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.

Teens Like Web Video, Study Shows

Teenager computer

Lately I hear childrens’ voices coming from most of our devices. And when I lose my temper, my road can be heard live in households across the globe:

  • My 11-year-old son speaks regularly with fellow Xbox gamers all over the planet… hopefully some are actually his age.
  • My 9-year-old son talks to his mates via Skype while playing Mindcraft on the PC.
  • My 13-year-old daughter does homework while talking with her classmates on FaceTime.

I did consider that this was just my bad parenting, but apparently my children are not alone.

According to a new Pew study, 37% of internet users ages 12-17 participate in video chats with others using applications such as Skype, Googletalk or iChat. Girls are more likely than boys to have such chats. A PC magazine story reports on the research and points to some of the new tools to facilitate live video.

The research was fielded in the first half of 2011 so it’s probably dramatically understating these activities as reflected today.

So apparently the Nalts kids aren’t too far off the norm… at least on this particular topic. 

AOL Announces YouTube Rival: AOL On

Aol video

AOL is launching an online-video hub that will feature 14 content channels and centralize AOL video in one place, according to The Chicago Tribune.

“We believe that in years ahead people will want to watch television on their PCs and Blackberrys,” said AOL CEO Tim Armstrong. “Wer’e unrivaled in this new category of web-based moving pictures.”

Armstrong was not immediaetly familiar with YouTube, an online-video website acquired by his former employer, Google. Nor did he seem deterred that YouTube has more channels created hourly than the 14 he’s merging into “one place on the AOL portal.” One AOL channel is entirely devoted to Mark Day comedy routines.Mark day

Ran Hernveo, SVP for Video at AOL, said in a statement that AOL On “goes beyond the traditional online video experience by delivering video that’s different from other online videos.” 

Hernveo and Armstrong agreed they were especially excited about coming years, as AOL plans to stream videos far faster than the 56K modem limitations of today.

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)

YouTuber Cameos on 30 Rock, SNL

It was a good week for YouTubers on NBC. Key of Awesome’s Mark Douglas appeared as Ian in the “Woggles,” a PG-13 version of Australian children singers, “The Wiggles.”

And “Chocolate Rain Guy” (TayZonday) gets an SNL impression by Kenan Thompson!

Woggles 30 rock

See Buzzfeed for a collection of Woggles media or see the entire episode of “30 Rock” which includes more of YouTube’s Batman (that’s a link to my Batman video with Mark to show I’m 2 degrees of separation from Liz Lemon).

Sing along, kids

Feelings, feelings. Feelings say how you feel.

Apples. You taste good.

Trees. You give us wood.

Grandma. I am gay.

Bridge. You turn me on in a sexual way.

Spaghetti. You’re my favorite food.

Dog in sunglasses. You’re a real cool dude.

Police. I killed a man.

Son. Your father’s dead.

Wife. I’ve been to a whore.

Feelings. Feelings. Feelings say how you feel.

Twin. Get back in your cage.

Teacher. Put your penis away.

Moon. Turned me into a wolf…

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.

QuadSpot Interviews Viral Video Genius

And TheQuadSpot interviewed me for a surprisingly polished show for amateurs. Watch. Again it’s free.

Seriously I’m just going to blog about myself for a while. It’s what bloggers do, right? I had a chicken sandwich on Weight Watchers bread. I’m down more than 20 pounds since I shot The Unlicensed Therapist. As Zipster08 might have said: I was doughy, mkay?

ReelSEO Interviews Viral Video Genius

Tim Schmoyer interviews the Viral Video Genius for ReelSEO. Get smart, be entertained, watch Tim try to salvage an interview with me.

Three so far… three coming. Enjoy. They’re free. Comment below about how awesome we are.

Your Viral Video Shouldn’t Be a Commercial (Celebrity Apprentice Lesson)

Perhaps you watched Celebrity Apprentice last night, where the b-listers teamed up to create a “viral” video for O-Cedar’s ProMist Spray Mop.

Note that I put “viral” in quotes since it’s not a viral video unless it goes viral. For that matter, let’s call it what it is: try-ral. It’s trying. It may go viral, but it’s not.

This isn’t the first time Celebrity Apprentice has tasked the (has-been but charming) celebrities to create a “viral” video. But here’s my favorite quote from NJ.com on the coverage and the decision made in the boardroom after the competition:

The execs didn’t get the women’s “number” concept initially but liked the entertainment aspect of the video. They liked the men’s slogan… and thought the concept was clear and highlighted the mop’s selling points, although the video was a bit too much like a traditional commercial. The men win.

Did you notice anything there? The video was a bit too much like a traditional commercial, but… by the way… it won.

At the risk of stating the obvious, please don’t learn from this. They didn’t win despite the video being too commercial. They won because the women’s video was entertaining but not purposeful. That’s not good either. But if your “viral” video is a commercial, prepare to spend your media dollars to get it seen as prerolls. We almost never share commercials… we sometimes send entertaining videos that happen to pitch a brand.

Do not expect people to share your commercial. Please.