Intravenous Twitter Drip of Online-Video Enthusiasts

Without bookmarks, RSS or e-mails, there are a few sites I remember and visit randomly. ¬†It’s usually because I’m bored or curious (but don’t know what I’m curious about). For instance, TechCrunch, Cheapskate, TheOnion, Google News, Yahoo Buzz. What are yours?

On TechCrunch I found an article about Blekko, a search engine that avoids spam by only indexing sites identified by people (like 2100 university sites). You use slashes to refine your search, so I tried Nalts and /date. That awakened me to a SocialTimes piece Megan O’Neill (Tel Aviv) curated a bunch of people and websites worth following on Twitter if you’re an online-video enthusiast. It’s quite handy, but I’m biased because I made the cut. ūüôā

The Twitter accounts include ReelSEO’s Mark Robertson, GigaOM’s Ryan Lawler, Shape Shifting Zadi Diaz, as well as a bunch of people I consider “Friends” by a broad definition (meaning I have met them in person, I like them, and we share interests). Author Steve Garfield, Revisiond3’s Jim Louderback, Michael Buckley (WhatTheBuck), iJustine, Charles Trippy, Kassemg (the guy I know least among these). By a pure definition they’re not exactly friends, though. But isn’t the term “friend” changing because of Facebook’s use of the term?

Hey on that note, what’s a close friend? I’d consider a “close friend” someone you’ve known for a year or more, you’ve exchange meaningful information, and you know well and vice versa (meaning you each know your family/friends/significant others). For me, a friend isn’t competitive, they listen, and they share values. They can differ in many ways, but enjoy each other’s conversation and company. Most importantly, they forgive lapses in communication (something important to me because I’m spread thin and often vanish). I can think of dozens of people who are too frustrated by my¬†intermittent¬†communication to consider me a friend, and others who I can call after a long lapse and it’s like no time has passed.

Photo by Jim Davidson (Bucknick)

Anyway, Megan also assembled a nice collection of online-video stats and news websites (these are her words below). I’d suggest adding a few sites sites like ViralBlog, ReelSEO,¬†Urgo6667‘s stat site called Social Blade, and Renetto’s MyU2b).

  • Unleash Video ‚Äď Unleash Video is a video entertainment sharing website.¬† On their Twitter account they tweet about videos and news from their website, but they also tweet about general news in the online video space and they always have something interesting to share.
  • Web Series Today ‚Äď If you enjoy web series then Web Series Today is definitely a must-follow.¬†¬†Web Series Today tweets about the web‚Äôs top video series and is the best source for unfiltered web series information online.
  • Viral Video Chart ‚Äď If you love being the first of your friends to know about the latest viral video hits then Viral Video Chart is the Tweeter to follow.¬†¬†Viral Video Chart tweets about all the latest and most popular viral videos on the web.
  • Viral Viral Videos ‚ÄstViral Viral Videos is also a great source, tweeting about viral videos as they go viral.
  • Web Video News ‚Äď Finally, Web Video News is a great source for online and web video news, research and trends, compiling news from a variety of different sources across the web.

My list of linked sites is somewhat arbitrary and antiquated, but I hope to revise it. Please let me know what else you read for news about online video, and I’ll try to refresh the list with these and others!

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.

YouTube Reaches All-Time High

We Americans watched nearly 34 billion videos in May, and 14.6 billion (43 percent) were on YouTube. According to comScore (source: TechCrunch), 144.1 million viewers watched an average of 101.2 videos per viewer in May. Hulu ranked second with 3.5 percent share. The gap between Google and Hulu remains strong, and it’s safe to say you’re watching video on YouTube or… the long tail.

Online-Video Experts Share 2009 Highlights and 2010 Predictions

First of all… the snow. Does it stay or go? I kinda like it, but when a vlogbrother says it’s “gotta go” it gives you pause.

