Ultimately.. I get paid because I can do things other people can’t do. Period.
So, The other day, I go to lunch with a friend of mine who isn’t into Social Media. I start showing him my personal fansite, my business site, Facebook, Twitter / TweetDeck, blip.tv, YouTube, Tumblr, Ustream, IRC, Skype, iChat, so then he goes:
“So how do you make money with all this stuff?”
So I laughed a little, because I knew I had a long, LONG explanation ahead of me. 😀
Roxanne & Shane, founders & owners of Bare Feet Studios & Beachwalks.tv have been consulting and in the internet industry a lot longer than I have and I was fortunate enough to receive some vital coaching from both of them concerning Time, specifically relating to being a freelancer.
Rox & Shane did their own show, Beachwalks.tv, but what I didn’t know at the time was that they were also very, very, VERY busy with their consulting business where they have 12 years of experience working in internet technology, streaming media, audio & video podcasting, new media creation and consulting, content management systems, event production, and public speaking.
Fast Forward to March 2007, and I accompanied Rox to NYC’s BlogHerBiz ’07 conference. We were filming or attending discussions all day, which probably amounted to 6 or 8 hours, tops, before we shut the productions down and got ready to socialize for the rest of the evening.
Lisa Stone & Marissa Mayer @ BlogHerBiz ’07
When Rox turned her computer on, she said something about having 80 emails since she had last checked this morning. I remember laughing at that, thinking “ha ha, you have all this spam/bacn to get rid of, hahaha” To my shock & horror, I found out she had 80 actual legitimate BUSINESS emails, with more coming in.
At the time, I was probably only getting 30 emails a day… like, meaning in a 24-hour period… and those were mostly garbage. There was something about Rox’s email situation that told me to pay attention, because I was looking at my future. We headed to the socializing events with both of us knowing that by the time she returned from having a good time (and, less importantly, business networking at the same time), even MORE email would be stacking up… Continue reading “Time, Business & Handouts [Time, Part 1]”
I just read this article by Sarah Lacy where she describes part of her journey into becoming a brand and then attempting to leverage her new positions. The pivotal paragraph for me was:
Sarah: That take-on-the-world morning, I was having coffee with Steven Levy, then of Newsweek, now of Wired, who challenged this whole idea of whether this “Sarah Lacy” brand was actually translating into things that mattered, like book sales, money, something real and tangible, or whether it was a just smokescreen of hype. And I granted his point. I’ve long been dubious of Internet celebrity’s staying power. It seems the Internet famous hit that moment where they’re on the Today Show, and just about to close a deal with ABC or HBO or pick the big money, you’ve-made-it acronym, but it never really materializes.
I’ve watched this happen several times since I entered the scene in 2006. Internet Celebrities attempting to take their game to the next level. The first, and most obvious example from the paragraph above being Amanda Congdon, formerly of Rocketboom fame, who went on to do Amanda Across America and then a derivative show for ABC where they attempted to emulate Rocketboom, but severely overproduced Amanda, stomping the life and fun out of the personality that she had brought to the Rocketboom anchor chair AND forcing 30-second pre-roll advertisements that had lots of people clicking off the site before they ever got to Amanda’s performance.
Another example would be Lisa Donavan (LisaNova), who went from YouTube to MADtv and then back to the internet. Then, there’s Ze Frank, who made up his own brand of show and viewer interaction, soared to immense popularity, deliberately quit his show after a calendar year and last I noticed, was on the lecture circuit.
Granted, that was my 315th episode in two years, but still, I didn’t stop because I needed a break. I stopped because something that I couldn’t place my finger on wasn’t making sense.
I met Walt on May 16th, 2008 @ MashBash NYC. He left the afterparty right before we took this picture:
At some point, I became aware that Walt is extremely enthusiastic! hahahaha He really seems INTERESTED in things, and PSYCHED! 😀 I then found out that he does a show about music, teaching people about music via the internet. Of course, one of my myriad shows was about music, so I watched a few episodes.
