Good news for Internet video content businesses

This is good news for those of us trying to build new content businesses on the Web: ABC tested out streaming shows online and found good success for advertisers, Ad Age will report tomorrow, Jeff Jarvis says.

In other video news? Chris Pirillo and Leo Laporte wants to rebuild TechTV. Um, Chris and Leo, the community is already doing that — albeit better. (And, Michael says in the comments below, Leo Laporte has already done an awesome job of replicating the best content in the This Week in Tech podcast).

Why? TV was limited by the massive audience it needed. Everytime I was on TechTV I had an image in my mind that they were burning $100 bills in the middle of the floor. Actually, if I had imagined $1,000 bills the image would have been more accurate.

How do you get a mass audience? By pandering to lowest-common-denominator stuff. Translation: you have to dumb down your content. I remember talking with Leo Laporte and this would drive him nuts. He actually wanted to make the content even geekier. Sometimes he succeeded in talking about how to setup your own Web server on a Linux machine, but that was about how geeky it would get.

But on the Internet I don’t need to dumb down my content. The costs of doing content are so low that if I want to do a cooking show for geeks I can. Just get a $300 camcorder and start putting videos up on Google Video or You Tube.

Translation: TechTV is already here and it’s WAY better than what was on the real TV network. Did TechTV ever put videos up to teach you how to do something really geeky like use ASP.NET 2.0? No. They couldn’t have. They would have pissed off 90% of their audience.

But we don’t need to worry about that and that’s a good thing!

NicheTV is here. It’s even better than TechTV. And the advertisers like it too!

Comments

  1. It’s one of those neat advertising deals that works for the viewer as well as the advertiser. Watch one ad, and you get full access to the video, with transport controls to FF, Rew, skip, etc. Move to the next level with dynamic insertion based on what the viewer is willing to disclose, and you have a very sweet ad model all around: the viewer, the distributor, the advertiser all get good value.

  2. It’s one of those neat advertising deals that works for the viewer as well as the advertiser. Watch one ad, and you get full access to the video, with transport controls to FF, Rew, skip, etc. Move to the next level with dynamic insertion based on what the viewer is willing to disclose, and you have a very sweet ad model all around: the viewer, the distributor, the advertiser all get good value.

  3. I have to believe that one reason so many people remembered the ads was because they didn’t have to mess with getting the shows to play. With Flash, it just works, and though you’ve had your issues installing it with beta software Scoble, almost everyone has it.

  4. I have to believe that one reason so many people remembered the ads was because they didn’t have to mess with getting the shows to play. With Flash, it just works, and though you’ve had your issues installing it with beta software Scoble, almost everyone has it.

  5. Ryan: I agree with that. I just wouldn’t use it on your home page without also offering HTML. I’m cool with using proprietary formats elsewhere deeper in your site, though.

  6. Ryan: I agree with that. I just wouldn’t use it on your home page without also offering HTML. I’m cool with using proprietary formats elsewhere deeper in your site, though.

  7. Then we can be friends after all ;). Flash *websites* are terrible, terrible things. Flash *applications* are awesome. It’s just making sure you use the right tool for the job.

  8. Then we can be friends after all ;). Flash *websites* are terrible, terrible things. Flash *applications* are awesome. It’s just making sure you use the right tool for the job.

  9. I ran into Leo last week at a cable TV marketing convention. He’s doing quite well re-connecting with his TechTV audience and moving beyond that through podcasting–TWIT, This week in Tech. He’s got some impressive numbers up on his site. I love the site motto: Podcasts you love from people you trust.

  10. I ran into Leo last week at a cable TV marketing convention. He’s doing quite well re-connecting with his TechTV audience and moving beyond that through podcasting–TWIT, This week in Tech. He’s got some impressive numbers up on his site. I love the site motto: Podcasts you love from people you trust.

  11. Robert,

    In my opinion it’s not about content anymore. As you say, creating it easy. What’s not so easy is recognizing the device that’s connecting to view the content. The default assumption has always been the desktop. That’s no longer true. Now we have mobile devices with all manner of screens sizes and resolutions connecting. There is still no capability within the web server to accurately determine what the device can support.