I just invited a few of my favorite thought-leaders in online video to write a guest blog post about 2009 highlights and 2010 predictions.¬†If you’re steeped in online video (as a creator, industry expert, marketer, journalist) and can write goodly, please feel free to e-mail me your own short guest post.

As 2009 wraps up, I am going to review my annual predictions (nailed some, but been quite wrong on others) and put some serious thought into where 2010 is headed.

I’m still surprised at how fast AND slow this online-video space is maturing.

Some amazing things have occurred in 2009 (we’re seeing networks, cable companies, marketers and technology firms getting quite serious about online-video distribution). But a few of my long-standing predictions have not yet proven accurate.

  1. I thought we’d see a popularity shift from amateur vloggers to professional creators (that still doesn’t appear to be happening). The most-viewed video creators are still individual “web stars” with minimal costs and largely 0ne-man bands.
  2. We still haven’t have broken down the gaping chasm between “lean forward” computer-driven online video consumption and “lean backward” viewing on that giant monitor we call still call a television set. Sure some of us are using some band-aid approaches (Roku, Boxee, AppleTV, Netflix, web-enabled televisions, and home-grown tricks). But I’m truly surprised we don’t yet have a broadly marketeted, low-cost ($200 or less) hardware device that allows us to surf web video from our television using a simple processor, wireless receiver and wireless keyboard/mouse. Then again, it was 1998 when I almost purchased a Dell “media” device to enable this. Unlike mobile, this area seems to be caught in a Catch22, and some fierce protectionism by big-stake players.
  3. Most importantly, I remain perplexed at how cautious media buyers have been. We’ve seen tremendous shifts from other mediums to online-video, but the advertising inventory remains widely available. I believe this is due to buyers using banner metrics to assess a different medium. I’m trying to echo my mantra that “an impression isn’t an impression unless it makes one,” and show advertisers that they’re underestimating the persuasive impact of online-video advertising because they’re obsessed with CPMs (cost per million impressions) and click-thru rates. If we had held television to those criteria, we’d probably still have 3 television networks and perhaps be viewing black & white programming.

As most of you WillVideoForFood readers know, I’m writing a book with Wiley publishing (tentatively called “Beyond Viral Video”). So I am hoping these guest posts awaken me (and you) to dimensions I don’t see as a marketer & YouTube personality.

Stay tuned for what I hope will be some interesting insights!

Breaking News: Video, Mobile & Social Media Trends

At today’s iMediaConnection “Breakthrough Summit” in Vegas, Hitwise’s Bill Tancer (ilovedata.com) told hundreds of leading marketers about three trends based on research of “early adopters.” Tancer will release the data this week on his blog, but here’s what matters:

  • Tancer developed three classifications of “early adopters,” in part by isolating the people who began using YouTube in the early days (fall 2005). He and his team observed their recent web behaviors (via Hitwise’s panel of 10 million US and 25 internationally), and noticed two video-related trends.
  • First, early adopters are shifting from finding videos via “most popular” (crowdsourced) content to portals with editorial viewpoints. Remember when YouTube editors picked what was on the homepage? Seems these early-adopters want their help again. Maybe your blog featuring your favorite new videos will be more useful to us than the most-viewed pages? Certainly there are some of you who send me videos, and I’m far more likely to trust Nutcheese or Jan’s opinion about something I should watch.
  • Second, video and social-media are colliding. These “avant garde” peeps want more social-media tools mixed with their video content. YouTube, in an attempt to attract more mainstream users and monetize content, has minimized its attention to social-media tools that facilitate dialogue adjoined to video. Instead, the videos “spotlighted” are chosen presumably based on a) “hot” trending videos, b) videos which captivate viewers longer (relative to similar videos of the duration), and c) based on content that commands higher advertising revenue. I’m not sure I fault that algorithm, but it may not satisfy the early-adopters. If Tancer is right,¬† perhaps there will be a surge in Facebook or other social-media sites offering video as an add-on (either hosted or via embedded YouTube widgets).
  • Third, he expects to see more mobile-driven sharing of video and other content. So watch for sites like TwitVid (I’ve been asked by TwitVid founders to advise the company, and Alexa shows the site is taking off). The site allows for sharing of video content using the Twitter API and login.

