Bank of America is Your Sweet But Senile Grandmother on Twitter

momDigiday writer Saya Weissman lists Bank of America in the top-5 brand fails on Twitter, and I just had my own amusing experience with the bank. Today’s lesson for brands is simple: while it can’t hurt to integrate your customer service help desk with your social media efforts, you probably shouldn’t have customer service reps manning the Twitter voice.

I’d characterize Bank of America’s Twitter voice as “well intentioned but lacking mental clarity.” But we can’t judge or condemn the bank! It’s kinda like an aging grandmother who may not be completely lucid, but she certainly means no harm.

Weissman’s gave BOA a “fail” because the bank provided a human but robotic response (“we’d be happy to review your account“) to tweets by activist Mark Hamilton (@darthmarkh). Hamilton, of course, wasn’t exactly keen to discuss an account. He had been tweeting about being chased away from a Bank of America by cops… it seems Hamilton had been drawing an anti-foreclosure message on the sidewalk.

My recent experience with the bank was almost as strange. Yesterday I saw that Bank of America television commercial (“Flowers“) featuring a dude bringing his gal a bouquet of flowers. Inexplicably the dude decides just one flower will do, so he leaves the rest in his cab.

My reaction to the ad wasn’t quite “I need to open a Bank of America account.” I was more thinking “I wonder what the next cab passenger thought when he found a bouquet of flowers in an otherwise empty cab?” So I tweeted: “I found the rest of the dude’s flowers in a cab. Can I keep them?” I didn’t expect a response, and frankly I was pleased to have one.

Naturally, my Tweet made absolutely no sense to anyone but me. That’s quite often my MO on Twitter. So we can’t blame Bank of America for asking for account details for clarity, right (“I’m not sure I understand the question… please send me a DM with more detail.” It’s just an odd response that sounds more SIRI than human. The logic appears to be: “when in doubt, a comment about our bank is probably an inquiry to discuss an account.” Hey that’s cool, though. The next time I have a problem with my account… I’ll just tweet something like: “increase my credit by $5K.”

Bank of America on Twitter: Your confused but sweet grandmother
Bank of America on Twitter: Your confused but sweet grandmother

 

 

 

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.

Boob-Tube Audience Slips to Online-Video But Retains Advertising

Though television may be losing viewers to online video, it continues to hold advertisers. Fewer people have been watching traditional TV channels so far this TV season, the first such decline since at least 2007.

Here are some details, punctuated by my favorite “cringe worthy” quote of television versus online video.

The Wall Street Journal’s Suzanne Vranica and Sam Schechner reported on television and online-video advertising changes as “up fronts” approach. Upfronts are when advertisers commit dollars to the mediums, and Morgan Stanley projects that…

broadcast networks’ “upfront” will rise 1% to $9.16 billion, and that cable-network upfront commitments will increase 4.3% to $9.68 billion.

This year, for the first time formally, online-video companies, including Google and Yahoo, are holding upfront-like ad-sales presentations this week and next. Online-video networks will showcase new webisodes, and YouTube will boast of its new “originals.” 

Ultimately, advertisers continue to see television as a place to scale, and media buyers have historically been very tentative about adjusting to new mediums. However online video is an easier conceptual leap for even the thickest media buyers. 

Here’s that favorite cringe-worthy quote by UBS Securities analyst John Janedis:

“There is a lack of confidence around the measurement of online video at this point and that means it will be challenging to see big money move from TV to online this year,” added Mr. Janedis.

(Cringe)

YouTube to Become “Next-Generation Cable Provider”

YouTube, according to the Wall Street Journal and CNET, is looking to become the “next generation cable provider.” We’re seeing more and more shifts in the online-video medium, and YouTube appears to be making dramatic shifts away from its origin.

Reports CNet:

  • youtube 2012

    Google has inked deals with InterActiveCorp’s Electus, News Corp., and “CSI” creator Anthony Zuiker to create content for its site. Celebrity skateboarder Tony Hawk has also reportedly signed a deal with Google.

  • The company was investing $100 million in original content, and would create about 20 “premium channels” featuring 5 to 10 hours of original programming each week.
  • But now that a recent study suggests online-video is giving cable a run for its money, things are changing.

Over the years, YouTube has relied on third-party content and has consistently said that it’s not in the original-content game. But according to the Journal’s sources, Google has designs on becoming a “next-generation cable provider” and has shifted its focus.

Will amateur and short-form video still matter? What do you think?

 

8 Ways to Turn your TV Into a Web-Video Player (for under $99)

AppleTV is slick and all. But Roku's packed with content, and darnit I like that little purple clothing tab
Online-video on your TV is not this difficult anymore.

Sure most BlueRay disc players have the ability to stream YouTube and other content. But it’s 2011.

Walk away from anything that requires physical media and, gasp, has moving parts.

Here are 8 plus ways to stream videos from the Interweb to that big-ass monitor your mama calls an HDTV. CNet reviews the collection, and generally comes down with the Roku 2 as the winner above the AppleTV. I have both, and was an AppleTV raving fan who purchased horrific amounts of content I was too lazy to seek out for free. Then the AppleTV started giving me password and synching problems, and the new $99 TV-rental model felt unfair. So both have been paperweights for a few months, but the Roku is still an easy way to stream my all-you-can-eat Netflix movies.

  1. Roku 2 XS 1080 for $99 is a pretty sweet deal (Amazon affiliate links). Easy startup, and there’s plenty of default content in addition to YouTube and Netflix. Seriously that little fabric tag is almost as cute as a Chumby octopus.

    Worship me. I am Chumby.
  2. AppleTV’s $97 model is decent, but a step backward not forward. Had Jobs stuck around, this might have gotten interesting.
  3. Logitech Revue (GoogleTV) got a luke warm Cnet review, but the keyboard makes it a favorite of many “lean forward lean backers.”
  4. Sony SMPU10 USB Media Player- it’s ass. Skip it.
  5. WD-TV Live Plus Western Digital thing. Doesn’t come with wifi built in, which is like sending it out without a friggin’ power cord. CNet liked it, but the readers didn’t.
  6. VeeBeam: Some reviews say it’s easy to install, but it simply provides a wireless delayed stream from your laptop to a TV. Seems like a cheap connector would make more sense. Am I missing something?
  7. Netgear offers some Push2TV device that works with an Intel wireless laptop (widi), so if you can figure that out… go for it.
  8. A Friggin’ HDMI Cable (from laptop to TV): Finally, if you’re going to tie up your damned laptop, how about connecting a stinkin’ $5 HDMI cable directly from it? I’m not seeing the appeal of choices 6 and 7, when a simple cable does most of the work without lag. Depending on your laptop, you may need an adapter to have it HDMI ready, but remember that HDMI is an HD cord that carries audio and video.
So that’s my modification of the CNet article, but keep in mind that there are other options, ranging from TiVo and your stupid cable-TV box to various videogame players that will achieve much of this (and may be sitting idle in your home).
TiVo logo
Suck it Chumby. I was around longer and can do more.

 

 

 

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.

No More Excuses to Dodge Web-TV: Angry Birds on Roku

The Roku turns your Internet into television (and has a cool fiber logo tag)
You cannot resist his face and the clouds and the blue background.

You’ve heard about online video, and you have a few extra large monitors (HDTV) that you aren’t using. Now you’re running out of excuses, because the Roku (which like AppleTV, Boxee, TiVo and other devices) will soon offer Angry Birds… right on your boob tube. To be sure Roku is right for you, check out this comparison (GigaOM) to AppleTV’s fall update and the Boxee.

If you’re already a member of Amazon Prime (free trial here) or Netflix (free trial here), you’ll get better use out of these limited but generous “all you can eat” video collections, although some devices (Wii, Xbox) allow you to search Netflix’s entire collection instead of just your manually populated “Instant Que.” I have just about every web-to-TV box available, and Roku’s my favorite. I use TiVo most often, because it’s my bedroom replacement to Verizon’s crappy Motorla units. And if I’m on a YouTube binge, I do like the simplicity of AppleTV.

Roku wins because it’s incredibly easy to navigate, and the remote is as simple as AppleTV with barely any buttons. I also admit to digging the new fabric tag that pokes out the remote, making it even more unique.

If you’re overwhelmed by the steps required to starting on these devices, here’s the dealeo. In most cases (Hulu as an exception) you don’t even need to pay a monthly fee for additional content, like the library of Revision3 channels.

The idiot’s guide to getting started on web-TV for $99 and about 5 minutes of your precious time.