    Peter

  12. Robert,

    In my opinion it’s not about content anymore. As you say, creating it easy. What’s not so easy is recognizing the device that’s connecting to view the content. The default assumption has always been the desktop. That’s no longer true. Now we have mobile devices with all manner of screens sizes and resolutions connecting. There is still no capability within the web server to accurately determine what the device can support.

    Peter

  13. Robert,

    I agree it is great to see all this great geek content flourishing on the net. We run the web 2.0 show podcast and we see a sizable audience every week. I disagree with “NicheTV” because it is strictly relegated to geek and funny content at this point. Until the delivery methods get easier and more wide spread, adoption will be slower. Most people might be interested in this content but they don’t understand how to consume it. As it becomes easier to consume, more will be interested in producting as well, thus bringing the real niche content (videos about art, travel, cars, and stuff like that).

    I also think you will start to see more integrated “product placement” instead of straight ads. That is something we are working on with Podvine.com, trying to bring advertising to podcasting in a tasteful and meaningful manner.

    Anyway, interesting ideas, we just need to keep plugging at the how :).

  14. Robert,

    I agree it is great to see all this great geek content flourishing on the net. We run the web 2.0 show podcast and we see a sizable audience every week. I disagree with “NicheTV” because it is strictly relegated to geek and funny content at this point. Until the delivery methods get easier and more wide spread, adoption will be slower. Most people might be interested in this content but they don’t understand how to consume it. As it becomes easier to consume, more will be interested in producting as well, thus bringing the real niche content (videos about art, travel, cars, and stuff like that).

    I also think you will start to see more integrated “product placement” instead of straight ads. That is something we are working on with Podvine.com, trying to bring advertising to podcasting in a tasteful and meaningful manner.

    Anyway, interesting ideas, we just need to keep plugging at the how :).

  15. I think that you might have missed an important point regarding ABC’s online streaming: As with User Generated Content, the writers, directors and actors–the content creators –are being dramaticaly reduced/eliminated from participating in the revenue from ABC’s online streaming. Digital downloading–streaming– promises to be highly profitable for the studios and advertisers, but do to the lack of existing agreements between the studios and the Writers Guild of America, Directors Guild of America, and Screen Actors Guild, the creative talent’s participation will be in less than 20% of the revenue generated from online-streaming. Having followed your posts regarding advertisers and User Generated Content (your 6/20/06 post–”The Screwing of the Long Tail” in which you stated that content creators of User Generated Content would only receive 20% of the revenue generated from work), I thought that you might be interested in the surprising revenue projections/similarites for creators of User Generated Content and the creative talent in the entertainment industry.

  16. I think that you might have missed an important point regarding ABC’s online streaming: As with User Generated Content, the writers, directors and actors–the content creators –are being dramaticaly reduced/eliminated from participating in the revenue from ABC’s online streaming. Digital downloading–streaming– promises to be highly profitable for the studios and advertisers, but do to the lack of existing agreements between the studios and the Writers Guild of America, Directors Guild of America, and Screen Actors Guild, the creative talent’s participation will be in less than 20% of the revenue generated from online-streaming. Having followed your posts regarding advertisers and User Generated Content (your 6/20/06 post–”The Screwing of the Long Tail” in which you stated that content creators of User Generated Content would only receive 20% of the revenue generated from work), I thought that you might be interested in the surprising revenue projections/similarites for creators of User Generated Content and the creative talent in the entertainment industry.

  17. I agree with you, Robert. What they’re doing now is a lot better than what they could have done on TechTV. What I do miss the most are the segments where they would bring in people like Michio Kaku in and discuss things, segments where they would show you how to do something like how to use Photoshop better or how to user the Linux command line, and even the call ins were a good part of the show.

    I’ve always said that watching TechTV did change my life and I’ll never forget it.

  18. I agree with you, Robert. What they’re doing now is a lot better than what they could have done on TechTV. What I do miss the most are the segments where they would bring in people like Michio Kaku in and discuss things, segments where they would show you how to do something like how to use Photoshop better or how to user the Linux command line, and even the call ins were a good part of the show.

    I’ve always said that watching TechTV did change my life and I’ll never forget it.