I’m keenly interested in any WVFF readers who might have been among these early adopters… people who joined YouTube even before I did (in January 2006). How are you finding videos now?

  1. By surfing YouTube’s most popular content (like this page that shows the most-popular of the week),
  2. Via your subscriptions (which is again broken, causing subscribers to not see recent videos from those to whom they’ve subscribed)?
  3. Or have you found a niche site that alerts you to the most interesting content? There are no shortage of sites that track trending videos, but are there blogs or websites you use to find videos that aren’t crowdsourced? Will Renetto solve it all via RenettoTube or Sorff.com or Vloggerheads!? See Renetto announcing Sorff.com in this video.

This could be a new niche for people who watch lots of videos, and have knack at finding videos that many other people may enjoy. Perhaps in the next months, we’ll begin “subscribing” to individual’s “favorites” (which YouTube functionality permits) because we trust their opinion of good content.

Perhaps the day of the YouTube editor (or even novice) is soon to return. I’m going to try using Twitvid now that I learned how to do so via my Blackberry.

Online-Video Stats August 2009

Here are some more stats about online video via ComScore and MediaBuyerPlanner.

Basically 161 million people watched online video in the U.S, and YouTube maintains a 40% share (followed distantly by Microsoft with 2.2%, and Hulu with even less). So when I use YouTube to refer to online video, it’s like saying “Coke” to refer to soda or “Scotch tape” to refer to adhesive transparent tape.

If you’re a stupid media buyer, here are the ad networks that can help you interupt people during their video-viewing experience:

Tremor Media ranked as the #1 video ad network with a potential reach of 68 million viewers, or 42.2% of the total viewing audience. YuMe Video Network ranked #2 with a potential reach of 59.1 million viewers (36.7% penetration) followed by ScanScout Network with 57.6 million viewers (35.7%).

Or you could try baking your brand message into content that people actually watch… product placement, sponsoring YouTube stars via Hitviews, or creating serialized content and praying someone will watch. It’s a tough call I know.

Hey, no offense Tremor. I know you guys do more than serve video ads… tell us about some of the stuff that works!

Most Popular YouTube Stars: Rankings, Stats and Trends

My last post about TheStation made me revisit the most-subscribed YouTube “stars” and channels to see what’s changed.

Who are the most-viewed, most-subscribed and most popular people on YouTube? Here are some trends, stats and sources for additional information.

First some trends:

  • We’re still seeing YouTube’s “most subscribed” list (more important than “most viewed” because it eliminates one-hit wonders) largely dominated not by professionals but individuals. In the top ten list are only 3 “professional” channels (machinima, Jonas Brothers and Universal). The rest are people like Fred, Nigahiga, ShaneDawsonTV, KevJumba, WhatTheBuckShow and VenetianPrincess. These are amateurs with recurring audiences, but only some have agents.
  • The packaged content (CollegeHumor) is not as popular as individual creators because people continue to become active on YouTube from a social context… picking their favorites as “virtual friends” as opposed to gravitating to the best content (TheOnion). I did not think this would continue to be the case in 2009, as online-video viewing moves mainstream.
  • The channels that move rapidly up this “most subscribed” list are typically spawned from already-popular channels. TheStation almost immediately reached the top 20 because the collective “web stars” promoted it. Likewise, when a popular YouTuber like ShaneDawson creates a second account (ShaneDawsonTV2) it rises quickly up the ranks. The easiest way to get noticed on YouTube quickly is by appearing in a popular creator’s video, as the top creators rarely voluntarily “shout out” (advertise) someone else’s channel.
  • As a result of the above trend, some widely known creators like Chocolate Rain singer TayZonday are falling off the top 100 list even as his views and subscribers continues to grow. Others slip because they lose touch with their fan base, or create videos less frequently. As an example, I’m happy to get about 250,000 views per day (as Nalts)… but not happy I’m always teetering at the bottom of the top 100 list.
  • The mix of most-popular is primarily “vloggers” (individuals talking to the camera), followed by musicians and comedians. Broadly speaking, your chances are higher of being a most-subscribed YouTuber if you’re Asian, sexy, funny, or gay. Toss in a few curse words and some raucous content and you’re golden.