This is when I realized that Walt was outputting so much material. Doing a daily show is really amazing. I already knew how to do it, but at least three things were stopping me…
1) I wanted to make shows instead of, let’s call it, “video documentation of events”, which calls for a lot more production and a lot more time spent to output each episode.
2) I didn’t have consistent crew to do an ensemble show with, and didn’t feel like doing a show featuring mainly myself.
3) I didn’t have a reason at the time to do a show about myself.
I used to do videos about stuff that I do, like visiting the World Trade Center (Ground Zero) with my friend Joey in the middle of the night, when we were on our way to the club:
Nov 18, 2006 – Passing by the 911 memorial @ the World Trade Center
In N.Y.C., even if you drive somewhere, it doesn’t mean you’re going to find parking anywhere near your destination. On the way to the club from where we parked, we stopped by the World Trade Center Memorial location.
Click the arrow in the bottom right corner to change from English subtitles to Japanese, powered by Dotsub.com.
But that stuff was different from “shows” to me. It was just “what was happening”, and I happened to film it. The ‘problem’ with doing shows is that you get caught up in a lot of minutia that REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY doesn’t have JACK to do with the videos you’re making… such as:
1) Who’s watching this?
2) How do I monetize this?
3) How do I know who my audience is?
4) How do I attract and grow my audience?
5) How do I get sponsored?
6) How do I let people know about the show(s)?
7) How do I get UGC? (User-Generated Content)
8) What topic can I / do I want to blog about consistently?
So here comes Walt, 🙂 Sitting down in front of his video camera or iSight or whatever, and just KICKIN’ IT. How simple is it? He doesn’t need extra crew. He has a goal (teaching people music). It’s something he’s enthusiastic about and something he does naturally. The show doesn’t revolve around gimmicks or graphics. The show revolves around what Walt has to offer to whomever’s interested in watching.
I named this season of my videoblog “Delusions of Grandeur” because you have to have them to assume that ANYBODY is watching your material. Meanwhile, one of my four (4) videoblogs on blip.tv recently surpassed 45,000 views:
WAY more importantly… I’ve become aware over the season of quite a few people that I know personally or that I’m related to that are subscribed to my blog in one format or another. I’m going to make a separate post about that, but it makes an immense difference when you personally know someone… ANYONE that you’re communicating to through your articles and self-expressions on the net. It makes a MAJOR difference, and now I know to whom I’m speaking when I do my “documentation of events”. I’m also glad when people that I’ve met IRL go back to their home cities, states or countries and “tune in” when I’m doing my thang. It’s cool and all that that people read some of my blogs essentially around the world, but a few of those markers belong to people I know, Like Rox in Hawaii or Phil in the UK or Masami in Japan.
So.. What does all this have to do with Being Like Walt? 😀 He’s found what he wants to do, and he’s doing it. It’s Quick & Dirty and serves his intended purpose. He’s doing what feels good TO HIM and doing what HE wants to do. Would he love to have his own television show? Maybe he would and maybe he wouldn’t. Until that time, he’s doing HIS thing, and I’m gonna do MINE. 😀
So what’s the Q&D show going to be about? Nothing. Everything. Whatever. hmmm… I guess that spells “new”. Anyway… Cheers to Walt for his enthusiasm and for leading by example, and let’s get this show on the road! 😀
I’m experimenting with Google Ads. I don’t actually LIKE them, so this experiment will probably be rather short-lived. 😀
I used to use them a long time ago, but then I stopped. The general point was that they were poor-looking and at the same time generated close to *ZERO* revenue, hahaha. I think that when I went to reactivate my account, I had accrued like $10 or like $9.50 or something. Meanwhile, I could have stood in front of McDonald’s opening doors for people and requesting change from them as they left the establishment and made that much in one day…. well… actually in just a couple of hours.
The reason I decided to bring them back was that I get a lot of random traffic now. Most of the traffic I got before was from my posting links to social media sites, so it didn’t make sense to tell people “Come to my site to look at advertisements! 😀 “. At this point, most of my traffic comes from Google, and they tend to bounce pretty quickly, so if they decide to bounce to an ad link, that’s fine with me. 😀
Still, I didn’t want the ads to show up to people who ‘normally’ browse my site, like actually going to my home page and seeing what’s on it. For that reason, I took Tyme‘s advice and implemented the ads in my single post code.
