Rocket's Tail

Everything Visible from the Ground as an Industry Lifts Off

Posts Tagged ‘online

The Definitive YouTube Guide

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Building an Audience, Optimizing for Search, and Making Money

The title to this post is fairly tongue-in-cheek. The reality is that if you catch any well-known so-called “you-tubers” off-the-record, they’ll tell you that all bets are off. Even panelists from last night’s YouTube Partner’s Meet-up, which was held at Google’s New York City offices, confided that the ubiquitous platform and it’s community seems to be very different from year to year. Panelists included: Michael Buckley (What the Buck), Ben Relles (Barely Political), Kevin Nalty (Nalts), and William Hyde (TheWillofDC). Each of these guys gave varying perspectives on their success and have taken different approaches to their content, much which I love. However, the most helpful part of the evening were two sessions lead by Margaret Healy, Google Partner, and what she shared about how their platform works and how to make the most of our shows. What follows are some of those insights:

Michael Buckley, William Hyde, Ben Relles, and Kevin Nalty

Building an Audience

Early in the evening, Healy posted a TubeMogul pie chart depicting statistics about where video views come from (no, not from the lettuce patch). Additionally, a number of statistics were thrown out to the audience, like the fact that YouTube is the second largest search engine (ostensibly second only to Google), that 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and that 40% of online video views happen on YouTube. Interestingly, during the Q&A, one partner asked about securing placement on the YouTube platform. Healy’s response was that videos didn’t get popular because of a YouTube spotlight. Essentially, YouTube’s perspective is, “you need to build your own audience.” There was encouragement for partners to network, collaborate, and even form friendships. There was a lot of talk about inbound traffic to YouTube utilizing video embeds, links, and the new email option that partners were encouraged to ask their subscribers to opt-in to (note: it’s a multiple-click process to opt in). There was talk about how to share subscribers and a ton of talk about interaction. Buckley pointed to how much time he spends interacting with his audience via the comments on his videos and that he is less focused on his website than on his YouTube channel. When a follow-up question was asked about how many hours a day he spends responding to comments he emphasized: “A LOT!” I was quickly reminded of a conversation I had last year with Joe Swanberg (Young American Bodies) when I asked him how building an audience was different online than it was in film. He responded to the affect that building an audience was just the same online: one viewer at a time. So, back to the TubeMogul pie chart: while 45% of video views come from within the site, 44% came from inbound traffic (ie. blogs, links, etc.). The next obvious question is, beyond sharing subscribers and getting people to link to a video or embed a video, what can you do to find an audience?

Optimizing for Search

How, exactly, does one rise above the noise and get her video found and seen? Healy had some interesting thoughts about optimizing for search (note the earlier statistic about YouTube being the second largest) and that Google search results now include video. Healy went onto say: “I know a lot of you guys spend about 10 hours perfecting you video,” boy, does she underestimate, “and about 10 seconds writing a description for your video.” That was when she introduced Al (short for algorithm). She explained that while the YouTube Algorithms do not watch the videos, they read all the text available (title, tags, and description). She gave CookingWithDog as an example of the kind of specificity needed in descriptions to help optimize a video for search. She did a quick Google search for “cooking bento” and the cookingwithdog video was available above-the-fold. Once on the video page she opened up the description and there was the entire recipe. Then she offered a tip for those of us with text rich videos: turn on auto-captions, copy and paste the captions into the description, correct the captions, save, and then turn off auto-captions. Other things that impact the YouTube Algorithms? Any of the following will help: inbound links, frequency of posting (the more you post, the more Al will like your video), and getting included in official playlists. Also, note that the algorithms are designed to identify spam and misleading behavior as well as copyright infringement, etc.

Making Money

Once you’ve figured out how to build an audience all on your own and how to optimize your video so people will find it when they search for related stuff, of course you’ll want to know: HOW DO I MAKE MONEY?  If you want to make money on YouTube, you need to first apply to become a YouTube partner. Once you’ve done that, there’s a lot of stuff to know and figure out:

The first question is how exactly one makes money on YouTube. Very simply: advertising. Wait. No. The TWO ways to make money on YouTube are advertising and rentals. Oh, but wait…the THREE ways to make money on YouTube are advertising, rentals, and paid placement. Yes, the list is still growing. But, don’t worry…there is no comfy chair! (Special note about the third: YouTube allows partners to get paid for product placement but due to recent FCC regulations requiring the disclosure of paid content, please check the box during upload that says: “This video contains a paid product placement.”) However, the main way that video on YouTube is currently monetized is with advertising (pre-roll, post-roll, and overlays, and in-stream ad-insertion in videos longer than 10 minutes, as well as with AdSense).

YouTube has three ways they package their video inventory for advertisers.

  1. Category – When you go to upload your video, you should select which category your video is best suited for. Sometimes ad buyers will buy the entire category.
  2. Video Vertical – This is determined by all the metadata on a per-video basis (ostensibly based on views, content, and other qualifying factors such as extensive descriptions)
  3. Custom Packs – YouTube has an unlimited number of custom packs of videos that advertisers buy. Special interest right now for YouTube is video content geared toward moms.

