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

There’s a new Global Online Video Association led by Paul Kontonis. What does it means to YouTube and the networks like Collective, Maker, Machinima, Fullscreen and others?

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.

Original Web Series Debuted at “Video Everywhere”

I’m just back from iMedia Connection’s Video Everywhere event in San Antonio, and a highlight was Paul Kontonis presenting a bunch of new web series.

I’m not sure these are yet posted online, but this much I can say: online video production is beginning to resemble that of television.

Matt Timothy (Vindico) had a visceral performance using stress cubes.

Another interesting tidbit… almost as many people watch a video online as conduct a search. I’d estimate video viewing will surpass searches in the next year or two, and that makes Google’s acquisition of YouTube kinda not that stupid.

It’s a good thing Google did some ethnographic research before swallowing YouTube, right?

P.S. Since it’s “all about me” day, here’s my bio on iMedia.

How Much Money Do They Make on YouTube: Exposed

Renetto: The roundest face since Karl Pilkington

Renetto. Paul Robinette. Remember him? He makes about $55 a day from YouTube, and I once stalked him and shaved my head to assume his persona. He’s one of the guys behind one of the most interesting video website stats and mobile applications you’re bound to love and forget. It’s called MyU2B. See– I had to look at the website just to get that stupid name right.

The good news? If you’re an OCD creator or media buyer, than this is (and you can quote the guy who wrote the book on YouTube) “the crack cocaine of video statistics.” The bad news? The name is so damned forgettable I want to punch Paul Robinett in his branding boob. Half the reason I’m writing this post is so I can find his website searching the many alternative names my brain has given MyU2B: u2be, myu2be, ub40, u2b4, my2be u2be u2bme, and finally “renetto, youtube, stats, website, with, stupid, name.”

MyU2B iPhone App kicks the ass of YouTube's default mobile viewer.

MyU2B is my indispensable iPhone YouTube viewing app because it’s incredibly easy to sort by my favorite creator’s (people, channels, accounts, profiles) most recent videos. This is a common but impossible task via the caveman-like primitive search functions on YouTube’s own mobile app, and I call that a “deal breaker” or “functional obsolescence” for any regular viewer. MyU2B tells me exactly how many videos my favorite person or channel has posted since I last checked them. It solved a problem most don’t yet know we have.

The app (free and $1.99) also allows me to “super subscribe” to select people (although I haven’t figured out how to delete people like the incorrect jaaaaaa). There are about 2-3 dozen people I don’t want to ever miss, and for that I prefer this app to using YouTube on a computer. On YouTube I’ve “oversubscribed” like many people, so I miss some fresh videos by my favorite peeps. It really sucks to not be current on some of my favorite creators or friends.

The MyU2B stats site, although new and somewhat buggy, is entirely different (yet shares the horrible name). It gives you some pretty decent estimates of how much money each channel/person makes on could make (per comments below) on YouTube, and even sorts estimated revenue by individual video. That’s badass, even if it’s assuming CPMs (revenue per view) that are impossibly inconsistent and volatile. It’s a cool tool just to track who’s getting views and comments… instead of the somewhat archaic method of tracking subscribers… like on VidStatsx. Vidstatsx is an equally crappy named but remarkably useful website, though the latter is a bit too focused on subscriptions (which is not nearly driver of daily views it once was). And tip from Zipster08, who I never miss (despite the mocked screen shot): allow MyU2B to load completely before searching for someone. (Zipster checks hourly). MyU2B doesn’t yet allow you to bookmark or link to a specific search string, but it does index more than 11,000 individual channels.

See below for an example… are they the potential estimates accurate? I don’t know. YouTube doesn’t give me reporting this precise, but I know for a fact that CPMs by individual videos for the same creator can vary from pennies to dollars — by individual video.

Since we YouTube Partners are all contractually obliged to conceal our revenue, it’s hard to know if it’s over or understating revenue/earnings. But feel free to comment (anonymously) if you want to share feedback on its precision! I’m glad it’s not accurate, because I don’t want people thinking about the money I earn from YouTube (it’s equally embarrassing whether it’s high, low or accurate).

MyU2Be (or whatever it's called) can easily track estimated earnings by creator and by video

Finally, let’s help these useful resources with their branding. Anything, including the word “pizzle,” would be better.

TechCrunchTV Debates Crowdsourcing Creative, Sucks

Peter LaMotte GeniusRocket
GeniusRocket CEO Peter LaMotte in a rare moment where he gets to speak on TechCrunchTV.