Get more out of that boob tube and stop pesky burning $4 on "on demand" movies.
  1. Buy the Roku (Amazon affiliate link). That’s the most difficult step, and there’s no service fee required.
  2. Plug the Roku into an electric outlet.
  3. Plug in an ethernet cord from your modem or router (or use one of these wireless internet adapters, which sends internet via electricity).
  4. Connect the Roku to your television via those red, white yellow cords or the fat one called an HDMI cable (audio and video)
  5. Turn on Roku and follow brief instructions
  6. Gorge on free content, and if you have Roku or Amazon, simply generate an approval code then tap that into your account to verify the box is yours and not some nosey neighbor pouching your account.
  7. Write me and tell me how I’ve opened your eyes to the impossible.

 

TV is the New Internet

Well it seems things are fine in TV Land. A recent study shows that TV ads beat the web in creating engagement (specifically by 38 gagillian times).

Charles Trippy's a Liar: Internet Didn't Kill Television

And a previous study shows we don’t miss the ads we skip. Good news, media buyers! Get those bucks back on television.

 

Next week: Print is alive!

WTF is “Transmedia Storytelling”

Just like OTT is the new viral, transmedia storytelling is the new online video.

“Transmedia storytelling” is not new vernacular, but we predict it will be the buzzword of 2011… pushing the term “currating” into the archives. I became familiar with the term at a 2010 television/web events in NYC, where large media companies defended their crappy dabbling in online video as “transmedia storytelling.” Some online-video content (Office webisodes) are quite clever.

But only about .05 percent of the audience for a television show will ever see the webisodes buried on some archaic network website… so at least the web “add ons” are not typically essential to the plot. Like the secret code on Fringe intro/outros, they’re additive to the experience… and for hardcore fans. In years to come, the interactive content may be more of a main dish than an optional appetizer.

Now you can learn via AdHack what “transmedia storytelling” is all about. The definition, what makes it work (communal, personal, tangible, discoverable, character development). Anyone doing this stuff particularly well?

As on-demand web video becomes mainstream, large television shows will increasingly win audiences to “online video” “lagniappes”  that rise above the allotted 23-minutes of a 30-minute show. More importantly, they’ll be vehicles to provide engagement with fanatic fans (oh, and provide additive direct ad revenue to a medium that could use some vitamins).

Content producers should be thinking of this content the way retailers think about the high-end or high-volume offerings that are less about incremental revenue… and more about growing the baseline. For instance if you’re Starbucks, you add the TRENTA not to sell a load of them. If you’re a white goods manufacture, you add a pricey “top of the line” product not to sell more of them. The introduction of these items grow your “baseline” or “middle of the road” offerings in indirect ways that are difficult for our executive brain to understand. It’s the dino-brain, folks. It’s all about the limbic brain. It drives most of our behaviors, and is the reason an emotional appeal works in marketing and entertainment… more on that later.

The tricky balance here? The producers of network television can’t well justify investing in this content until an audience exists (and thus a financial marketplace develops). But viewers won’t be attracted to this storytelling extension until it’s more interesting than a silly “Black Ops” boat-racing game for Burn Notice. So it’s a catch 22 that will take years to escape. But we’ll get there.

YouTube News You Missed

Okay I forgot I had a blog again. The past two weeks have included trips to (in sequence) Virginia, Minneapolis, NYC, Washington, D.C. and NYC again.

Shitty clipart makes a blog visual

Enough about me. Let’s focus on YouTube today, since it’s turned 6 (that’s a near-death 94 years in TechCrunch years). If you missed the comment stream on my last post, you’ll want to catch up. It’s steamy, and Sukatra’s on a Charlie Sheen tear.

And after this humble attempt at “aggregation,” stay tuned for my patented “synthesis” below… what all this means to a changing ecosphere-marketplace-ecosystem-valuechain-universe.

    What Does All This Mean?

    • YouTube is going mainstream with musician chart-toppers exceeding the once amateur-only club. Alas, the site is a free jute box rivaled only by Limewire in the day.
    • YouTube is embracing its new role, hoping attracting familiar faces will attract a larger base of “regulars,” who until now have chosen their own weblebrities.
    • Still, amateur hour isn’t over… especially if you’re a quasi professional. While no YouTube star has yet jumped mainstream with any endurance or consequence, we may see that change in 2012.
    • Most importantly, albiet somewhat tangental, what the hell happens to the sales of my “Beyond Viral” if Borders goes bankrupt? Perhaps you can find a local Borders that’s folding, and snatch a discounted copy of the book. Be sure to take a photo and let me know.

    This post has been brought to you by the letter S. Big S.