  19. Again with the advertisers…

    When we built the first personal turnkey Windows Media streaming site back in 2000, we looked for video advertising agencies… most of the traditional banner ad companies had no clue. Let’s hope the agencies have their act together now. Even so, unless someone is going to put the equivalent of Google Adsense together for video, the micro start-up is going to need a whole business development team to get the video ad sales in the door.

  20. Again with the advertisers…

    When we built the first personal turnkey Windows Media streaming site back in 2000, we looked for video advertising agencies… most of the traditional banner ad companies had no clue. Let’s hope the agencies have their act together now. Even so, unless someone is going to put the equivalent of Google Adsense together for video, the micro start-up is going to need a whole business development team to get the video ad sales in the door.

  21. It’s good news and bad news, was all set to lay out the downsides, but Brooke did it for me.

    Basically the studios will grab content for next to zero, good that the pool is bigger, but it’s really permission to be screwed, for good high-level quality content creators. Now for some dingdong High Schooler or non-editing vlogger with a one chipped shaky cam, ok…it’s heaven.

    As for TechTV, that was a trainwreck anyone could see coming.

  22. It’s good news and bad news, was all set to lay out the downsides, but Brooke did it for me.

    Basically the studios will grab content for next to zero, good that the pool is bigger, but it’s really permission to be screwed, for good high-level quality content creators. Now for some dingdong High Schooler or non-editing vlogger with a one chipped shaky cam, ok…it’s heaven.

    As for TechTV, that was a trainwreck anyone could see coming.

  23. I’ve noticed issues with Flash applications, particularly with MAC’s hmmm. I live in a low tech part of the country which skews my perception of how profitable it may be. Posting regional content has been a bit of a problem as well. Google Video has been my format of choice and would be a much greater advantage if I could get news clips up 6 hours before mainstream media instead of waiting 4 days.

  24. I’ve noticed issues with Flash applications, particularly with MAC’s hmmm. I live in a low tech part of the country which skews my perception of how profitable it may be. Posting regional content has been a bit of a problem as well. Google Video has been my format of choice and would be a much greater advantage if I could get news clips up 6 hours before mainstream media instead of waiting 4 days.

  25. Brooke, ordered thy book…looks great! Great blog too.

    Been plowing thro Alex Epstein’s new TV book and I totally adore Mike Lent’s old ‘Breakfast with Sharks’.

  26. Brooke, ordered thy book…looks great! Great blog too.

    Been plowing thro Alex Epstein’s new TV book and I totally adore Mike Lent’s old ‘Breakfast with Sharks’.

  27. Thanks for the comments, Christopher. If anyone wants to read my article on how digital downloading–online streaming–is going to crush the creative talent in the entertainment industry you can read it at the May 22, 2006 post at writingforfilm.com/Articles or in living color in the May ’06 edition of LA Lawyer at
    http://www.lacba.org/Files/LAL/Vol29No3/2265.pdf.
    But more to the point, I wonder when Robert will begin “taking meetings” with the Hollywood creative community.

  28. Thanks for the comments, Christopher. If anyone wants to read my article on how digital downloading–online streaming–is going to crush the creative talent in the entertainment industry you can read it at the May 22, 2006 post at writingforfilm.com/Articles or in living color in the May ’06 edition of LA Lawyer at
    http://www.lacba.org/Files/LAL/Vol29No3/2265.pdf.
    But more to the point, I wonder when Robert will begin “taking meetings” with the Hollywood creative community.

  29. Thanks for the comments, Christopher. If anyone wants to read my article on how digital downloading–online streaming–is going to crush the creative talent in the entertainment industry you can read it at the May 22, 2006 post at writingforfilm.com/Articles or in living color in the May ’06 edition of LA Lawyer at
    http://www.lacba.org/Files/LAL/Vol29No3/2265.pdf.
    But more to the point, I wonder when Robert will begin “taking meetings” with the Hollywood creative community.

    Additional Note: Link may not work, but if you copy it and paste it it seems to work.

  30. Thanks for the comments, Christopher. If anyone wants to read my article on how digital downloading–online streaming–is going to crush the creative talent in the entertainment industry you can read it at the May 22, 2006 post at writingforfilm.com/Articles or in living color in the May ’06 edition of LA Lawyer at
    http://www.lacba.org/Files/LAL/Vol29No3/2265.pdf.
    But more to the point, I wonder when Robert will begin “taking meetings” with the Hollywood creative community.

