2016 Alliances & Partnerships

Sometimes, it isn’t the best thing to be the smartest person in the room.

Sometimes, it isn’t the best thing to be the smartest person in the room.

This is where consulting, business partnerships, and other sorts of teamwork come into play.

Even when you have the right idea for yourself, your consideration of the situation may be limited by what you know about yourself.. The personal limitations you know you have.

Adding one or more other people to the equation does way more than double your abilities now that there are two people involved.

The other person comes to the table with his or her life, personal, and business experience, none of which YOU HAVE! 😀

The other person comes to the table with equipment that they spent their money on that you didn’t.

I’ve seen the future… It’s creating alliances and partnerships in 2016. Continue reading “2016 Alliances & Partnerships”

Why “Jersey Shore” SUCKED This Season

I’ve been writing my critique/roundup/recap series about MTV’s television show “Jersey Shore” for quite some time now.

If you’ve been following along, you’re aware that I’ve been complaining (as has everyone else that I know that watches the show) about how it’s been getting worse and worse.

The storylines suck (yes, there are WRITERS on “reality” shows. They’re responsible for deciding which footage gets aired, creatively crafting a character, by, for instance, showing every instance they can that make him or her look like a stone-cold IDIOT and deleting all the evidence that this person is actually very smart, but just does stupid things once in a while). The content sucks. What they choose to focus on sucks. What they choose NOT to focus on sucks.

I’ve also been trying to figure out WHY Jersey Shore has been so worthless recently. Continue reading “Why “Jersey Shore” SUCKED This Season”

Content / Production Value / Popularity

In the internet video game, there are lots of ways to call attention to yourself, your product or your website. Kfir Pravda writes:

“And we didn’t talk about audio and video productions. Yes, you can sit in-front of your webcam and talk. But unless you are extremely attractive, or funny, or interesting, no one will watch your stuff besides your mom and friends. Not necessarily a bad thing, but let’s set the expectations. And hey, being interesting, attractive, funny, interesting – doesn’t it sounds just like creating content in every other medium? Yes it is! The fact that your content is online doesn’t mean it can be crappy. People will notice if it is crappy. Really. Most people don’t care if they get their content from their laptop or TV – they just want good content. So all this Web 2.0 myth that everyone can just put his or hers content online and immediately people would watch it is far from being true.”

This is absolutely true. Even having good content doesn’t make you exempt from creating a pleasant, immersive environment for your viewers. Unfortunately, a lot of internet video isn’t made with the viewer in mind at all. It’s made with MONEY in mind, specifically, being CHEAP with money and not actually caring about the QUALITY of the video they produce AT.ALL.

Here’s the problem with internet video…. When someone puts a video on youtube, for instance, you can trace the IP, but you have no information about the person AT THAT IP that clicked on the video. This means you can’t prove demographics. If you can’t prove demographics, you can’t sell advertisements to companies, because there’s no guarantee that men between the ages of X and Y that own lawns and might buy lawn mowers are watching this particular video or show. This means the only way you can sell ads is by impressions, basically using a shotgun tactic and saying “This show gets 300,000 downloads a day… SOMEBODY in there has to be of value to you”. Of course, there are banner ads and sponsorships, but I’m talking about specifically advertising on individual videos. You can do pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll… Either way, you can’t get the big money from potential advertisers because you can’t prove WHO’S watching your show.

This means that video shows have to rely on revenue sharing or generalized, group advertisement plans that you can opt in or out of. There are lots of studies that show that neither of these generate much $$$ unless you do something that goes viral and gets millions of hits. The odds of doing that consistently are slim and none… and slim left town.

This means that in general, people aren’t getting much ROI from posting video to the internet. This is why the focus changes from creation and “production value” to ‘The Bottom Line’. The Bottom Line is to spend less than you get back from revenue sharing and other opportunities to have your videos made. This is how we end up with situations of people creating video that’s total and absolute *GARBAGE* that somehow makes it to the internet attached to a company’s brand. The company is more interested in NOT PAYING for the video they get than outputting good videos and receiving respect and accolades for their accomplishments. THEN, when they get dragged through the mud by someone who chooses to point out the obvious fact that the Emperor has no clothes on, they wonder how this happened to them. :/

Actually, there’s another term that comes into play here. It’s called UGC, which stands for User-Generated Content. Essentially what this means is that people not associated with your company upload video that they’re hoping will become part of your show. Rob Czar & Corinne Leigh make fantastic use of UGC in their show “Thread Heads” (ThreadBanger.com). Their fans are inspired by watching Rob & Corinne’s episodes and send their own footage in to the show. Sometimes, this is just them showing what they made, and sometimes, they create their own how-to videos. This is the way UGC is supposed to work and is a demonstration of what happens when viewers join an interactive internet community and become not only fans but passionate subscribers.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t know the difference between UGC and *GARBAGE*. The reason UGC looks the way it does is because THERE.IS.NO.BUDGET. None. Whomever did that did not get paid a dime to make the video and then uploaded it to youtube or wherever for free. Also, the UGC creators do NOT come with the stamp of approval of the company’s brand. The indication is clearly that “These are fans of ours that potentially know NOTHING about video at all that wanted to participate in our show. We appreciate what they’ve done and will post their videos in this episode”. This is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from stamping someone with your brand’s seal of approval and then letting them release garbage.