I decided to use link units instead of ad units, because I could get link units that were only 15 pixels high. The “thinnest” ad units I could get were 60 pixels high.
I immediately noticed a problem with relevance… Not that adsense was having trouble parsing the text on the page, but because I talk about so much different stuff in my posts. I don’t even TALK about cars, yet they were posting automobile links on my pages. One of my titles included the name “Nichelle”, so all the ads on the page were for “Helle” shoes or something. So, without the ability to specifically say “give me these type of ads”, there’s an incredible relevance ‘problem’. They would probably work better if my posts were only a couple of paragraphs long and about specifically one topic.
In general, I’m not a fan of random advertising anyway. I’ve been saying for probably a year now that product placement and sponsorship is the way to go. This is another reason these ads will probably have to vamoose immediately. 🙂 I don’t enjoy seeing mentions of items that don’t have anything to do with anything on my pages. I also can’t imagine why anybody would want to click on the random words they come up with. Then again, I’m not aiming them at ME, I’m aiming them at people who randomly search through google for topics they want to read about at that point in time.
I guess part of the experiment is to gauge the worth of random google ads vs sponsored ads… which is practically ZERO since you’re guaranteed to get paid whatever amount by a sponsor by the nature of the relationship. Google ads are like a gamble. “I DEFINITELY show your ads, and I MAYBE get a couple of cents out of the deal”. 🙂
Anyway, it’ll be an interesting experiment. I’m up to 83 page impressions since this morning, with ZERO clicks and ZERO page CTR, hahaha. I’ll most likely be done with this experiment when I wake up tomorrow morning. 😀
Television is about advertising… NOT entertainment.
The product is YOU, the viewer.
The networks provide you to advertisers, grouped together usefully for the advertiser’s purposes.
The advertiser pays to get their carefully-crafted commercials in front of a lot of people that might accept the message and buy their product or service.
The networks pay production companies to create programming that gets a certain demographic to sit there and watch the commercials. The production company pays editors and talent. Sometimes, the network has their own editors, to make sure the quality is uniform across certain shows, like news programs.
So the advertisers pay the network to pay production companies to pay crew to create a show that gets the viewer to watch the network so they can see the advertisers’ commercials and buy their products or services and give them more money back than they spent on the commercials.
Meanwhile, cable companies get money for bringing the signal from the networks to your house, so they get to sell advertising on top of the advertising that’s embedded in the actual shows.
Ultimately, the product is *YOU*, and the goal is to get you to hand over your money in exchange for the entertainment of television.
According to the article, “Quarterlife”, a series by Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick (creators of the hit TV series “Thirtysomething”) is being touted as the first time a “true, network-quality series” has been produced directly for the internet.
Herskovitz is quoted as saying “It’s a very risky, expensive gamble, that’s for sure”, and the article later mentions:
While each hour of “quarterlife” — at $400,000-plus — costs substantially more than the typical online production, the overall budget for the project is “way less than half” of a typical network drama. Also, the crew is much smaller, and they’re forced to shoot on location because there’s no rent money for soundstages.
I’ll assume that an “hour of Quarterlife” refers to finished running time of the series. They have made (or are still in the process of making?) 36 eight-minute “webisodes”. The article doesn’t state their release schedule… daily? weekly? Either way, it’s 288 minutes of finished material, which is 4.8 hours, which @ 400k per….. comes out to One Million, Nine Hundred and Twenty Thousand dollars.