    Additional Note: Link may not work, but if you copy it and paste it it seems to work.

  31. I have this nagging feeling that there is some wishful thinking in this topic. TWiT is good but much weaker in than TechTV in its coverage of technology. The former is largely a Mac encampment, and doesn’t yet cover the larger PC segment well. Of course there is the Ziff-Davis empire, including DL.TV. If you want to talk about the totality of current technical video offerings, I suppose a claim of surpassing TechTV becomes credible.

    But then you must consider the distribution and delivery channel. Hardly a week goes by that ZD content goes out without a hitch, for example. The streaming content is especially fragile. Realities like that lead me to believe the Internet is too immature to assure advertisers of ad delivery. We’re told that the Internet is self-correcting in terms of traffic bottlenecks, but the truth is much less impressive. Problems with a middleman’s router between Sprint and Limelight can–and has been known to–bring down ZD streams. So can a single piece of hardware such as the Tri-caster. I really can’t see many advertisers being very understanding about such things.

    All of this doesn’t even talk about the delivery platform. Video is tougher on hardware, and the means to meet those requirements aren’t always available. For example, I’m currently reduced to using a five-year-old Lztitude C800. Hopefully, that will change this week, but I’m not holding my breath. The C800 is based on the 850 MHz PIII, with 256 MB RAM and a 20 GB harddrive and an ATI M4 graphics chip. All of that means the C800 is barely able to handle audio, never mind the demands of video. I know I’m not alone either. I daresay that MOST of the computers in use lack the power needed to make video enjoyable. Time will change that, but maybe not in time for the current crop of video makers.

  32. I have this nagging feeling that there is some wishful thinking in this topic. TWiT is good but much weaker in than TechTV in its coverage of technology. The former is largely a Mac encampment, and doesn’t yet cover the larger PC segment well. Of course there is the Ziff-Davis empire, including DL.TV. If you want to talk about the totality of current technical video offerings, I suppose a claim of surpassing TechTV becomes credible.

    But then you must consider the distribution and delivery channel. Hardly a week goes by that ZD content goes out without a hitch, for example. The streaming content is especially fragile. Realities like that lead me to believe the Internet is too immature to assure advertisers of ad delivery. We’re told that the Internet is self-correcting in terms of traffic bottlenecks, but the truth is much less impressive. Problems with a middleman’s router between Sprint and Limelight can–and has been known to–bring down ZD streams. So can a single piece of hardware such as the Tri-caster. I really can’t see many advertisers being very understanding about such things.

    All of this doesn’t even talk about the delivery platform. Video is tougher on hardware, and the means to meet those requirements aren’t always available. For example, I’m currently reduced to using a five-year-old Lztitude C800. Hopefully, that will change this week, but I’m not holding my breath. The C800 is based on the 850 MHz PIII, with 256 MB RAM and a 20 GB harddrive and an ATI M4 graphics chip. All of that means the C800 is barely able to handle audio, never mind the demands of video. I know I’m not alone either. I daresay that MOST of the computers in use lack the power needed to make video enjoyable. Time will change that, but maybe not in time for the current crop of video makers.

  33. Brooke: I’m very honored you showed up here. Anyway, I can’t announce future content plans yet. But, let’s just say PodTech is interested in non-tech content as well.

  34. Brooke: I’m very honored you showed up here. Anyway, I can’t announce future content plans yet. But, let’s just say PodTech is interested in non-tech content as well.

  35. Robert: I’m honored that you would respond to my post. I’ve written about you and your blog in the 6/20/06, 6/28/06 and 7/24/06 posts at writingforfilm.com/Articles/ (which probably brought you all 4 of my readers, including my mother) as I’m very concerned about: (1) How Hollywood will incorporate Pod-casting? and (2) How Hollywood will incorporate User Generated Content? It’s going to be very interesting to see how this all plays out–but, if you read the the interview with Writers Guild of America-west President Patric Verrone (the May 20, 2006 post at writingforfilm.com/Articles/) you can see that the Hollywood creative community is very, very concerned.

