Posts about smalltv

If I were the Oscars (or Viacom)

If I had the Oscars or Viacom — both of whom pulled their clips off YouTube — here’s what I’d do to deal with — no, to exploit and profit from — the inevitable trend toward your audience promoting and distributing your content:

The first goal is to get the audience to pick and recommend your best stuff. That’s free promotion.

The second goal is to make money from advertising, either on the clips themselves or on the pages and videos people come to because they saw the clips.

So I’d work with YouTube et al on new Motionbox-like functionality (which I hear Bright Cove has, too) to enable viewers to pick out segments in the middle of video. And then I’d let them to post those segments on any of the sharing services that enable me to attach ads and make money. So say the Oscars are up at Oscars.com and you can watch them there — and earn the Academy and the network more ad revenue with every click. Say that you can snip and post any two minutes up on YouTube with a click of a mouse. If the clip is already there, it takes you there and registers that you’ve recommended the same thing as someone before you and lets you comment to join in the conversation around the clip (“Can you believe Ellen’s pantsuit?”); having just one version of the clip will lead to better conversation and community. The clip carries my advertising. The video services let me keep my revenue and they report stats to me on viewership. They also promote the clips: “Watch the most popular Oscar moments!” And when people discover those clips on YouTube, etc., they’re pushed back to Oscars.com to see the show — starting with where the clip left off. And I make money showing them advertising there.

What’s not to love? I get free promotion — from my customers! I get free hosting from the service. I get incremental ad revenue both on the clips and on my show. If I have obscure cable shows at odd hours with small audiences (cough! Viacom), I get new audience discovering me. I get branding.

See, that’s the way to exploit and enjoy what’s happening in video anyway. That’s the way to go with teh flow and find new cash flow. Sitting and whining and taking your marbles and going home doesn’t earn you new money and doesn’t endear you to your customers and doesn’t save you marketing money. It just makes you look like an old dolt. And remember: In the post-scarcity media economy, there’s always something else to watch.

That’s what I would do.

: MORE: Here’s what Mark Cuban would do: He’d flood YouTube with tiny clips to harass the viewers there. That’s one helluva way to treat your fans. Does he also serve warm beer at basketball games? Dave Winer suggests:

What if, instead, Viacom told YouTube that they could host clips from their shows, but reserved the hi-rez versions for themselves, and maybe they could have negotiated a link from the YouTube low-rez scan to the one served on their site. Anything would be better than the fractured world that’s being re-created now. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if users knew they just had to go to YouTube to find what they’re looking for, knowing that it would lead them to a purchasing experience if they want one.

It seems the entertainment industry doesn’t recognize the power of its users. They’re accustomed to dealing with artists and other companies, esp really large ones, but they haven’t learned how to negotiate with the users, and that’s who they have to deal with, if they want a future.

Let’s repeat that: “The entertainment industry doesn’t recognize the power of its users.” Amen, brother.

And Om Malik mocks them:

Instead of being glad that people (the same people who pay for their over the top lifestyles by watching movies) wanted to see some of the clips, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences today asked YouTube to remove the clips.

Don’t they realize that these clips are like milk left on the counter top for too long, and will go sour soon? Don’t they realize that in this era when people are short on time, the three-hour overproduced crap that passes off as the Oscars broadcast is not needed?

Why blame the people for putting short clips on YouTube, and why take them down now? The question is why didn’t either the Academy or ABC offer the clips themselves – thus losing out on potential advertising dollars? Why not work with YouTube and give people what they want?

Preach it.

Rah Rah CBS

When CBS and Viacom split, CBS got the smarts about the future of video. The Times today writes about the network inviting people to put up their videos. And here‘s Les Moonves talking about the benefits of putting the network’s stuff on YouTube: “It’s hard to do an absolute cause and effect, but we know it absolutely is helping. We are looking at every single outlet there is for our content.”

A million C-SPANs

I say we need to create a million C-SPANs made by us, the citizens, using video to open up government to inspection by all.

C-SPAN itself is, oddly, one of the most jealous protectors of copyright anywhere. That’s why they demanded that Stephen Colbert’s speech before the press corps of Washington be pulled down from online. That is why The Times writes today about confusion in Congress about what representatives can and cannot put on their blogs. The short answer is: government feeds belong to us all, C-SPAN feeds belong to them. So Nancy Pelosi was in her rights to put up speeches from the floor on her blog; that came from the taxpayers’ cameras. Yet as The Times points out:

But last week, as it happens, C-Span did contact the speaker’s office to have it take down a different clip from her blog — one shot by C-Span’s cameras at a House Science and Technology Committee hearing on global warming where Ms. Pelosi testified, Mr. Daly said. . . .

“We are structurally burdened, in terms of people’s perception, because we are the only network that has such a big chunk of public domain material,” said Bruce Collins, the corporate vice president and general counsel of C-Span. He estimated that 5 to 15 percent of C-Span’s programming is from the House and Senate floor, and thus publicly available.

“It is perfectly understandable to me that people would be confused,” he said. “They say, ‘When a congressman says something on the floor it is public domain, but he walks down the street to a committee hearing or give a speech and it is not public domain?’ “

Thus the work of our government is being trapped by C-SPAN’s cameras and business models. That may be their right but it doesn’t serve our rights. So we need to blow this up.

If Firedoglake could go and liveblog the hell out of the Libby trial, so can more of us go and tape meetings of our government and distribute that online, around C-SPAN.

We can do this not just at a national but also at a state and local level. I suggested that this is a role for local public radio (here and here) and also for local newspapers: Unleash an army of us with audio and video recorders to capture public meetings and then host what we come up with and give us the tools to edit these recordings down to their essence.

The next time you go to your school board meeting, take along a video camera and put it up on YouTube. And watch how your elected representatives behave then.

60 Seconds

Don Hewitt is ready for his second act: an online-only show filled with the commentary of the YouTube generation. Very impressive.

“I know that this is an age group that does not watch television,” Hewitt said. “They are not interested. I figure that’s because they are bent over a computer all the time. I figure, maybe the way to reach them is the Internet.” . . .

And although the technical requirements for submission are low-budget–even cell phone camera footage is OK, so long as the sound is clean–the storytelling vision is pure Hewitt.

“If you’re interviewing others, make sure they are interesting,” reads the email. “Strong characters can save a weak story. Weak characters can sink the strongest of stories. Cast your story with people whose personas make you pay attention. . . . people who are forceful, animated, quirky, whatever . . . you’ll know it when you see it.”

Waiting for the pencil

Michael Rosenblum, a leader in transforming TV news, writes on his new blog about newspapers vs. TV stations adapting to online video:

The magazines and newspapers have far less problem adapting to video; at least in the VJ model – that is where the reporter carries their own small camera and laptop, and produces their own stories. The magazines and newspapers ‘get it’ right away because this is they way they have always worked. Newspaper journalists have never worked with a crew. They have never had to wait in a reporting situation for ‘the pencil to arrive’.

In most local newsrooms in this country, we field an average of 8 camera crews in any given day. That means 8 cameras to cover a city like Tampa or Houston or Nashville. Can you imagine what would happen if a newspaper were suddenly reduced to covering Tampa with 8 pencils?

A reporter might arrive on a location to do an interview. The subject would sit there, waiting anxiously. “Can we start?” the subject says.

“Not yet” says the reporter. There is a pause. “I have to wait for the pencil to arrive”.

Finally, after a seemingly interminable wait, a blue van pulls up. The name of the newspaper is emblazoned on the exterior of the van, and from inside emerge two men carrying a large metal case. Inside the case, is the pencil.

They come into the office and very professionally start to set up their gear. Tom has been a pencilman for the past 20 years. He’s very good at what he does. Joe is the paperman. He feeds Tom sheets of paper. Its a tough job, (and dangerous. Papercuts can kill if you don’t know what you are doing). There used to be a third person on the crew – the eraserlady, but a round of cutbacks have now only served to dimish the quality.

As soon as Tom and Joe get set up, they indicate to the reporter they are ready.

“We have lead” they say, and the reporting can begin. . . .

For conventional TV news, the shift is far more traumatic. They have to adapt to a whole new model of journalism; one that newspapers and magazines have been using for years.

Read the rest and see three earlier stories about newspapers actually having an advantage in the video future.

See ya

Well, one way to look at the networks playing hardball and leaving YouTube is that there’s that much attention left for the rest of us who are making small TV.

Getting their act together

When the UK’s online political talk show, 18 Doughty St., started, I lamented the technology, for it kept me from watching. Well, they have their technical act together and they have a very impressive rundown of shows on news, politics, culture, blogs, and more. The BBC’s Richard Sambrook stopped by for a visit today and I hope to when I’m in London in early March.

TV’s new ecosystem

Viacom just signed a deal with Joost to air lots of its shows and movies and the Wall Street Journal tries to draw a contrast between that and the company’s demand that YouTube pull its clips offline. But they’re completely different deals. Joost is the new cable MSO, airing full shows at full size. YouTube is the viral promotional and marketing engine of today — the, pardon me, buzzmachine of TV. Audience recommending clips via YouTube is what will drive viewers to Joost. Note that, apart from possibly supplying bandwidth, cable is cut out of this. See my post below. Good riddance.