$1,920,000 = 36 x 8-minute shows? Hmm… maybe I calculated incorrectly… Let me try it a different way. 😀
How about if we break it down to minutes instead? 😀
While each hour of “quarterlife” — at $400,000-plus — costs substantially more than the typical online production…
(60 minutes = $400,000) / 60 => (1 minute = $6,667)
(1 show = 8 minutes) x $6,667 => (1 show = $53,336)
(1 season? = 36 shows) x $53,336 => (1 season = $1,920,096)
Hmm… ok… Good… ~$7,000 / finished minute for a “true, network-quality series” being produced directly for the Internet. I, for one, will be *VERY* interested to find out what the ROI will be for this project… as will the Yahoo Videoblogging Group, where we often discuss the intricacies of and potential for monetization of internet video. I’m sure the currently striking Writers Guild of America will be paying close attention to how well this project is received on the internet as well… especially for this reason:
The “quarterlife” concept was conceived three years ago as a pilot for ABC. The network rejected it. Instead of bailing on the project, Herskovitz and Zwick revamped it for online purposes. But they’re quick to emphasize that this isn’t just another case of producers dumping a failed pilot onto the Internet.
If ‘Quarterlife’ works out, financially… that means an entire world (literally) is opened up to television professionals as an alternative method to put bread on the table or even to have entire successful careers based on creating online content.
“Obviously, it couldn’t have come at a better time for the show,” McCarthy says about the strike. “It might appeal to some people who are looking for something new to watch and are ready to change their viewing habits.”
This is an interesting point, considering many people watch television from their computers already, and some people don’t watch television at all, choosing instead to derive their entertainment from online sources such as web sites, aggregators and rss feed readers. If struck shows go into reruns, people may very well turn to online content such as “Quarterlife” merely to receive ‘fresh’ entertainment. While they’re browsing ‘the space’, they might end up checking out Rocketboom or other daily- or weekly-produced internet shows.
Yes… This will be very interesting. I’m looking forward to finding out what a ~$7,000/minute internet series will “feel” like. We can already tell what it will *look* like from the video posted to the “Quarterlife’ site. The show is scheduled to start on November 11th on MySpace, so “tune in tomorrow” for the jump-off, and let’s see if a “true, network-quality series, produced directly for the internet” helps to revolutionize the online media and content creation space.
My excellent friend ActionGirl hung out with me today. We did a dual-channel livecast using ustream.tv.
Livecasting, if you’re not familiar, is one of the newest internet fads, but it’s also NOT new. Technology has advanced to the point that the average joe has the ability to broadcast his or her life effortlessly and without cost (except for the obvious costs of computer, webcam, broadband connection, etc).
Similar to quasi-scripted MSM shows like MTV’s “The Real World”, people now have the ability to leave a camera running and pointed at them as they go about their daily business. Some people livecast from work. Some people livecast from home. Some people livecast on the move with EV-DO modem cards and laptops, like Sarah and Lisa do on justin.tv.
I became intersted in livecasting after watching Drew Olanoff‘s feed from PodCamp Philly. It was fun watching Drew roam the hallways and run into conference attendees and presenters. There was something cool about interacting with this live show that was going on, NOW. 🙂 It was different because you could actually affect the course of the show, assuming the host was monitoring the text chat room. It was different because you could call your friends that you saw in the background and have them come over and talk to you on camera. It was cool because you were receiving information RIGHT NOW, just like everyone that was actually in Philadelphia for the conference.
So I wanted to check it out, and ActionGirl was down to experiment with me….. um…. was down to join me in my livecasting experiment. 🙂
We started out outdoors, utilizing free WiFi in the area. We were streaming about one frame per five seconds. Our video was choppy and our audio wasn’t much better. Some glitch occurred where ActionGirl had bars of wireless signal, yet was unable to connect to the internet at all. Strange. Next, I tried receiving signal via my EV-DO modem card and sharing my internet connection with ActionGirl via airport. That was really slow, but I’ve never tried that before, and I think it was due to my card not connecting properly. I didn’t have this diagnostics entry in my taskbar that I should have had, so I don’t figure the card was functioning optimally at that point.
We retired indoors and used WiFi connections to stream from each of our macbooks. Connection was quick, and I was able to embed both of our streams plus a text chat on one page and run that from my site. I later added our friend Chris’ stream, so we had three simultaneous live streams on the page.
