YouTube Prankster, Edbassmaster, Debuts Television Show

YouTube comedian and prankster, Ed Bassmaster, is debuting his new TV show on CMT this week.

Another YouTuber is moving to mainstream with “The Ed Bassmaster Show” premiering on Country Music Television (CMT) this Thursday, April 14, at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Bassmaster is a YouTube comedian and prankster from Philadelphia, and has garnered a half-billion YouTube views featuring his alter egos like Skippy (the lovable yet annoying nerd who oversteps boundaries), Mumbles (unintelligible accent) and Teste (his low-IQ Philly cross-eyed dude).

Skippy is one of the dozens of freakishy funny characters played by Ed Bassmaster
Skippy is one of the dozens of freakishly funny characters played by Ed Bassmaster

Click to see the very funny trailer for the new Viacom show, which is produced by the folks who launched MTV hits like “Teen Wolf,” “Kesha: My Crazy Beautiful Life” and “The Andy Milonakis Show.”

This is one funny bastard and one of the nicest guys you’ll meet in the YouTube community. Nalts met the fellow prankster back in 2007, soon after he parodied me in a video. He later joined me in the YouTube Presidency as my VP running mate (or I might have ditched him for Winekone; I can’t be sure). And while shooting a documentary with Shaycarl at my house, we pranked him and watched him eat a worm. But few things amuse me more than the video he made of us called “Nalts Likes Dogs.” Feel free to sing along.

This article in the Guardian provides plenty more examples of how YouTubers are moving beyond the video-sharing site into television and film. It’s nice to see it happening to a humble and hysterical guy.

Online Video is Irrelevant

The headline is a quote by Mark Cuban, who is very rich. The full quote, as captured by Adam Kleinberg in last week’s Videonomics event in Dallas Cowboys stadium, is: “Online video is irrelevant. The top videos most days on YouTube get 250-750k views. If you got that kind of traffic on TV, you’d be a huge failure.” 

Before I comment on Mark’s thoughts, I gotta say… I love Adam’s post for three reasons:

  1. He references me before Mark Cuban.
  2. He captured the quote I was too lazy to write down.
  3. Adam let me kiss him on the head, and he’s like a human teddy bear. I told him I almost want to go back to a big company just to hire his agency, Tractionco.com. If you know anyone from Studio Lambert, tell them to get Traction Co on The Pitch (AMC) NOW.

I did get a photo of Mark Cuban and me, but nobody seems to care as much as I might have thought. Only 5% of the people I know seem to recognize him, and only 14% of that segment seem mildly impressed that I arm wrestled him. Some were more impressed that he’s on Shark Tank than the fact that he sold Broadcast.com for 55 billion.

Mark Cuban arm wrestling me

And now to the point (you buried your lead again, Nalts): Mark Cuban’s point was that the view count of “YouTube’s most viewed videos of the day” pales against television-show viewership. He’s got two reasons, the first is that YouTube most-viewed daily videos sometimes don’t often more than a few hundred thousand views. Second, the views are brief relative to viewing durations of Shark Tank, which Mark says is the show most watched by entire families. Mark appears on that show.

What Mark didn’t point out is that the most-viewed YouTubers (top 50-100) typically have daily views that exceed top television shows. Annoying Orange or Ray William Johnson get 10x the daily views of many network shows. They are, in effect, small networks. Sure the views are minutes not 30 or 60 minutes. And they’re less monatized. Furthermore, here’s another little secret for Mark. Sometimes a creator’s “daily views” are not, in fact, driven by their most recent video — a creator’s daily views are often driven by the cumulative views of the creator’s collection. (For instance, my recent videos tend to be viewed a mere fraction of the total daily views I have; the latter number is driven by a few older videos, like “Scary Maze” or “I Are Cute Kitten,” that continue to accumulate views).

During last week’s Videonomics event, Mark invited people to challenge him, but I declined because… this is all a moot point. Why? For starters, advertisers want eyeballs, and they don’t generally care if they bought 100 ads on 100 YouTube videos or 5 ads on 5 television shows.

They want targeted reach with spending efficiency.

Period. Advertisers also need scale, and if media fragments so too will their media spend. Most studies show that online-video advertising growth will come at the expense of television advertising in years ahead… but eventually these budgets won’t be separate. That brings me to my second point… in the next 4-8 years we won’t really discern between online video, cable TV, mobile and television. It’ll all be video, and the long and short tail will both matter to advertisers.

(Whether Mark Cuban says so or not).

P.S. I let him win in arm wrestling.

Hiding Gibberish Comments on YouTube

You can hide YouTube comments now with Google Chrome (see article on CNet). 

Writes Matt Elliott: 

Comments on YouTube are largely gibberish, mean-spirited, or profane. A Chrome extension lets you set a variety of options for YouTube videos, including hiding comments.

Really? Gibberish? That’s weird. All the comments I get on this blog (and my videos) are usually intelligent, positive and constructive.