The Gap logo disaster brought attention to crowdsourced creative, and the issue is debated in this awkward cable-TV-like debate about the rights and wrongs of crowdsourced creative. Occasionally we get to hear from GeniusRocket’s CEO Peter LaMotte (who happens to be the guest of the segment), but mostly co-hosts Sarah Lacy and Paul “I like to say fuck” Carr try to out-clever each other with quotes like “crowds are stupid,” “there’s so fucking many designers,” “we touched on this before we started filming,” and “poor Paris Hilton.”

Still, it’s worth noting that GeniusRocket is playing in a similar market as Poptent.net, and bridging the gap between tight-budget companies and freelance creators (animation, “viral” videos, and graphics). LaMotte says he’s worked also with small brands and agencies, but estimates that crowdsourcing will overtake no more than 20 percent of advertising revenue. He also observes that brands can customize creative for specific demographics with smaller budgets ($40K vs hundreds of thousands) to maximize media spends.

The video ends with a sample crowd-sourced ad for Athena Hummus. It’s a bit better than my Hummus video.

If you can make it through the entire TechCrunchTV “interview,” you’ll be quite impressed by LaMotte’s intelligence…. If only by contrast by the hosts. Sorry, TechCrunchTV. But stick with the digital word, and leave these shows to the campus television networks. Or heck- crowd source the show.

Most horrendously awkward interview ever: so we get more resources, right Uncle Tim?

Wait TechCrunch is an AOL property now, so I suppose it doesn’t matter anymore. Watch Erick Schonfeld’s painfully awkward interview with AOL’s Tim Armstrong (formerly Google sales leader). It’s like watching Fast Company or Industry Standard die again. Wait- one of those is still alive, right?

Proving Social-Media Articles Don’t Have to Suck

No, all social-media articles don’t have to suck.

MediaPost’s Kelly Samardak takes us into a speakeasy during a social-media Mental Prohibition in this coverage of “Digital Cocktails: Keys to Social Media Success.” The piece, part business and human interest, chronicles the event — hosted at the NYC studios of ForYourImagination (where you can pass the social-media “dutchie on the left hand side“).

It’s a cool and quirky narrative exploring the social behavior of those advancing the NYC social media ‘n digital media advertainment scene, while these well-intentioned expatriates try to make enough money for this month’s rent, a new book, and an $11.50 pack of Merits (not necessarily in that order).

Maybe I’m charmed by the article because I’ve had a bong snap of the venue’s mojo, and can almost smell the couch at FYI studio as I read.  Samardak refers to it as “funky…. soft, coffee-house-like, velvety furniture bordered the usual white chairs used for panel viewing.” Now can you see why I get offended at a list of “The New Establishment” (Revision3, NextNewNetwork, Mondo, etc) that fails to include FYI?

ForYourImagination's studios, captured during a less cool event

You haven’t whiffed the inner belly of the online-video-social-media-digital-branded-entertainment advertising coup d’éta until you’ve been “shhhh’d” by Paul Kontonis (professional squealer and one of the most huggable people in emerging media). Can you blame him? You were gabbing too loudly with YouTube nerd stars while he was trying to introduce his virtual family members to some… new video hosting streaming adver-creative case study thing. “Hey, Radio Shack… we’re learning here.”

Parenthetically, have you not had the pleasure of sipping Kontinis’ invisible juice? That video’s up to a not-too-shabby 600K views, Paul. Will “Businessman Snow Fail” top Invisible? We doubt either of our YouTube Miller’s Bests will impress the martini web-series production man. He indulged me with his cameo despite visible befuddles, reverberated by qualms of co-unwitting-cast member Daisy Whitney… the Ginger to Samardak’s Mary Anne. Just keep moving, kids.

Feel your heart rate lower as you sink into Samardak’s recount of the crowd chuckling to pictures from “This Is Why You’re Fat (TIWYF).” And you’ve got to love this byte: “Kontonis is a moderator to benchmark… rather than asking a question, listening to each panelist, responding with “great,”  and then moving on, he talked with them, sometimes even challenging them to answer questions better, as if saying “if I were in the audience I wouldn’t accept that — go further.”

Samardak pokes Carrot Creative’s Katy Kelly, noting that the crowd giggled when Katy accidentally called TIWYF, “this is why I think you’re fat.” And Katy’s quote, (“you get what you pay for,”) quipped Samardak, put her in the “minor vs major league quoting strategy with clients.” snap oh no you dint.

