YouTube Offers Advances for Scheduled Content

Content creators and currators are getting six and seven figure “advances” from Google/YouTube, reports the Wall Street Journal. YouTube allegedly is planning to schedule content starting in 2012, and topics range from fashion to sports (I’m guessing travel, cooking and “how-to” are among them).

Let’s look at how this works, and then what it means to independent creators that are not being bombarded with YouTube/Google checks.

Here’s how it would work: Howcast, a creator of instructional-videos, would collect a series around, say, planning the perfect vacation. The company gets a big ass check (advance), and nothing else until the ad revenue (from ads adjacent to the content) surpasses that big-ass advance. Then, like traditional YouTube Partners, the ad revenue is split almost 50/50 between YouTube/Google and Howcast. Howcast, which traditionally pays creators a “flat” fee (a couple hundred per episode) makes the difference. Not too shabby.

The WSJ reports that dozen “channels” are in the works, and that YouTube has requested some content for the channels within the next 60 days for a 2012 launch.

This marks a significant shift in YouTube’s evolution. YouTube, which has taken great care to call itself a “platform,” is now playing the role of a network by funding content and “slotting” it for scheduled and premium visibility.

What does this mean to independent creators?

  • Mostly it’s a shift away from independent creators, which is consistant with the past year or so.
  • However if it brings more mainstream viewers (and presumably frequent and predictable viewers), it’s another way to get your related videos seen (in “watch” pages).
  • A better approach would be to package your independent creation in the format being popularized. Even if Google/YouTube doesn’t track you down with a few hundred thousand, you’ll be ready to be dropped into this scheduled series when the bar drops.
YouTube Dials Down Spontaneity, Raises Volume of Scheduling

Howcast Seeks YouTube Spokesperson

Howcast is looking for someone to produce, edit, and host our new video blog taking a look inside Howcast and the world of how-to. Writes Howcast, “this is a real, paid part-time gig in its NYC office in SoHo.”

Tell ’em how you’d be the face of Howcast’s new series by submitting a video response on YouTube.

How to enter:

  • Visit YouTube.com/Howcast to watch the casting call video.
  • Review job requirements and make sure you qualify.
  • Create a vlog entry highlighting both Howcast’s how-to content.
  • Upload the vlog entry as a video response on YouTube to this video here by Nov. 30.
  • Send the link to your video response and full contact information (name, phone number, e-mail, mailing address) to vlogcasting@howcast.com.

Online-Video Marketing That… Doesn’t Feel Like Advertising

GE launched a health campaign today on YouTube that is part of trend toward softer advertising that, I believe, will have better long-term dividends even if it’s hard to measure.

GE is taking a lightly branded approach to promoting health and wellness by sponsoring a “Healthymagination” challenge among people on YouTube. There’s very subtle branding from GE, and no “drive to healthymagination.com” play. In fact the company is not trying to build a microsite, and is aggregating commissioned videos on Howcast’s YouTube channel. Now millions of people will watch and participate in health-challenge videos by iJustine, Alphacat, Rhett & Link, Smosh, me and other YouTube people with large followings.

This is about as far from an intrusive yet measurable pre-roll advertisement as you can get, but GE’s brand will now be associated with health — broadly across a number of demographics.

Okay I doctored this banner with the faces of YouTubers. But click to see real channel.

As someone participating in this health challenge, I am certainly biased. So let’s look instead at Pfizer’s YouTube homepage advertising “takeover” in January, which was centered around videos the company commissioned about health and fitness. The promoted brand (Chantix for smoking cessation) was present but not “in your face.” The insight that may have spawned this approach? Smokers aren’t exactly going to dive into a video channel about quitting.

In a current campaign with a similar “hands off” approach, Rhett and Link’s I Love Local Commercials campaign was sponsored by Microbilt. But the video series is a celebration of cheesy local ads for small business (Microbilt’s target). There’s no forced messages about how Microbilt offers credit, debt collection or background screening to small businesses. People can get excited about cheesy commercials or health (especially when a charity benefits). But it’s hard to get jazzed about debt collection, smoking cessation or light bulbs. It’s the same reason I used Mr. Complicated to promote Clear Point (who cares about staffing technology?).

Brian Bradley, MicroBilt’s EVP of Strategy & Emerging Markets, acknowledges it’s hard to put an ROI on programs like this (parenthetically I addressed this topic on Tuesday at a marketing conference, and here’s the deck).