Some resources for tracking trends and stats:

Anyone have any other sites I should add? Frankly I’m surprised there aren’t easier-to-find websites that collect and share data (WillofDC uses a website to report winners and losers, but I don’t know what it is.

10 Decent Reasons Online Video Ads ‘r Recession Resistant

Oh shut up about the stupid recession, you big whiner. I’m sick of hearing about it — and¬†just because it’s an economic depression doesn’t mean we all have to get clinically depressed.¬†¬†

Seriously. You’re beginning to sound like that annoying friend who’s always complaining about health problems… The co-worker or neighbor who doesn’t know that the only right answer to “how are you?” is “fine.”

Yes, online advertising is soft. But here are 10 plus reasons online-video will survive and thrive. Read these because I had to think so hard for some of them that I popped one of my 87 remaining brain cells. The statistics, of course, are 97% made up.

Send these to your boss, customers, clients and peers. Or print them and shove ’em up someone’s profusely pessimistic discard hole. Yeah you heard me.

  1. The audience is rapidly growing and ads work 41% better better if they reach people.
  2. The niche content provides better targeting (than 84% of non targeted spending). 
  3. The cost of entry is cheap (unless you piss away $250K on a bunch of “viral video Hail Mary’s” that you post on that micro site… equivalent to a billboard in your basement).
  4. Amateur creators have huge audiences, and are hungry. They’re also really connected with audiences and influential. Your banner ad isn’t as lucky.
  5. I like to eat stamp collections but not collectors.
  6. Video is 93% more visceral and memorable than even rich-media. If I remember your product I’m 29% less likely to forget about it and not buy it.
  7. I was fooling around with features on my YouTube channel, and decided to make my account invisible because I feel like it. That’s a sidebar.
  8. Brands will need recession-proof innovation… instead of interruption ads, they’ll partner with creators who already have huge audiences, and get great deals. Add up the top few dozen YouTube stars and you’ll find they get more daily views than many of the media sites combined. Shoot I get around 100,000 viewers a day and I suck the funny right out of the web.
  9. There is no reason 9 or 13. There’s a 33% chance you won’t notice that because you’re scanning.
  10. Brand leaders will still want to innovate (73% more than the control, which included that fat guy you work with that twitches out about “process” whenever he hears about change). Grant, they will be 41% more selective than this year and 88% than during The Bubble. So dump the stupid unscalable crap (like another useless Facebook widgets and those pitiful Second Life pilots). They’re like the PR people during layoffs. They’ll be first to go.
  11. People still need customers or sales tend to go down by 29% or more.
  12. Because I said so, and I’m a viral video genius. Check Wikipedia if you don’t believe me. There’s a 51% chance you’ve never heard of Wikipedia.

Televisions Obsolete. Online Video Takes Over.

No I’m just kidding. Television isn’t dead yet (but I’ll let you know when it is).

You didn’t waste money on that high definition set, and you advertising executives still have a little shelf life.

But here’s a new tidbit of research that verifies that online-video consumption is eating into our television viewing time. Courtesy of NewTeeVee (who I’m quoting way too often since they became my top RSS on iGoogle) and the folks from the Integrated Media Measurement Inc. (IMMI) (click here for full report via pdf):

Based on its tracking of primetime content across the major networks, IMMI has generally found that up to 20% of episodic content viewing occurs online, depending on the genre of the content
and the amount of time the show has been on the air. This amount is higher now, than last Fall
and in a few cases, is higher even than DVR viewing of the broadcast content.