Please note that the algorithms on YouTube/AdSense are designed to weed out racy content and other kinds of content that advertisers might find objectionable. It was difficult to get a clear read on what, exactly, racy and objectionable might be; but one must assume that objectionable will trend with the sensibilities of the culture at any given time. Healy’s suggestion was to make videos TV-ready to make them appealing to advertisers.

There were approximately two hundred partners in the room for the session and many of us “old timers” could be heard saying things like: “oh, I didn’t know you could do that now; that’s helpful.” Clearly, this was a great step for YouTube toward helping to build its collection of partners into a community. Hopefully, there will be many more YouTube Partner Meet-ups and YouTube will continue this more personal flow of information. I, for one, believe that it’s incumbent on we the Partners to build our community.

Beyond the Whips and Barbed Wire – Interview with Todd Norwood (Meet the Mayfarers)

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Upon first meeting the creator of Meet the Mayfarers, Todd Norwood, I was stuck by this incredibly affable guy with a quirky sense of humor. It was at the LA Tubefilter Meet-up, Tim Street introduced us, and we talked plenty of shop. Then, a month later, deep in conversation with Brian What at Slap House Radio we decided to take a look at the front page of Blip.tv. There was Todd, lying on a bed in a penguin costume next to a very dominant woman. I remember being struck at the juxtapositioning of penguin suit, whips, barbed wire, and mom walking into the room asking, “what is this?” in the episode entitled: Family Revelations. Todd has spent years crafting the many episodes of the series, Meet the Mayfarers, and has promised to keep shooting episodes as long as they keep having fun.

Todd assured Rocket’s Tail that the syndication of his show on Blip.tv has been a real boon to the work they are doing. Shooting along the short coastline of New Hampshire, Todd proves that interesting online video is coming from locations far from those A-list markets of New York and Los Angeles.

Meet Todd in this interview that was conducted in Cambridge, MA:

Jeremy Allaire, Online Video Industry Leader, Discusses its Future

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Most segments of industry were hit hard last year! Remember just a month ago when we were all kissing 2009 goodbye ready to see it gone forever? Well Jeremy Allaire‘s company, Brightcove, managed to grow its revenues 50% year over year, in 2009. Their customers have ranged from media companies (The New York Times, Fox, AOL, etc.) to plenty of non-media companies (Reebok, GM, Ticketmaster, etc.). And, seeing an opportunity to develop customers on the lower tier of online media, they rolled out Brightcove Express for $99/month; perfect for your local newspaper just dabbling with online video or that travel company looking to grow its community of travelers!

Jeremy Allaire is no new-comer to this space, either. Having co-founded Allaire Corporation where he developed Coldfusion and then teamed up with Macromedia to develop Flash, he is truly one of the online video industry’s leaders.

Rocket’s Tail caught up with Jeremy Allaire at the Brightcove Headquarters in Cambridge, MA to talk with him a little bit about where the industry is right now, where it might be heading, and how that intersects with other industry segments.

Interactive Video As Easy as Tagging Facebook Photos!

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Rocket’s Tail caught up with Roger Wu at the NY Video Meet-up this week. His company, Klickable.tv, has a unique take on making videos interactive. Inspired by pop-up music videos of the 1980′s, Roger liked the idea of tagging a video and allowing people to engage with the content directly by then having pop-ups upon scroll-over or opportunities to click for more information or to even make a purchase. He described Klickable.tv as a wrapper that can take your already-published video (on say YouTube, or Vimeo) and allow you to create interactive opportunities as easily as tagging a photo in Facebook. The end-user experience is that of being able to click on a portion of a video to get information, links, and other fun interactions.

Here is the video interview with Roger:

Additionally, you can see Klickable.tv verion of the video by clicking here: http://rocketstail.tumblr.com/

I asked Roger a few additional questions just prior to this post:

1. Are their any limitations to the length or source of footage that can be used with Klickable?

Nope – we’ve had people stream 90 minutes through – just remember your audience, i’d rather watch 90 1 minute clips than 1 90 minute clip

2. When I wash a video through Klickable, and somebody watches that, does it count as a video view on the source video portal (say YouTube or something else)?

It does if you are using the video portal’s video player, which our free version does for YouTube and Vimeo.

3. Are their ways for video creators to make money with Klickable?

Yes, affiliate links, advertising, analytics, engagement, etc etc!!

