to about 1/15th of program time, which seems more than fair. Consumers can choose to watch a 3-minute movie preview, then enjoy uninterrupted full episodes of shows.
  • Brand recall on Hulu is nearly twice what broadcast or cable provides (58% to 34% and 28% respectively). Same as message recall.
  • I expected to hear from an old-media junky, desperately pitching prerolls. Instead met an incredibly humble Pittsburgh dude who has a vision for how consumers can enjoy ad-supported content with higher convenience than television. He was at Amazon before Amazon was Amazon, and launched Hulu while launching his 3rd kid. He seemed mildly receptive to me renting his kids for videos.
  • Kilar likened Hulu to Starbucks, where consumption grows because of convenience. So watch for Hulu ubiquity via mobile, web and other mediums. Kilar reminded us of The Onion’s article: Starbucks Puts a New Starbucks Inside a Starbucks Restroom.”

Behind the Scenes of Sarah Palin’s Mock-Disney Trailer: Ice Skater Mom as President

NewTeeVee author Liz Gannes took us behind the scenes to this highly produced and funny mock trailer for a Disney-like film staring Sarah Palin. produced the trailer (see “Sarah Palin Disney Movie“) after being inspired by Matt Damon’s remarks about Palin (see excerpt of those quotes in “F’ing Sarah Palin” satire).  

What made this video special for me is that it stared the adorable Liz Cackowski, a former SNL writer who hosts “The Jeanie Tate Show.” You can enjoy the web-only show by subscribing to YouTube chanel “Head in the Oven.” Or watch them all via this YouTube playlist!