Just when I was thinking 12 e-mail newsletters from MediaPost might warrant an opt-out surrender, I’m rescued by Samardak’s bid-ness poetry (check out the “Sneeze on the Salad Bar” piece).

Have I met her? I think so. I don’t know. It could have been Shira Lazar wearing a sombrero. You perky brunette journalists start to all look alike anymore.

The Uninvisible Man (with Daisy Whitney)

Sometimes you have to bring those industry watchers off the bleachers and into the game. Here we see Daisy Whitney in her amateur-video debut… The Uninvisible Man.

The TVWeek writer and host of New Media Minute was gracious enough to appear in this short video where I turn invisible… well at least I think I was invisible. Also appearing is Paul Kontonis, who heads up the online-video studio, ForYourImagination. We’ve seen Paul before in a few videos, including  on a panel screaming like a girl when I pulled a pratfall. I could watch that scream 1000 times and not fatigue of it.

While we were there we also recorded a pilot of “The Pussy Cat Review Show.” Needless to say, the low-budget show was immediately cancelled after the dailies revealed it’s a complete flop. Stay tuned for some never-before-and-never-seen-again footage.

Former Top YouTuber Leads Vlogging Revolution

Vloggerheads launchesFor months, YouTube Cewebrity Paul Robinette (Renetto) has been posting video blogs (vlogs) about his discontent on YouTube. He has criticized the site for how it handles the small but vocal video community, and has stirred up drama with the grace of an Olympic gymnist.

In the past few weeks, Robinette quietly launched Vloggerheads.com with 250 plus fellow vloggers. I previously reported that he was launching RenettoTube (see site), but apparently he had some help from branding experts.

The site, which was created using ning, is by invite only (info@renetto.com), and has already banned at least one controversial YouTube poet. The site has rules of ettiquette and is working to keep out unsavory “haters,” “trolls” and “pedophiles.” Fortunately that crowd has its own site (utubedrama.com). And don’t pretend you don’t surf for your name there weekly.

Renetto, who shaved my head years ago when I desperately wanted to be him, once topped the charts of YouTube but has fallen down the top 100 even faster than Nalts (which is rather sad given that I “jumped the shark” more than a year ago).

Renetto is loved and hated, but often the subject of discussion (see outtake clip that spoofs Renetto from a video I shot this week with YouTube Whore MrSafety). He’s best-known for his Mentos parody (nearly 10 million views) and was quoted regularly in the early media coverage of YouTube. In late 2006, Robinette rallied in support of YouTube-challenger Live Video, then changed his mind and brought about McCarthy-like challenge to those who abandoned YouTube (and took great pride in helping unravel LiveVideo). See NY Post article for more.

Vloggerheads is being listed as a “placeholder” site with larger goals. However it’s already attracting some of the YouTubers who don’t have top rankings but are staples among the inner circle of a vibrant community. My “poster child” of the online-video community (Nutcheese) is already addicted and that’s slown down her visits to Stumble! by 26%.

With just 800 videos to date and no apparent revenue model, Vloggerheads won’t soon be a threat to YouTube. But it’s an alternative virtual city where “hard core” community members are gathering, debating, communing and creating drama…

A smaller pond for those feeling lost in an increasingly commercialized YouTube?

Here’s my social commentary on vlogging. I wasn’t too sarcastic was I?

P.S. A reporter from Wired.com contacted Paul and said she heard about him from Nalts’ blog. That’s the power I have in media. Like TechCrunch I can make or break a company. Arington eat my pie hole you viralvideovillain promoter.

KevinNalts.com vs. WillVideoForFood.com: Bifurfacted Visitors

There are two different people who will read this post. Help me out in dealing with this bifurcated audience, will ya?

  1. There are those of you who may, for reasons that elude me, like my videos or my banana-shaped head and disturbing personality. Maybe you RSS this page, used to visit it from my YouTube channel banner, or check it occasionally from bookmarks. Or maybe you stumbled here because of a URL on one of my videos. You people comment sometimes but only about .05 percent of the time.
  2. Then there are online-video industry watchers: video creators, agency employees, marketers, employees of video-sharing sites, analysts, journalists or new-media junkees. You people NEVER comment unless you’re Mike Abundo. That makes me wonder if you’re even reading, and whether I should publish/syndicate these kinda musings via better-read channels for online-video (like Advertising Age, NewTeeVee, TheDailyReel (kidding), iMediaConnections, Micropersuasion or TechCrunch and stuff). It’s not like I make a dime off this blog anyway.  