“Although the initial work that lead to “I Love Local Commercials” was very spontaneous, it is part of a body of work at MicroBilt focused on building awareness and establishing thought leadership across market segments, ” Bradley told me via e-mail. “So that our traditional marketing and sales efforts are more successful.” Bradley said, for example, that if his sales people call a business prospect who hasn’t heard of MicroBilt, they can quickly find out it’s a real company.

It’s tempting for us marketers to force our brand so we can realize (or assume) a near-term ROI. But sometimes the most effective long-term strategy is to have a gentle presence while something bigger, more interesting, and more entertaining takes center stage. This is more instinctive to corporate communication or public-relations people, but they’re generally without budgets to sustain even small pilots like these.

The results may not show up in website visits, instant purchase, and awareness/recall studies. But I would argue that test/control or pre/post qualitative studies (while being cost prohibitive for these case studies), would indicate that target customers have higher favorability of these brands. I don’t think pre-rolls and banners could do that alone.

And isn’t that what separates the AIGs from the Disneys?

How to Find How-To Videos

One of the most profitable areas of online-video is and will remain “how to.” For most subjects, the content is “evergreen” (not requiring frequent updates), it’s highly sought after, and gives advertisers a way to target consumers by specific interest.

But how do you find the how-to video you need “just in time”? First, you can search Google and add “video” to your term.  Howcast is a site dedicated specifically to instructional videos that are standardized and simple. And here’s a list of how-to videos courtesy of the YouTube blog.

How to print your own T-shirt: http://bit.ly/159Hpi
How to speed read: http://bit.ly/2FRRi
How to look like @ladygagahttp://bit.ly/Rb9pv
How to tie a tie: http://bit.ly/JXHZo
How to make fresh pasta: http://bit.ly/TeKAS
How to make fire without matches or a lighter: http://bit.ly/pSyZw
How to open a beer with a pen: http://bit.ly/2usCi1
How to knithttp://bit.ly/16oQBg
How to cut your own bangs: http://bit.ly/Ib3pq
How to make ice cream in a bag (preschool edition): http://bit.ly/X8s65
How to do a banana kick: http://bit.ly/1JJT0f
How to count to 20 in Japanese: http://bit.ly/4gCv3q
How to peel a melon: http://bit.ly/BmXlB
How to get better mileage: http://bit.ly/2zdzm
How to create perfect red lips: http://bit.ly/15sezH
How to escape from handcuffs: http://bit.ly/jHQPr
How to flirt like a pro: http://bit.ly/2Rv5Zm
How to surf: http://bit.ly/Ga8Dk
How to train your dog to stay: http://bit.ly/xJWUb
How to make a bacon-infused cocktail: http://bit.ly/mameg
How to build your self confidence: http://bit.ly/dwZpZ
How to beat writer’s block: http://bit.ly/3x5kek
How to be funny on a first date: http://bit.ly/m8Dvx
How to be a DJ: http://bit.ly/cfEj4
How to make mac & cheese, mmm: http://bit.ly/Ov8tC
How to use gel liner: http://bit.ly/TrMRD
How to give a presentation: http://bit.ly/12ny4U
How to make a how to video: http://bit.ly/6SKe8
How to do the Windmill: http://bit.ly/RdWO9
How to get watermelon nails: http://bit.ly/czp8n
How to shoot penalty kicks: http://bit.ly/5qREA
How to wrap a gift professionally: http://bit.ly/LhEpU
How to make your own bicycle crank: http://bit.ly/10fe45
How to make chicken biryani: http://bit.ly/4hqV9R
How to make wine: http://bit.ly/tdafs
How to draw a “realistic” manga face: http://bit.ly/108hUx
How to understand integrals: http://bit.ly/Bzc6B
How to look sharp for a job interview: http://bit.ly/hksI0
How to play violin – lesson one: http://bit.ly/2DnJDh
How to properly chop vegetables: http://bit.ly/1dq9I4
How to make a camisole in one minute: http://bit.ly/rLNCx
How to grow strawberries indoors: http://bit.ly/Mo5bz
How to shave: http://bit.ly/3kv7IE
How to crack a coconut: http://bit.ly/3XTfvw
How to buy a house: http://bit.ly/RSVng
How to make Rigatoni Carbonara: http://bit.ly/MsK57
How to make a BristleBot: http://bit.ly/unPlZ
How to do makeup for small eyes: http://bit.ly/1McfOw
How to make a custom beer pong table: http://bit.ly/1D5n2i
How to fuse plastic grocery bags into a reusable shopping bag: http://bit.ly/1eS6zf
How to fold a fitted sheet: http://bit.ly/4kxbJI
How to save money: http://bit.ly/3sd0u6
How to improve your memory: http://bit.ly/eCILa
How to sew a dress: http://bit.ly/13xkKx
How to backflip: http://bit.ly/1Awqto
How to curl hair: http://bit.ly/WpwdS
How to recycle beer bottles with limes: http://bit.ly/1z8yM8
How to hem pants: http://bit.ly/k7sW3
How to make a green screen: http://bit.ly/pPtJW
How to polish shoes: http://bit.ly/45dXNu
How to repair a bicycle puncture: http://bit.ly/ocqzX
How to make kimchi: http://bit.ly/3kFvLs
How to recycle used computers http://bit.ly/3SkN6a
How to make veggie sushi: http://bit.ly/oE6tZ
How to record better webcam videos: http://bit.ly/2rbn5E
How to speak French – meeting and greeting: http://bit.ly/OTfiU
How to make a “Where the Wild Things Are” Halloween costume: http://bit.ly/28qjv1
How to do yoga: http://bit.ly/1cGeeW
How to cook Cola BBQ pork chops: http://bit.ly/3eWonX
How to deliver a baby in an emergency: http://bit.ly/469fc5
How to melt away pounds: http://bit.ly/2BW8BE
How to wear different types of scarves: http://bit.ly/2sGH8s
How to Casper: http://bit.ly/1WwYHI
How to fold origami: http://bit.ly/1Q9T84
How to do self-defense when confronted with a gun: http://bit.ly/2l47Fz
How to make a camisole in one minute: http://bit.ly/rLNCx
How to make ramen noodles: http://bit.ly/16JKhC
How to care for a pet shark: http://bit.ly/1is544
How to apply fake eyelashes: http://bit.ly/2AvRV3
How to make a card: http://bit.ly/2M8YaO
How to make simple, delicious compound butters: http://bit.ly/Q2USo
How to dye your clothes: http://bit.ly/4nkbEZ
How to transform a boring school uniform: http://bit.ly/49P2I5
How to plant a vegetable garden in 30 minutes: http://bit.ly/1qdPEn
How to solder copper pipe: http://bit.ly/3Fsit2
How to make an upholstered headboard: http://bit.ly/iCh9a
How to dress appropriately (according to Tim Gunn): http://bit.ly/2Jjiux
How to make sage risotto (as taught by a kid): http://bit.ly/27jyEd