This shift won’t soon reverse,¬†or¬†continue slowly. So that means it’s officially time to find a viable advertising model for free online video (and explore a fair paid model too).¬†:

Try forcing a long preroll, and the advertisers have bigger problems than DVRs allowing people to zip through 30 and 60s (as if they weren’t¬†running off to pee¬†before time-shifting). But the good news is that the music industry helped us transition from¬†copyright pirates into, to some extent, people too lazy to hunt and download free music. In time, it will be easier to pay a small fee or accept some ads as long as I can watch good quality video on my own time.

Now that the industry is maturing, watch for: bigger audiences, a better ad model, and more professional content. The amateurs are already losing share to professionals (check the YouTube most subscribed charts for proof), but the pie is continuing to grow. And as long as the economy doesn’t starve marketing¬†innovative budgets (and force marketers to resort to proven but dying media) then I’m still bullish on the opportunities for advertisers, creators and audiences.

Keep in mind the pretty charts by IMMI are a little deceptive. Like this ‘ere chart. It does not tell us that 50% of an average American’s time is moving to online video. Rather it says that half of us — upon being assaulted by a survey — acknowledge that, at some point, we looked to the Internet in lieu of television. I’m surprised that number isn’t higher. Most of us early adopters are probably close to 50/50 online-video vs. television right now.

But keep in mind that even though we’re all still watching television, our brains are clinically dead during this time (well, maybe just more dead than when we’re watching online video or pretending to care about the person rambling in that meeting).

 

More Video Views Than People Living in Top 20 US Cities?

When I think about uploading a video to YouTube, I envision five audiences:

  1. The people I know in online video- fellow creators and members of the online-video community.
  2. Permanent record: is the video going to be a tattoo I might regret? Will it cause my kids or family any embarrassment that I haven’t already inflicted?
  3. The folks I know from “meat space” (not virtual). Friends, family, neighbors. Most don’t watch.
  4. My professional colleagues (most who don’t watch).
  5. The rest of the people on planet Earth who might stumble into a video by accident.

So this morning (while in the midst of crunching numbers for our annual Marketing Plan) I’m thinking about how 500,000 views for a recent “scary maze” and why a Pesto recipe video (5,000 or so views) got 100 times fewer views. I’m thinking 5,000 is kinda lame, and maybe I should stay away from recipes. But then I realize that 5,000 is actually a lot of people.

What would it feel like if 5,000 people showed up in my front yard one day to see me?

So’s then I become curious about physical metaphors for the total number of times my videos have been viewed across the globe… somewhere between 30 and 40 million (hard to count beyond YouTube and a lot of my stuff is ripped). These numbers don’t include television audiences when my clip appears- these are straight, measured online views.

Even 35 million is about 1/3 of the total people that watched the last episode for M*A*S*H or the latest Superbowl (which, of course, is far from comaring apples to apples).

Then I run a list of the population for the top 20 US cities. According to Wickipedia, there are about 32 million people in the top cities. Some of my videos are presumably viewed by multiple people at a once, and more are maybe viewed¬† by the same people more than once. I would imagine there’s a high “abandonment” rate in the first 30 seconds, so although 3O million views at an average¬†2.3 minutes sounds like I wasted maybe 150 days of cumulative human lives, it’s probably far less.

And here’s the irony. I walk around with my Nalts hat all the time, and outside my own community, I’ve been recognized exactly one time… 2 weeks ago at the LA airport by three young girls. I was speaking with Charles Trippy on my cell, and told him I had to hang up because fans were waiting.

I’m glad I can’t see everyone’s eyes. I used to get stage fright standing in front of an autitorium of 400 people. The thought of the New Orleans Superbowl filled 400 times over is a little daunting.

So even if you have a few hundred views, think of it in physical terms. It’s kinda surreal.