Support Online Video: Spread Rhett & Link

Peoples of online video: we are entering the 5th or 6th year of the online-video, but we’ve seen precious few online-video peeps move to television. Sure there was LisaNova and Fred’s movie. And there have been a few shows that failed, and a few more in the works (Annoying Orange)

But this we know. Most YouTube stars shouldn’t and don’t need to move to television to grow their audience or further legitimize themselves. Michael Buckley’s “What The Buck” show would be a lovely segment of some of the otherwise horrendous shows (Web Soup), but YouTube is Buckley’s more natural and independent vehicle.

That being said, there are at least a dozen or so YouTube stars or channels that lend themselves to 22 minute broadcast model, and certainly a bolder and yet safer approach for fledging networks popping out faux reality shows like Wipplewood crap during Huckleberry season (Google it).

Now could Rhett and Link, a duo I’ve long seen as having mainstream appeal, lend their talents to plenty of broadcast shows? Certainly. Is a series about local commercials a good start? Yes. Is it sustainable or fully leveraging their talents? Who knows.

But here’s the key. We need a win. We in the online-video community need to demonstrate a) that our loyalty to the trailblazers transcends the medium, and b) that an independent video creator (or creators) can indeed succeed on TV, which is not going away anymore than radio when TV arrived.

So check out Rhett and Link’s new show, and spread the word! I haven’t seen it enough to know if Entertainment Weekly’s snubby review has any merit. But I’m eager to see this prove to studios and networks that this new medium is a fertile testing ground for the next generation of television (I think it’s hard to argue that some fresh approaches are needed to counteract the absurd pile-on of sameness).

Rhett & Link: Commercial Kings is
on Hulu now:
http://bit.ly/rhettlinkhulu

What do you think?! I’d tell you what to think if I was on a computer not an iPhone.

Watch it this Friday 10/9c on IFC (and every Friday all summer), or at least turn it on your cable box so the ratings justify further interest in this approach to programming.

Rhett and Link tell me that Unfortunately none of the other episodes will be on Hulu–but they will be on iTunes, Amazon, and XboxLive. So get the damned Roku and let’s mobilize our army! If even 5% of Rhett and Link’s fans (and online-video viewers) engage with the content via TV and iTunes and Amazon, here’s what will happen…

The network folks will take notice. The tech companies will communicate to them that webTV is viable, and that studios can get out of their typical formula because we “trend setters” want and demand more.

Who’s with me?! Can 20 people join me in spreading the word and showing our support by watching, rating, sharing this content? Most TV viewers are too passive, so a very small army of us can wake up the new TV/web hybrid model if we’re loyal and loud.

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:

Audience:
• 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.

YouTube:
• 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.

Nalts

“Just Give Me a Damned Cigarette” : JibJab Goes Puppets for Year-End-Review

"Just Give Me A Damned Cigarette," sings Obama Puppet in the 2010 JibJab Review

One of the things that gets me through the holidays is the anticipation and enjoyment of JibJab’s annual year-end song parody. When Twitter rumors about CNN’s announcing Morgan Freeman’s death this week, I called JibJab’s Voice Jim Meskimen (website/on YouTube) to see if he’d do his classic Freeman impersonation. He did in this “Morgan Freeman is Alive” video, and it fooled many.

I’m a raving fan of Jim, who does virtually every voice you’ve heard on JibJab. (Go subscribe to him and you’ll see his Knestor learn ya about gift giving), and he tipped me off to the fact that the 2010 JibJab review is now out! You can also add your face to the first-ever JibJab stop action in “Santa Claus is Coming To Town.”

Check it out below, and notice it’s all puppets instead of the typical flash animation. JibJab took us behind the curtain with a step-by-step “behind scenes” blog. I can’t find what I’d hoped to see: Jim singing in the studio (there is a scratch music page that’s currently sparse).

Face Fail on Live German TV: “Jumping Stilts” Accident

As seen on TV: the jumping stilts (warning: do not attempt to jump over car heading toward you)

Remember the jumping stilts (kangaroo stilts) you may have discovered on YouTube around 2007 (see SMPFilms video)? It’s probably not a good idea to use them to jump over the moving car your dad is driving.

Sir? You have a collect call from the Darwin Awards.

Here’s one for the Darwin Awards, Failblog, and “what did you think would happen?” file. Below is a video from the live broadcast of the German “Wetten Dass?” television show December 4, 2010… it’s not a pretty site, and the accident occurs at seven minutes. The “kangaroo stilt jumper” (Samuel Koch) takes a serious face plant while attempting to jump over a moving vehicle driven by his father. It’s really quite grueling to watch. I suppose when you perform with tigers, they will occasionally eat you.

Naturally, as long as we are entertained by wild stunts, we’ll encourage people to take risks. Those risks will come with consequences that are quite horrific. If the kid lives, it would appear paralysis would be possible– if not likely. And that kinda puts my balcony fail in perspective. The next time I trip and fall, I think I’ll utter the extremely unsympathetic statement “now I know how Samuel Koch felt.”