Now I used to brand my videos CubeBreak.com and send them to that site I’d manage manually. Then I automated that site (which still exists)  with Revver, and promptly lost all search-engine rankings because there wasn’t any fresh content as perceived by mother Google. So I forgot about the site. I later created WillVideoForFood primarily for amateurs looking to monetize their content via ad-sharing or sponsored videos, and starting using WillVideoForFood on my video slates.

Stupid move.

Why is it stupid? First, most YouTube video creators with their own websites have “fan” sites. They extend the content, blog related content, sell branded things and provide a community for their fans. That said, I’ve long rejected the idea of having a fan site because, frankly, I find it creepy and even more egotistcal than me. Plus I’m not HappySlip or Smosh if you know what I mean. But I also recognize that there are people who stop by this WillVideoForFood site to interact with me or mutual friends (probably the latter, but shut the hell up for a damned second… you’ll get your turn).

Kevin Nalts official homepageI still haven’t figured out how to make all this work, but for now here’s the model I’m currently envisioning: Kevinnalts.com is my new vanity site and I’ll probably start providing that link after the video instead of willvideoforfood.com. People who visit a URL from a video about farting or pranks aren’t likely looking for a blog about online video. They want more farts or pranks.

Willvideoforfood.com remains my website for online-video industry trends, and it reserves the right to self indulge about Nalts too (since I don’t have the energy for a friggin’ Nalts blog).

Then there’s the WillVideoForFood.com Forum (which cost about $200 to setup and takes Jan time to maintain). So you’d better darn well use it. I also got Ning crazy this weekend and set up a willvideoforfood ning and even a ning for Nalts (it’s called NaltsNing since NingofNalts isn’t possible). Nings are “off the shelf” social networks, and most of them are empty shells but some people run their entire website using a paid version of ning and you wouldn’t know it’s costing them a fraction of coding their own functionality.

The alternative to YouTube Gatherings, by Creepy Paul Podcasting101

I even created a YouTubeLive Ning (see above image), only to soon realize after I spent 2 hours making a banner and logo that Podcasting101 (aka Creepy Paul) already had created a YouTube Gatherings Ning with 147 members.

A first I felt really bad at creating more confusion by strating a new Ning (but was looking for somewhere to exchange information about the YouTube gathering in Philadelphia July 12 (YoTube). I’ve made it clear that YouTubeLive is not meant to replace Creepy Paul’s YouTube Gatherings. He’s WAY more into physical gatherings than I am, even though he’s super creepy (and I say that with love).

I like to promote and attend these Star-Trek like events, but can’t stand the politics and logistics (like the hot dogs but don’t need to see the factory). But now I really want to get more “members” to YouTube Live Ning just to tease Creepy Paul. So go join YouTubeLive’s Ning if you have a Ning identity- even if you don’t care about YouTube nerdy events.

And if you haven’t heard of Ning, remember you learned about it from me. I was the first guy in my school to own a Swatch and a Mac 128 so I’m totally hip on trends.

Pratfall Spices Up Viral-Video Panel

Guy falls on stage during panel about viral videoSo I took a deliberate spill while hosting a panel at Streaming Media East called “Creating and Promoting Amateur Videos.” Paul Kontonis, CEO of For Your Imagination, screamed like a teenage girl, but was one of few people that realized it was a joke.

The fall is 1 minutes and 9 seconds in. Warning: Per my YouTube video today explaining this, when you do a pratfall that people think is real, you’ve backed yourself into a corner. If you say “I was just kidding,” you simple make it look like you’re saving face. So I didn’t bother to explain.

You actually may want to watch more of this video because it explores what makes a video viral, and how marketers and amateurs can promote their video using online video sites and blogs. It was an all-star cast (except me): Paul Kontonis, CEO, Co-Founder, For Your Imagination; J. Crowley, Founder, Black20; Ben Relles, Founder and CEO, BarelyPolitical.com (the guy who created Obama Girl); and Kip “Kipkay” Kedersha, Viral Video Producer, Metacafe Top Producer.Here are the rest of the Streaming Media Videos, including a session called “Young People’s Attitudes Toward Online Video,” which includes Dylan of Dylan’s Couch (CinemaFreaks on YouTube). And be sure to comment on the “For Your Imagination” blog. Something like “Nalts is a genius. I can’t believe you signed Xgobobeanx and not him.” And thanks to Jennifer and TubeMogul.com for help embedding this (I finally installed a “Raw HTML” WordPress plug-in so I can insert widget thingies and other Web 4.0 things).