What GOVA’s Gavone Means to Online Video and the New Networks

maker, deco, big frame, deca, magnet, fullscreen, collective, web, studios, networks, online, youtube

He’s the new GOVA Gavone. The leader of the online video association. The guy who’s scream silences a room.

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.

online, video, gavone, GOVA, association
Paul Kontonis is the gavone who heads GOVA, the new online-video trade association.

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).

GOVA represents 9 of the top 10 online-video studios, or MCNs
GOVA represents 9 of the top 10 online-video studios, or MCNs

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?

  • Susan Wojcicki, the leader of YouTube.
    Susan Wojcicki, leader of YouTube, is focused on mainstream players. GOVA may help keep her attention on smaller studios.

    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.
  • GOVA may help keep emerging studios independent, which is good for "amateurs."
    GOVA may help keep emerging studios independent, which is good for “amateurs.”

    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).

  • GOVA can help negotiate with emerging video-playing technologies
    GOVA can help negotiate with emerging video-playing technologies

    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 BureauIRTS 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.
maker, deco, big frame, deca, magnet, fullscreen, collective, web, studios, networks, online, youtube
9 out of the top 10 “multichannel networks” are included in the new association.

Ridley Scott Creates User-Generated Documentary (Life in a Day)

Life in a Day
Life in a Day Will Star... You

On July 24 individuals from across the globe will be videotaping moments from their day, and submitting for potential inclusion in a film produced by Ridley Scott (see his explanation video).

“Life in a Day” may be the first crowd-sourced film, and will be directed by Kevin Macdonald (see the film’s YouTube channel, “LifeInADay” for more details). YouTube asked me to make a video to announce the film and encourage individuals to participate, and Waffle Bear joined me on this cheesy promotion (see video below).

Are you going to participate?

See this piece in the Baltimore Sun, as writer Gus Sentementes poses the question, “How can the filmmakers be sure that the footage that’s getting uploaded was actually shot on July 24th?”

Oh, Gus. It’s consumer-generated content. How can they be sure the people are real, the releases have been signed, and the footage isn’t a copyright infringement? Don’t sweat the small stuff, Gus.

You’ll have to wait until Sundance in 2011 to see the film (see thorough coverage on WSJ). That’s plenty of time for sifting through thousands of hours of awkward footage, editing, and for the more labor-intensive work of verifying copyrights.

Consumer-Generated Ad: Oreo Global Moments Finalist?

oreo naltsI usually don’t make a lot of noise about a contest I’m entering, and I’ve been entering fewer lately. The competition is high, and I rarely win (although often I’m a finalist). The Oreo contest intrigued me because certain YouTube creators were asked to enter, and I figured that would improve my odds. There’s going to be an open amateur contest too, but those will be judged separately. Here’s the clip because if I embed it, it kills the entire blog template.

In truth, the “behind the scenes” may be funnier than the video itself. What child says to his father, “are we going to get arrested again?” Let the record show we’ve never been arrested for making a video. We’ve been hollered at a few times maybe.

oreo I thought the deadline was next week, and then received an e-mail last evening before leaving work. Thanks to a vigilant babysitter, we conceptualized, shot, edited and sent it all last night. My wife was teaching, and we had to an attend an animal-shelter event. So everything was quite rushed. The concept emerged when Jo suggested making “Oreo Man” out of one of the kids. Jen, our sitter, then said she had an Oreo costume from her childhood. She took all four kids to her parents’ house and found the costume in the 100-degree attic. When she returned, we did the kitchen shot, and decided to get some cow footage (Charlie was going to be our cookie, but he wasn’t in the mood). Jen asked if I wanted to take along the cow suit, which ended up inspiring a nice resolution to the 2-minute spot. If I may be so bold, here’s what I like about the video (which is posted on my “responseofnalts” YouTube account).

  • The camera shots are amateurish, but the editing was a labor. It took about 3-4 hours to edit if you include the score. I finished it just in time for the midnight deadline.
  • Grant (the orange shirt Oreo dude) was priceless. He’s 5 and reminds me of Charlie Brown sometimes, and I gave him the “good grief” line to pay homage to Charles Schulz. Can’t you just feel his pain when his brothers laugh at him? And when he whispers in my ear, I melt.
  • The video — by sheer fortune, the sitter’s innovation, the kids patience, and careful editing — actually has a story arch (conflict, resolution, etc.). This, of course, was accomplished without a pesky script or storyboard. If I go there I almost always lose energy before I turn on the camera.

Typically consumers entering brand contests try to emulate what they believe should be a television ad. I think that’s where many miss the mark of consumer-generated ads, because they end up looking like lame cable-television advertisements instead of a crafty amateur spots. The only thing commercial about this video is the music, product shots and frequent messages of Oreo. I stayed faithful to the brief by telling a story about Oreos and milk. But I was careful not to sell Oreos… it’s more about creating an affinity moment than hocking some product attribute.

I think my chances are good, but I don’t know who else entered. And if all else fails, the good folks at Kraft did send me a giant box of Oreos. They’re really good frozen.

Barack Obama Says Lose the SUV, Fatty.

I really find little pleasure in politics, and rarely appreciate political humor. But when someone told me today that Barack Obama said the following in Oregon, it created an uncontrollable desire in me to satire the remarksNalts has already given ShayCarl his assignment for a collab video, but I can’t find the video footage of this quote to save his life! Free credit to anyone who can help!

“We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK,” Obama said.

It’s a fair statement, but how can we not take it a little personally?

But Mr. Obama, hear me now.

There’s one thing that’s bigger than our bloated guts.

It soars higher than our energy bills.

And it works harder than an SUV burning precious fuel…

What is it, you ask? Our collective American pride in humor as a defense mechanism.

Seven Awesome Kids Launches

seven awesome kidsHere’s a new YouTube channel called , where the Nalts kids join 6 other families for a rotating blog (in the tradition of FiveAwesomeGirls and FiveAwesomeGuys (fiveawesomekids was taken, and we had more families that wanted to participate).

This is the debut video, which features: