David Neeleman, CEO of JetBlue, takes to YouTube to apologize and promise better skies ahead. It’s quite unpolished but that’s part of the appeal. The guy has circles around his eyes; he’s stressed; he’s trying, and that’s what comes across. He’s using YouTube to speak directly to his customers and putting himself at their/our mercy.
Posts about youtube
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.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s blog — note how that rolls off the keyboard — has been putting up video of representatives floor speeches against the war. That’s fascinating enough but get how they are posting the video: via YouTube. Here is Pelosi’s own YouTube user page.
C-SPAN has been the place to get source information on video: watch and judge for yourself. Now YouTube can take over that role and not just for limited official events but for source video anywhere. [crossposted at PrezVid]
The days of doing business by telling customers what they cannot do are nearing an end. If your customers want to watch your shows, listen to your songs, read your news, or play your games, can you still get away with telling them they cannot unless they come to you and use your devices, pay your fees, and follow your rules? That could work in a scarcity economy in which you owned all the stuff and the means to get it. But no more. Business isn’t about control any more.
The wise company today will go with the flow of the public’s desires and try to figure out how to make money by helping them do what they want to do. That may sound obvious, but it’s not how media work. In the age of consumption, control was what media were about. In the age of creation, they should be about enabling.
Take Viacom. The American media giant – owner of MTV, Comedy Central, iFilm, Paramount, and much more – followed the old rules this month when it demanded that YouTube take down 100,000 clips that viewers had put up there. Mind you, Viacom was quite within its rights, for it controls the copyright to that content. And as a content creator myself, I’m no foe of copyright. It’s also clear that this is a negotiating move on Viacom’s part.
Still, it wasn’t a smart move. And here’s why: the evening before Viacom’s announcement, my teenage son and webmaster brought his laptop to the dinner table – yes, that is what life is like in the home of bloggers – and showed me a YouTube clip of his hero, Bill Gates, being interviewed by my hero, comic Jon Stewart, on Comedy Central’s faux news, The Daily Show. My son had never watched Stewart. Nor does he ever channel-surf the TV. The only – only – way he is going to discover a new show is via the internet, and the best way for him to do that is via YouTube. Yet the next day, that clip disappeared from YouTube and thus Viacom cut itself off from its future audience.
Comedy Central has put clips on its own site and even allows them to be embedded, like YouTube players, on blogs. Fine. But the first problem with that is that the network is speaking to the audience it already has. To attract a new audience – to make up for the free YouTube promotion it has now cut off – Viacom will have to invest marketing money. Control can be expensive. The second problem is that the network, not the audience, is picking the good stuff now. If your audience wants to praise and recommend and pass around your best stuff, why wouldn’t you let them, encourage them, enable them?
At the recent McGraw Hill Media Summit in New York, online mogul and conference keynote star Barry Diller said that “the issue is availability”. The music industry, he said, “stuck its head in the dumb sand for way too long”, but that won’t happen to the video industry because “everybody’s going to make everything available”. The question is where and how. Diller said that producers won’t want to find themselves at the mercy of a single powerful distributor, as they were in the early days of cable TV in the US. Fair enough, but they don’t have to. Their videos can be on their sites and on YouTube; they should be everywhere. Diller argued that Viacom will make money from its clips with advertising, subscription fees and micropayments (the last long-promised and prayed-for but still not materialising). I say he left out the other business model: free promotion of their core business, their network shows.
Rather than cutting off new distributors and promoters, I say that producers should be finding the ways to take full advantage of the opportunities they present. How can you build new audience for free and grow larger than you ever could when you were limited by your own distribution and marketing? How can you enable that growing audience to recommend and share your best stuff? How can you find yourself in a larger conversation – not just in comments on your site, but in the response videos people make on YouTube and elsewhere? How can you use this new medium to find new talent and new ways to make content for less? And, yes, how can you make advertising revenue on the clips that are on YouTube and then on the countless blogs that embed its videos? If, in its negotiation with YouTube, Viacom manages to crack that nut – getting revenue plus promotion plus branding plus content while helping the audience do what it wants to do – then that would be wise, indeed. We’ll see. My advice is simple: find the flow. Then go with it.
Presidential candidates should take a lesson from Al Franken and his YouTube video announcing his run for the Senate. (Well, that radio thing didn’t work out so well so it’s time to get a job.) The video is a bit long but it has the right tone as Franken talks about his and his wife’s poor families and how the government helped them get their starts in life; it is a fine illustration of his
liberal progressive outlook. Franken is not cracking jokes; he’s not talking to a big audience on a big camera; he’s talking to one person: whoever clicks below.
Comcast says that 4 percent of its bandwidth goes to YouTube and they say that’s great news.
See also NewTeeVee’s compilation of audience for the new television:
* YouTube: 41.1 percent market share, 86.8 million sessions, 29.7 million unique visitors
* MySpace: 19.3 percent share, 40.9 million sessions, 17.6 million visitors
* Google: 10.2 percent share, 21.6 million sessions, 12.1 million visitors
And so on.
Though it’s comparing apples and kumquats (networks v. shows), note the latest big-TV ratings: 33.9 million for American Idol. But consider also that TV penetration is roughly double broadband penetration, still.
Viacom just demanded the YouTube take down clips from its networks, including Comedy Central and MTV. Wave bye-bye to Jon Stewart and Jon Stewart should wave bye-bye to audience.
Just last night, my son showed me Bill Gates on The Daily Show via YouTube. My son, a teenager and the future audience for the network, had never watched Jon Stewart. It was through YouTube that he discovered and enjoyed the man. But Viacom just cut off that means of free — free! — promotion and distribution. Instead, the company is going to have to advertise heavily in hopes of reaching my hard-to-reach son — he’s busy watching YouTube, you see, instead of MTV and instead of television, for that matter — to build audience in the future. Of course, this is a negotiating tactic. But it is also bad business. It pisses off your own audience, who is recommending your shows. It cuts off that free promotion. It increases marketing costts.