Weekly Prank Channel (pitch)

This is a rare post, and I’m not sure I should share this since someone may steal the idea. But I established this blog to “open source” what I’m learning as the only career marketer who is a prolific YouTube presence. Plus I think the idea is less valuable than the crafty execution.

Here’s my note to YouTube about a concept for a weekly channel that highlights the best pranks. Unlike my Nalts pranks or Edbassmaster or Jack Valet or PrankvsPrank, this would be American Idol meets MTV pranked with the mission of popularizing unknown prank creators. More importantly it would help curate the best pranks weekly in a way that doesn’t exploit the creator.

Thoughts welcome! 🙂

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kevin Nalty
Date: Thursday, May 5, 2011
Subject: Weekly Prank Show: win/win/win

Hey guys. For a while I’ve been planning on releasing weekly pranks on a specific day of the week (Wednesday), since
regular/consistant/predictable programming is becoming so vital on YouTube. Initially I was planning a “go solo” approach on the Nalts channel or on a new channel. But it’s a lot of work to produce a weekly prank, and there are loads of amateur pranksters like this one whose creator shared it with me via Twitter:

This “snake on fishing line” is hysterical (especially if edited down) and harmless, but won’t get likely views or repeat audience: Fishing Pole Snake Pranks

Solution? Create a win/win/win, where revenue is a 3-way split between a producer, me (host/promoter), and creators of harmless but funny pranks. I’m proposing this to YouTube to see if there’s still interest in custom content and programming. It might be a candidate for YouTube Next Whatever if that train hasn’t already left the station. Otherwise you may know of a producer that’s already working with you in a “share” model instead of “house takes all revenue, and host/creator gets a capped check per video.” Not fair.

Unlike MTV Pranked, this UBER PRANK YouTube channel would invite submissions from viewers, but be clear that they can’t be mean, dangerous, or legally risky (they must either get written/video releases by “victims” or blur them). That solves what MTV pranked wants (no liability for encouraging pranks). And we’re not talking about “kick friend in nuts,” but family-friendly “Candid Camera” style experiments that aren’t so damn overproduced (expensive) as some of the repeat failures on TV…

What’s In It For Key Players:

• People like pranks, but the good ones are hard to find. With exceptions like Edbassmaster, few are producing regular prank content, and a lot of it’s just mean/stupid. Most pranksters also couldn’t do well as hosts.
• While MTV Pranked is clever, it’s too long-form and overproduced for YouTube. It’s also only mining for pranks instead of inviting new/fresh ones.http://www.youtube.com/user/cutewinfail is a nice model, where AFV producer Vince DeBono? joined Sxephil and Tobuscus- popular YouTube web stars who know the medium and promoted it.
• The target would be teens AND parents… Like “Farting in Public,” it would appeal to the child in all of us.

Amateur Pranksters:
• They’d get their pranks seen in ways they couldn’t do alone
• They’d get either cash or rev-sharing in ways not possible today… avoiding the AFV model where they release it exclusively and lose downstream rights or upside. That’s clearly not creator friendly (imagine if “David at Dentist” had gone that route… no upside). There would be absolutely NO “exclusive” requirements, and ideally a model that rewards the creator if the video POPS. The creator would give non-elusive rights and ensure ownership of content and releases.
• The channel wouldn’t hide the creator. … they’d get links to their own channel and maybe develop their own following. Maybe the sub box features all contributors.

Host/Director (me):
• I’d love to feature new/emerging creators to help get their stuff seen. I’d position it more “ImprovEverywhere” than “PrankvsPrank,” which is funny as heck but a bit edgy for advertisers or parents.
• I could provide fun commentary and help edit the submissions down so it moves FAST like RayWilliamJohnson, CuteWinFail, etc. I can promote the channel via links from my top pranks, and this would also help me keep “Nalts” from going from Renetto to Mr. Pregnant.

Producer (or YouTube’s Next)
• They’d get 1/3 revenue for simply keeping the channel consistant, helping ID pranks, and overseeing the channel voice (with my active participation). I’d promote the show via my popular pranks and Nalts channel, but the producer would help with logistics and ensuring that we’re planning ahead for key holidays and recent buzz topics.
• They could also license the content for use beyond YouTube. I just want to ensure that creators aren’t themselves “pranked” by signing away rights for a small check and no upside.

• High-demand content that can be monetized (because we’d avoid pranks that are dangerous or mean… thus not “safe” or perceived safe by advertisers). You could provide it some love via spotlight… to help jump start it

Let me know if you’re interested! I always liked The Onion’s predictable release on Wednesday (a less competitive day for video releases, but easy to remember). Of course I’m also thinking that branding it “Prank Xday could be strong (and arguably critical) at the beginning, but potentially rate limiting if it grows into a larger format.


Which Will Last Longer: MTV’s PRANKED or COLLEGE HUMOR

I heard rumors that MTV isn’t going to renew College Humor, but I quite like the Pranked show staring Amir Blumenfeld and Streeter Siedell (haven’t these guys heard of friggin’ stage names)?

The College Humor brand is strong, and the web content is exceptional. But for reasons I can’t explain, this stuff doesn’t transfer to 20-minute shows. My frog prank video was on Pranked last night, which prompted me to watch it for the first time. I liked it… Amir and Streeter have good rapport, and added to the clips more than the typical WebJunk racket. I loved the teaser and outro… “This wife finds something slimy in her bedroom and it’s not her husband,” and “that poor frog had to touch those disgusting feet.” Playing it via TiVo was a fun way to wake up my wife this morning.

Hey- at least the show probably costs virtually nothing to produce (relative to a typical network show). We’re talking about a small crew in an apartment and paltry license fees for the clips. If MTV can’t profit on this show, then there’s too much overhead upstairs.

amir blumenfeld mtv