4. Does Klickable do any matching up of content with advertisers?

We do. If you check out the “free” version we utilize LocalPages to serve up contextually relevant Pay per click advertising…

Syndicate your shows with Blip.tv (Interview with Dina Kaplan)

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Dina Kaplan has a number of shows that she really enjoys and they are all on a network that she co-founded with Mike Hudack, Justin Day, Charles Hope, and Jared Klett. They are on the ground floor of a critical evolution in syndicated content; online video. Boasting some fifty thousand shows currently and constantly adding more, Blip.tv recently added syndication to a wide variety of aggregation portals like: iTunes, YouTube, Roku, Tivo, and many more. Where Hulu aims to purvey the highest quality content from the top-tier studios and networks and YouTube is targeted at “every-user”, Blip.tv aims to develop the middle tier of webseries productions and syndicated them (with advertising) to a wide range of portals.

Rocket’s Tail recently caught up with Dina to hear her thoughts on what differentiates them in the market place, the coming evolution of 3D, and the future of online video.

SodaHead.com Wants You to Disagree!

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Jason Feffer, one of the people who helped start MySpace, is creating a different kind of community; one that thrives on opinion. A quick perusal of SodaHead.com and one will find what looks like a typical online social community. But SodaHead brings a little something more to the table: community building widgets. The hottest widget is the fully customizable polling widget and an ability to integrate polling into other social networks (twitter, facebook, bebo, etc.). ABC News uses the polling widget on its front page. Rocket’s Tail recently sat down to talk with Jason Feffer. Here is what he had to say:

Best Online Video Startup 2009 (NY Video)

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Holiday recipe for 2009

  • Yaron Samid and NY Video
  • A hearty startup competition
  • A month of preliminary online voting
  • Approximately 200 Online Video Professionals in one room
  • Live online demos
  • Mobile SMS voting

Take the ingredients and shake ‘em up. Throw in the coldest night of the year. Place them comfortably in the Columbia University Business School. Let the ingredients fight it out for 90 minutes. When you’re all finished, you’ll have a rockin’ good time.

Shout Outs!

Shout outs of the night go to Israel Drori, Founder of Zixi who, after his demo froze, came back strong with a live performance of “Stairway to Heaven” by his neighbor’s son some 250 miles away. And to Mike Sommers of KickApps who, when questioned, gave some good ole fashioned smack-talk; claiming Brightcove’s customers would one-day come walking through their door.

How The Contest Went Down

Yaron Samid welcomed professionals and newcomers and introduced the top six competitors: Kaltura, 5min, Adotube, KickApps, Popscreen, and Zixi. Each company presented an online demo. And then attendees voted from their seats via SMS. Despite a couple of minor technical glitches, all six companies demoed their products and responded to two questions. The audience spoke—and 5min came out on top. Congrats to 5min, and to all the finalists, for their excellent work, products, and presentations.

Rocket’s Tail condensed the night into 10 minutes of video. Meet the contenders here:

Bunchball’s Peter Daboll Wants You to Have Fun.

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Peter Daboll wants you to have a little fun, or at least stay engaged when you visit your favorite brands online. He is the CEO of Bunchball, an organization that creates interactive experiences for the likes of NBC, USA, and SyFy. Including aspects of gaming and social networks as well as linking to user’s social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter; their closed environment allows them to not only create the experience, but also to track how engaged the end-user is with the brand. They power the the interactivity behind NBC’s The Office (dundermifflininfinity.com) and USA’s Character Arcade.

I had the good fortune of sitting down with Peter Daboll this Fall in Santa Monica at Digital Hollywood to talk a little bit about Bunchball. Here is that conversation:

Online Video: Teens and Cops Working Together

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Every once in a long while, one of those projects arrive that is more than just a video. Last month, I was contacted by the Assistant Director of Community Services, Tammy Trojanowski, in the hometown of Saxon Mills (Stratford, CT) with just such a project. They wanted to document an experience where teens and cops would sit down for four round table discussions over lunch. The goal was to foster understanding, see the people behind the labels, and take the resulting video out to other parts of the community as a conversation starter to share what they had learned during the sessions. Made on a very short time-line, here is the video that was made:

Bob Dylan Must Be Santa!

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Some years ago I saw Bob Dylan play with Paul Simon in Northern California. It was a joy to see these sages play a double-bill and perform duets together. But, Bob keeps on playing and touring, constantly writing new music and giving new voice to old songs. Love him or hate him, he has been one of the most prolific song writers of my parents generation, my generation, and probably my children’s generation, too. Yeah… WOW!

Last month, this musical American bard released “Christmas in the Heart” an album that will raise money for charities around the world.

Dylan has been much criticized for his music video of “Must be Santa” (see below). I have to disagree with the critics who think it’s just too bizarre. What is Santa but play and merriment? This polka-infused version of the song is nothing but fun as Dylan oscillates from Sage to bartender to leader of a party of merry-makers! Pat Boone can sing about Mommy kissing Santa Claus and Dylan can’t have a little fun with this Christmas myth?  Bob Dylan has a long history of doing Christmas right with plenty of respect, even on this album. I, for one, finished the video and felt like gettin’ up and dancing to celebrate Christmas. Not bad for a new rendition of an old Christmas Song.

Don’t take my word for it, decide for yourself:

 

You can see the exact same version on Bob Dylan’s page by clicking: here.

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