  36. Robert: I’m honored that you would respond to my post. I’ve written about you and your blog in the 6/20/06, 6/28/06 and 7/24/06 posts at writingforfilm.com/Articles/ (which probably brought you all 4 of my readers, including my mother) as I’m very concerned about: (1) How Hollywood will incorporate Pod-casting? and (2) How Hollywood will incorporate User Generated Content? It’s going to be very interesting to see how this all plays out–but, if you read the the interview with Writers Guild of America-west President Patric Verrone (the May 20, 2006 post at writingforfilm.com/Articles/) you can see that the Hollywood creative community is very, very concerned.

  37. Brooke, I’ve not seen “talent” be part of any of the requirments for PodTech plans, or any “video bloggers” plans. Just throw crap out there and hope enough people click on the ads to allow them to make money seems to be the business model.

  38. Brooke, I’ve not seen “talent” be part of any of the requirments for PodTech plans, or any “video bloggers” plans. Just throw crap out there and hope enough people click on the ads to allow them to make money seems to be the business model.

  39. LayZ, you bring up a great point. Is it possible that “talent” or “craft” is an anachronism? With regard to the business model: Is any of the content which you have seen on any of the video blogger platforms worthy of exploitation in the multiple platforms/revenue streams (book, movie, dvd, streaming, mobisode, tv, cable, novelization, comic, plush/toys, posters, cards, clothing (merchandise), game, foreign market exploitation , airplane, theme park attraction etc.)?

  40. LayZ, you bring up a great point. Is it possible that “talent” or “craft” is an anachronism? With regard to the business model: Is any of the content which you have seen on any of the video blogger platforms worthy of exploitation in the multiple platforms/revenue streams (book, movie, dvd, streaming, mobisode, tv, cable, novelization, comic, plush/toys, posters, cards, clothing (merchandise), game, foreign market exploitation , airplane, theme park attraction etc.)?

  41. Brooke, in a word, “no”, but I’m not sure that’s what they are aiming for. Frankly I’m not sure even the video bloggers know what either their short term or long term goals are, other than having someone download their content and hope to get mentioned on “a list” blogging sites. But, it is more targeted at this “long tail” thing. Maybe sort of like the indie films, just smaller. But, even indie films put talent as a premium. It seems video bloggers, and podcasters for that matter, hope the content will overshadow their lack of talent. Frankly, I don’t see that happening.

    Sure, there are some that are getting some mention… Rocketboom and Amanda what’s her name. ( However, me thinks she was a struggling actress deep down, that happened to stumble upon the Rocketboom gig and used it as an audition vehicle. I heard one of my “indie” friends tell me she got some bit part on CSI for one episode. Not sure that was because of her gig on Rocketboom specifically, but who knows?). In the end, I think you need both talent and content. A bad script cannot be hidden by A list actors… see: most any movie done by an actor after winning the Oscar. Conversely bad talent can kill a good script. see:any movie starring Kevin Costner.

  42. Brooke, in a word, “no”, but I’m not sure that’s what they are aiming for. Frankly I’m not sure even the video bloggers know what either their short term or long term goals are, other than having someone download their content and hope to get mentioned on “a list” blogging sites. But, it is more targeted at this “long tail” thing. Maybe sort of like the indie films, just smaller. But, even indie films put talent as a premium. It seems video bloggers, and podcasters for that matter, hope the content will overshadow their lack of talent. Frankly, I don’t see that happening.

    Sure, there are some that are getting some mention… Rocketboom and Amanda what’s her name. ( However, me thinks she was a struggling actress deep down, that happened to stumble upon the Rocketboom gig and used it as an audition vehicle. I heard one of my “indie” friends tell me she got some bit part on CSI for one episode. Not sure that was because of her gig on Rocketboom specifically, but who knows?). In the end, I think you need both talent and content. A bad script cannot be hidden by A list actors… see: most any movie done by an actor after winning the Oscar. Conversely bad talent can kill a good script. see:any movie starring Kevin Costner.

  43. I posted this on Chris’ blog…

    But Chris… you know better than anyone, as someone very successful with Internet-based media, that people want what they want, when they want it. Scoble can be a blow hard at times, but he’s right… the sum of all the things that TechTV alumni are doing is better than TechTV ever was.