The first problem is that your brand appears to have ZERO taste in video creation. None. No guidelines were set. Nobody had to approve the videos before they went on your site. There’s no minimum quality requirement to post videos under your brand’s name. Clearly, this is a horrible opinion for people to have of you and your company. This also comes back to budget, because clearly, you didn’t pay anyone to EP (Executive Produce) your show. If you don’t have any EPs and you don’t have any producers that know what they’re doing when it comes to video and ESPECIALLY if you don’t have any EDITORS that might be able to salvage something out of the UGC-esque garbage you’ve selected people to produce, doing video might not have been a good idea. Stick to audio next time.

Second, your company looks CHEAP. It’s obvious that in your efforts to create video for the internet, you’re not willing to put one red cent into the production, because it looks exactly that same as all the other made-for-free video that’s on the net, whether it was shot by an elementary school student or a soccer mom watching her kids from the sidelines. The problem with this is that nobody else is going to want to put videos on your site alongside who KNOWS what other garbage productions are coming down the line? Also, this is known as half-stepping… Getting involved with something, but not wholeheartedly. Another poor look for your brand.

Third, you’re insulting your audience. Outputting garbage video is the equivalent of having a store with desirable merchandise in it and letting the letters fall off of your store front… or the letters don’t all don’t light up… It’s like “No… We’re not going to respect YOU, the viewer by offering you an entertaining or immersive experience….. But come in and buy, ANYWAY!”

The argument against production value in online video is that “Content is King”. They want you to focus on what’s being said… Not that the framing is off… Not that the sound is horrible… Not that the people drone on and on and on and on and on incessantly… Not that the graphics abruptly smash on and off the screen… Not that the company was too cheap to buy a tripod so the video shakes around like Saving Private Ryan. Again, that’s what AUDIO’s for. Make a nice .mp3 file, upload it and call it a day. Video is supposed to ADD to the experience, not SUBTRACT from it. Worst-case scenario, do it like when the news has a correspondent on the phone from another country. Put a decent-looking still frame on the screen of the subject of the video and let the audio run under that.

The reason companies continue to output garbage is because their hits are coming neither from content nor from production value….. Their hits are coming from *popularity*. There’s no reason to do ANYTHING decent when it comes to video because the people tuning in are already fans of the people making the videos. You can tell this by looking at the comments, which are invariably positive and don’t mention ANYTHING about the quality of the video itself. There are only two reasons this would happen. Either comments are being edited/removed or, as Kfir stated above, the only people showing up to the broadcast are your friends and family. That’s all well and good as long as you have THOUSANDS of friends. :/

So, that seems to be the key to internet video these days. Play to the bottom line by neglecting quality and treating video like it doesn’t need to be entertaining OR even *watchable*. Draw people to the show through popularity, and if your product’s garbage? Who cares? You already increased your page view and video play statistics to sell to the advertiser….

A job well done. :/

~Bill Cammack

Twitter: BillCammack
Social Media Category: billcammack.com/category/social-media
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Interview with Eric Rochow of Gardenfork.tv

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Eric Rochow, the creator and producer of Gardenfork.tv, his “internet show” or “videoblog”.

What is Gardenfork?

Gardenfork is an internet video show – iTunes video podcast about cooking, gardening, and other stuff. Other stuff can include car repair, or how to drop tree with a chainsaw. Its very eclectic; for example I’ve been doing a series of shows on BBQ, stopping at places whenever I can and interviewing BBQ experts, but then I’m also working on a show about how to repair cracks in your basement walls.

You can watch the show on our website: http://gardenfork.tv or subcribe to it through our page on iTunes.

Why do you do your show?

I’ve always been one of those people who wants to tell people about a neat thing I’ve learned, an interesting fact, a cool gizmo I just read about. This stuff swirls in my head and I’m just driven to want to share what I’ve discovered. Gardenfork is a great outlet for this desire to share information that our viewers, for some reason, like to watch.

And, its just a total blast to do. The viewer feedback is just amazing, and almost instant. Once we post a new episode, we start getting viewers emailing us with comments. The connection I have with the viewers is something you can’t buy.