Livecasting is tough to do properly, IMO, without monitoring your chat room(s). I suppose there IS no ‘proper’ way to livecast, since it’s really “anything goes”, but in order to interact with your audience, you have to read what they’re typing to you. If you’re not planning to interact with them, clearly, you don’t have to bother with that. I found myself responding late to comments because while we were saying something, the text chat was scrolling up and I’d have to read up to notice what people said minutes before.
I think the audience is as important as the host… Meaning that if you have the right audience, even if that’s ‘only’ one or two people who actually know you or are genuinely interested in what you do, livecasting can be a fun and rewarding experience. The best times today were when our friends were on, even just for a few minutes, and we got to interact with them and answer their questions. OTOH, when the audience isn’t prime, it’s tough, if not impossible to get revved up to deliver your best ‘performance’.
For me, *teamwork* is key. I’m not interested in doing my own solo livecast. If I know I’m going to be around interesting people or at an event that would be of interest to people I know, then I’m glad to broadcast it. It also helps if you actually like and enjoy the person you’re livecasting with so you know that even if NOBODY shows up, you’re going to have a good time that day. 🙂
Eventually, we called it a night. I felt pretty exhausted by then, actually. When we shut our feeds down, it actually felt strange to me to NOT be on camera. Once we came inside, we were on from around 6pm to 9pm, and even that felt like an eternity. I’m not sure how (or why) people do that during their every waking hour. I guess you have to be the type of person that enjoys random people interacting with you. I suppose some people do it for the fame or notoriety.
I don’t know that there’s going to be a way to monetize lifecasting. I experimented with product placement, including beverages and t-shirts. It’s tough to do well, live, trying to get products in front of a tiny webcam lens in the optimal size, focus and location. Still… A lot of people like to broadcast their lives, and a lot of people like to watch those broadcasts, so we’ll see where this fad takes us next. 🙂
NewTeeVee.com reports that Viacom sued YouTube and Google today over the display of copyrighted materials.
Of course, this makes sense with all the pirated material on YouTube….
Another NewTeeVee article may shed extra light on the situation, since Viacom has signed on to be a content partner with Joost. An amount of your value to a particular site as a content creator or producer is that people HAVE to go to that site to see your content. If people are ripping your videos to YouTube, your effectiveness is diluted, AND _your_group_ doesn’t get any credit for the hits or popularity of your own content. It all goes to the pirate, along with whomever subscribes to that channel in the hopes of finding even more of your content.
I’m still waiting to see what YouTube’s going to do about revenue-sharing with non-professional content creators. I’d like to see what their plan is to monetize the channels of the popular YT characters like Boh3m3 and TheHill88 and LisaNova an even the proven-to-be-scripted Lonelygirl15.
Hopefully, there’ll be money left over for people who are actually creative on YouTube after deals are made to pay off the lawsuits about the blatant and rampant piracy of previously-made, copyrighted content.
A lot of people video blog just because they feel like it. What IS a video blog? or a videoblog or a vlog or…. don’t ask! 😀 There are as many definitions for a video blog as there are _names_ for video blogs. Some people consider any video that’s placed on the internet eligible for the title “video blog”. Most simply, Steve Garfield would say “A video blog is video on a blog”. 😀 So expand your idea of what a blog is to include a video… ANY video, and there you have it.
Does that make someone that has a blog with videos on it a videoblogger? Again, don’t ask! There’s the issue of what kind of videos are on the blog. Is it video of kids falling off of skateboards? A cat playing with a ball of string? A scripted, weekly comedy show? Citizen journalism from the streets? Someone sitting alone in their room talking to their iSight as if it were a real person they were having a conversation with? Is it made by individuals? Is it made by companies that were formed and funded with the sole object of delivering video content on the internet? is it made by a television studio as an afterthought or addition to their actual television shows? Do all of those count equally as “video blogs”, assuming they meet the base qualification of being “video on a blog”?
What about production values? Does the audio have to be good? Does the video have to be steady? Does the editing (if there is any) have to be decent? Does the video have to show something about you or your environment? Does it have to mean something to anyone? Who’s watching it? Friends? Family? People you don’t know that live in other cities, states or countries? What’s your responsibility to your viewers? Do you make videos with the viewer in mind or only yourself, and if they don’t want to watch, they can “change the channel” by clicking on a different link?