The Attack of the Killer How-To Video Sites

Lately it’s “The Attack of the Killer How-To Videos Sites.” We’ve already seen ExpertVillage, Instructables, AOL’s How To, VideoJug, and of course YouTube’s How-To section.

While uploading on TubeMogul.com this morning, I noticed three more sites that have surfaced. Most of these models depend exclusively on advertising revenue. While that’s a nice interim model for targeted buys, I do see the potential for sites and creators to post modest fees for instructional videos.

If it was “iTunes” easy to buy a “how to” video, you’d probably pay a modest fee for “just-in-time” learning. Anything to avoid the instructional manual, attending a class or hiring a pro. Here are some examples:

  1. Sclipo.com Although it’s got a laughable web 2.0 name and brand, Slipo is somewhat unique. It’s more fo a social learning network for teaching through video & webcam. People can meet others of common interests, and engage in live, personalized webcam classes (members can schedule appointments, charge fees, and re-watch their live classes later for additional practice).
  2. HowCast.com HowCast is probably “the one to watch,” since it has recently signed distribution agreements with Blip.tv, Metacafe and Bebo. Those join a collection of distribution agreements with Myspace, YouTube, Verizon FiOS TV, Joost, and ROO. It doesn’t hurt that it’s founded by veterans from YouTube and 3 from Google. Howcast provides advertising revenue-sharing income for user-generated content and professional video.
  3. 5min.com 5 Minute is a place to find “short video solutions for practical questions,” and a place for people to share their knowledge. The idea behind 5min, of course, is to focus solutions that can be visually explained in no more than 5 minutes.

And if you don’t like what you see, find a free Web 2.0 platform and aggregate your own “how to” videos around some ridiculously niche topic. Or just create your very own revenue-producing “How To” video using Revver (see a video I made back in Sept. 2006). Better buy one of these coin counters (see video) to help sort your pennies.

While you’re at it, please create a “how to” video on attracting weary advertisers.

Pete Cashmore reviews some of the best “how to” video sites at Mashable.com, including SuTree.com (a site that aggregates them but isn’t working as of this writing).