According to the BBC: Koch, a 23-year-old German contestant on a German game show, was hospitalized over the weekend, had numerous surgeries to fix his back and neck fractures, and remains in a “critical stage.” He made several successful jumps, but the live broadcast ended abruptly after the fail.  The show, which has been airing for about 30 years, is called”Wetten Dass?” It translates to “Want to Bet?” To read fairly comprehensive coverage with photos, see this DailyMall (UK) article. And if you get really obsessed, here’s more.

Again- not something to watch if you have a weak stomach. I caught the story on NBC, so of course I instantly searched recent videos with the words related to the story. I can only imagine what Sxephil and Failblog will do with this. It’s kinda sick to derive humor for it, but then again… I’d love to hear the “what were you thinking” answer from the network or television show’s safety crew.

In related news, Justin Bieber cancelled his appearance on the show. So if you want to see a young singer swallow razor blades while swimming through a piranha tank… you’re going to have to surf YouTube.

Online-Video: One-Man-Band to Brat Pack


This week I officially joined Next New Networks as a content creator (not employee), and the above video is by the amazing Justin Johnson. Read the NNN blog for more, and check out Liz Shannon Miller’s NewTeeVee article on this news…This WVFF bloggedy post puts that decision into context, since the move was a non trivial one for me.

Upon the introduction of any new medium, the early notable talent are often independent, persistent and multi-taskers. The “one-man bands” who cracked radio, film and television first were charismatic (Lucille Ball, Charlie Chaplin, Jack Benny, Merv Griffen, Jack Paar), but also savvy at promoting themselves. Parenthetically, I’m not comparing myself to these folks, and I’m distinct from a lot of NNN shows in that I really don’t have a show. My 900 plus “Nalts” videos are far more random, and NNN hasn’t asked me to change that model (though I might).

Just like other mediums, online-video’s early players have been individuals who lacked agents, deep pockets and connections. But the early YouTuber solo acts (who still dominate the most-viewed and most-subscribed channels) cracked the code… which was less true for the better financed and higher-quality web shows, backed by networks, production companies or even advertising agencies.

In the past 9-18 months, we’ve seen that shift dramatically. Here are the trends that attracted me to a “rat pack” or “brat pack” model. By that, I mean a collection of individuals who collaborate to build something bigger then they could be individually.

7 Reasons I’m Joining a “Creators Club”

  1. Cross Pollination: YouTube’s most-subscribed channels remain individual acts. Most of the top creators have increased their audiences by appearing in each other’s videos, or forming collaboration channels. BarelyPolitical, one of the most successful Next New Networks shows, is among them. What started as Ben Relles’ Obama Girl has since brought attention to numerous shows, individuals and performers
  2. YouTube &  Beyond: Increasingly the convergence of television and web content will offer new distribution opportunities. I believe there’s strength in numbers. While YouTube was once able to maintain relationships with individual creators, that isn’t scalable. So an intermediary is important for both the “platform” (a term YouTube uses to describe itself) and individual creators. On television we call those “networks.”
  3. Following the Leaders: I’ve watched with curiosity what other individual creators are doing. Some fly solo. Others get “agents.” And still others decide to build informal collaboration channels… some that last and others that fade (7AwesomeWhatever series). I took special interest in HotForWords and BlameSocietyFilms signing with Next New Networks, as I have a lot of respect for those shows… both their style and tenacity. I’m a huge fan of the “auto-tune the news” Gregory Brothers (who go by the absurdly forgettable “Schmoyoho” on YouTube). Relles and NNN helped put them on the map, and they appeared just this week on NBC’s Today Show.
  4. Old and New Media: The companies that will manage the pending evolution of media will be those who have people who’ve managed previous transitions… but also the flexibility to depart from the past when it’s not applicable. NNN’s founder, Fred Seibert, was MTV’s first creative director and the producer of many of my children’s favorite television shows — from Fairy Odd Parents to Adventure Time With Finn and Jake. Meanwhile Ben Relles is the only other prolific video creator I know who also has a marketing background.
  5. East Coast: Many creators feel compelled to move west, where indeed most films and movies are grounded (not to mention software firms). I’m inclined to believe that in the next few years, there’s an advantage of staying closer to the likely source of income: Madison Avenue. Next New Networks is distinct, but even when compared to other players of “The New Establishment” (described in my book, Beyond Viral), it’s one of only a few based in NYC. Furthermore I’m close enough to the company and many of its creators to collaborate. Proximity is turning out to be more important than in 2004-2009.
  6. People: Ultimately people “sign” with networks, agents or employers more for the people than anything else. NNN has a good team with a bold mission, and it’s already turning out to be exciting to be part of something bigger than me. I’ve known Relles for years, and he wrote a chapter in my book. Seibert is a trip. Mark makes me shoot milk out my nose. Even Justin (who did my spotlight profile) taught me more in 2 days than I’ve learned in months.
  7. The Logo: Sorry. I’m superficial like that. NNN has the most bad-ass logo and outro. Sorry, Jim Louderback (revision3).
The little cartoon robot was one of my reasons. It's cute.