See what I mean? 🙂 Don’t ask. Let’s just assume that there’s something called a video blog, and lets assume that it’s “video on a blog” like Steve said.
Now, lets assume that someone has this video blog and they want to make some money from it. They have a few options. They could get sponsored by some group, in which case they are paid to put their show on regardless of how many views/hits/clicks/whatever they get. They could sell advertising themselves and include the ad in their actual video. They could have advertising on their web page and not on the video at all. They could place their video on a hosting site that features revenue-sharing.
If you post video to a revenue-sharing host, the basic deal is that the host makes arrangements with advertisers to pay them to place ads on their site or on their videos. The “sharing” part comes in when the host offers content creators (the people actually uploading the videos) a percentage of the money that the host gets from the advertisers which happened to be generated by a video that that creator uploaded. There are wikis on the technical aspects of this, including “cost per impression” (cpi), “cost per action” (cpa) and “cost per click” (cpc). You might get paid if the advertiser’s ad is seen. You might only get paid if the ad is clicked on by whomever views your video. You _might_ only get paid if someone clicks through AND buys something from the advertiser. Even then, “getting paid” depends on you getting enough credits to get over a certain amount of currency, say $20, because it doesn’t make sense for companies to send out individual checks for 15 cents each to thousands of people.
Once you’ve decided on a host, you need to decide (assuming you GET to decide) how ads are run on your videos. There are several options for this, the basic ones being pre-roll, post-roll and mid-roll.
Pre-roll means that the advertisement comes on before your video plays. You will hope that this video is really short, because people are going to tune out if they decide they aren’t willing to wait through advertisements they didn’t ask to see when they clicked on your video. Then again, that might not matter if you get paid just for showing their ad. Since it’s in the front of the video, the viewer already saw it, so you get paid, right? Well… maybe. It depends on what the host considers a “view”. If “view” means that someone started your video, then you’re good. If “view” means someone COMPLETED your video, and they tuned out because of your pre-roll ad, you lose. 🙂
Post-roll means the ad comes on after your video has played all the way through. The risk there is that the viewer won’t watch all the way through. Once they get to the end, either you get paid when the ad shows up, or you get paid if they click through or you get paid if they click through and buy something.
Mid-roll means the advertisement comes on while your video is still playing. Mid-roll can be absolutely ridiculous, depending on how it’s implemented. I saw a mid-roll ad that took up the whole screen of the video AND replaced the audio like a regular commercial that comes on television. When the ad came back, the video had been running the whole time, and whatever was said during the time was completely lost. It happened to be on an interview show where the accomplishements of the interviewee were being listed. That kind of mid-roll doesn’t work, because they just throw the ad in anywhere. If you don’t care about your content, however, it doesn’t matter. If you weren’t telling a story anyway, and it doesn’t matter to you when sections of your piece are obscured, then it’s fine. As an editor, I can tell you that A LOT OF ATTENTION is paid to where we go to commercial, how many times we go to commercial, how we go to commercial and how we come back to the program from commercial. Throwing up full-video-sized advertisements just anywhere is completely horrible and ruins immersion.
There are other forms of advertising while your video’s being played. There might be visual advertisements that don’t take up the whole screen and don’t obscure audio at all. There might be ads that don’t run on your video but next to your video the whole time it’s playing. These ads might be animated or change every few seconds. I find these types of ads REALLY annoying, because the motion pulls your eye from the video content and ruins immersion. Once again, this choice is good for people that don’t really care if someone’s watching their video or not. If they’re using the video to get your eyes on their advertisements… mission accomplished.
Personally, I’m a sponsorship fan. There’s too much business involved with monetizing video for it to be worth ANY of my time to deal with it. The more time you spend trying to advertise your videos, the less time you spend MAKING those videos. 🙂 I’d rather leave it to the hosting site, set it and forget it. Also, unless you know A LOT of kids that fall off of A LOT of skateboards, you’re not going to be creating consistent viral video…. well… unless you’re one of these video thieves that steal other people’s content and re-post it… but that’s another issue entirely.