    I miss tuning into The Screen Savers every night, but I get a ton out of This Week in Tech and Digg every day.

  44. I posted this on Chris’ blog…

    But Chris… you know better than anyone, as someone very successful with Internet-based media, that people want what they want, when they want it. Scoble can be a blow hard at times, but he’s right… the sum of all the things that TechTV alumni are doing is better than TechTV ever was.

    I miss tuning into The Screen Savers every night, but I get a ton out of This Week in Tech and Digg every day.

  45. LayZ,

    At this point, I think that the hardware is more important than the content for video blogging and . . . with some notable exceptions . .. maybe podcasting (sorry Robert). But I presume it will change and I’m looking forward to Robert’s podcasting venture and will be posting about it at writingforfilm.com/Articles/.

    With regard to indie films, it’s pretty much about the talent and the voice of the writer and/or director. Now that the film industry is in retraction, indie prod will be more important than ever for emerging talent.

    And maybe/probably . . . the emerging talent in the film industry will use video blogging/podcasting to expose their work.

    BTW, thanks for your great comments re: my writingforfilm.com.

  46. LayZ,

    At this point, I think that the hardware is more important than the content for video blogging and . . . with some notable exceptions . .. maybe podcasting (sorry Robert). But I presume it will change and I’m looking forward to Robert’s podcasting venture and will be posting about it at writingforfilm.com/Articles/.

    With regard to indie films, it’s pretty much about the talent and the voice of the writer and/or director. Now that the film industry is in retraction, indie prod will be more important than ever for emerging talent.

    And maybe/probably . . . the emerging talent in the film industry will use video blogging/podcasting to expose their work.

    BTW, thanks for your great comments re: my writingforfilm.com.

  47. Brooke, not convinced the film industry will glom on to video blogging..as defined by the geeks like Scoble. Maybe they will. If so, it will certainly make life even more difficult for the talentless geeks. Now, I could be the exception to the rule, but I use my video iPod as my portable Tivo. I download old and new TV shows, and rip movies to it. (as well as my PSP). The Oscar nominated short films were also nice to have. So, if that is what you are defining as video blogging, then I agree. Frankly, I think Cuban’s venture has a lot of near term value, and then if he makes those films available via download for a price… well… all the better. I’m the target audience for your industry when it comes to downloadable video content, not Scoble’s. I have little interest in looking at some geek pontificate about some new new thing. I’d prefer to consume that content in written form. With video content, I want to be entertained first and foremost.

    And you made my point about idie films much beter than I, but I was basically trying to say what you said. (Thus why you get paid to write, and I don’t. )

  48. Brooke, not convinced the film industry will glom on to video blogging..as defined by the geeks like Scoble. Maybe they will. If so, it will certainly make life even more difficult for the talentless geeks. Now, I could be the exception to the rule, but I use my video iPod as my portable Tivo. I download old and new TV shows, and rip movies to it. (as well as my PSP). The Oscar nominated short films were also nice to have. So, if that is what you are defining as video blogging, then I agree. Frankly, I think Cuban’s venture has a lot of near term value, and then if he makes those films available via download for a price… well… all the better. I’m the target audience for your industry when it comes to downloadable video content, not Scoble’s. I have little interest in looking at some geek pontificate about some new new thing. I’d prefer to consume that content in written form. With video content, I want to be entertained first and foremost.

    And you made my point about idie films much beter than I, but I was basically trying to say what you said. (Thus why you get paid to write, and I don’t. )

  49. I agree. I was about 12 when I first Call for Help and only later realized that Leo Laporte was actually a pretty technical guy. I’ve been an avid TwIT listener ever since, as well as a variety of other podcasts and vlogs (I still can’t stand that word). Viva the digital content revolucion.

  50. I agree. I was about 12 when I first Call for Help and only later realized that Leo Laporte was actually a pretty technical guy. I’ve been an avid TwIT listener ever since, as well as a variety of other podcasts and vlogs (I still can’t stand that word). Viva the digital content revolucion.

  51. A Microsoft Experience

    I have to share an experience that has happened over the last day with me. I have been working on evolving my knowledge of Microsoft dot net in support of learning AJAX and having a platform to try some SOA