Here’s a review on viewer posted on the gardenfork page on iTunes:

“Eric Rochow is not a self-promoting, self-congratulatory, larger-than-life celebrity chef. He’s the average guy doing an exceptionally good job putting together a podcast that entertains, informs, and encourages.

From the homey feel of his kitchen to the cutaways to watch the dog chew up a stick or yawn to the occasional multiple retakes as he flubs his lines, you can’t help but to love the show. Eric doesn’t pretend to be anything he isn’t and that is a breath of fresh air in today’s world of highly processed entertainment”

I think what appeals to people is that while I can talk in ‘Web 2.0 speak’ with the best of them, I can also talk about the benefits of a big block Chevy, ( FYI: that’s a specific type of engine produced by GM with dual quad carbs ) or how to keep flea beetles off your lettuce.

“Down to earth” is a phrase I’ve heard a lot when people describe the show. Its me doing a project, and that project may or may not come out they way I intended. I leave in the mistakes, because we’re all human, we make mistakes every day.

How did you get started doing Gardenfork?

I’ve worked in creative fields all my life: video, film, photography, design; and I had pitched several cooking-gardening shows to the lifestyle cable channels. The show ideas were always well received, but because no well known personality was attached to the shows, they weren’t picked up.

Last year I was on the web and ran across a video blog, crashtestkitchen, and the lightbulb went off in my head – I could produce and distribute my own cooking-gardening show – and I didn’t need the cable networks to do it.

Then we had our friends over for dinner one night, and I handed my friend Bill my video camera and said, “We’re shooting a cooking show tonight”. I made puttanesca, which is a favorite of mine, we had fun doing it, and that energy came through on the video. I had forgotten to turn on all the lights in the kitchen, so the video is pretty dark, so I called that episode “Puttanesca In The Dark with Bill”

How do you choose what to videoblog about?

Basically, whatever I’m doing on the weekend, I try to make a show about it. Last weekend I made Rhubarb Jam and tried my hand at canning, so we shot that. It was great. Sometimes I plan ahead, sometimes its just whatever project needs doing that weekend. Now we get viewer mail asking for shows on specific topics, like building a grape arbor, so I’ll do that as well.

I have to replace the clutch in my truck soon, so that will be the subject of a two part show. You can’t show how to change out a clutch in 8 minutes.

What’s your background? How do you know how to do all this stuff? 🙂

My parents are born and bred New Yorkers, my grandfather was a buliding super in the Bronx, but I grew up mainly in Wisconsin. We did a lot of hiking, fishing, hunting. When something broke, we didn’t call the repairman, we figured out how to fix it.

When I was 14, my father bought my brother and I a 1949 Ford Pickup. It was in pieces. We learned about cars by putting one back together. At the same time I started gardening, and when I moved back to NY, I started cooking.

I now divide my time between Northwest Connecticut and New York City, both of which are fertile ground for many episodes of gardenfork.

Is producing Gardenfork.tv paying your bills?

Not yet, but in the future that is a very real possibility. More and more advertisers are moving to the web, and gardenfork viewers are a niche audience that certain advertisers very much want to connect with. The advertising wont be obtrusive, it will be along the lines of how PBS thanks its sponsors, with short pre-roll and post-roll clips.

In the very near future, your TV and your computer will be one appliance, its the ‘convergence’ everyone has been talking about, its finally happening. Gardenfork is part of this convergence of traditional TV and the Web. I wear the “media disruptor” label proudly.

Gardenfork has also helped me in business, as my multimedia company, choplogic, is now helping corporations create their own internal and external video blogs, text blogs, and community sites. My wife calls me “Husband 2.0”

Going forward, we are also in pre-production on a new internet video show, Real World Green http://realworldgreen.com, which is about practical things you can do to lower your impact on the earth. The goal is to appeal to viewers who may not relate to the current crop of ‘green’ programming that’s out there, our emphasis is on practical; less talk, more about things you can do.

Thanks Eric, and good luck with Gardenfork / RealWorldGreen! 😀

Bill Cammack • New York City • Freelance Video Editor • alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack

EMS Episode 96: Stacy Morrison @ BlogHerBiz ‘07

Click here for Quicktime Version & Embed Codes

Redbook Magazine editor-in-chief Stacy Morrison discusses progressive approaches to advertising.

Closing Keynote: Is the Ethos of the Social Media World Changing How We Conduct Business Online and Offline?

Lisa Stone moderates this discussion about whether corporate leaders are seeing and leveraging more ideas generated from the outside in and from the bottom up as they lead their household brands into the future. Lisa is joined by iVillage President, Debi Fine, Google VP of Search Products and User Experience Marissa Mayer, Redbook Magazine editor-in-chief Stacy Morrison and WashingtonPost.Newsweek Interactive CEO Caroline Little for the discussion.

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