How To Throw A Party

Bill CammackThrowing a party in the year 2010 isn’t what it used to be. We’re all virtually connected now, through Social Media.

Back in the day, it was all about “Come to my party!!! :D” and since nobody knew anybody else online, it was pot luck what happened when you arrived.

That’s over now.

With Facebook, eVite, and a bunch of other sites, you now have access to *ALL* of the information you need in order to determine whether you’re going to a party or not. You know when it is, where it is, how much it costs and who it is that claims they’re going to go. If you need more information than that, you can look up the website to the venue and see the menu, who’s DJing, etc.

Besides the obvious reasons, this is important information because as our Social Media networks expand, we get more invites and there are more overlapping events. As of today, I have 1,905 Facebook friends, which means that if they were evenly spread out throughout the year, it would be FIVE PEOPLE’S BIRTHDAYS, EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE YEAR.

Not every weekend. Each one of 365 days, it would be FIVE PEOPLE’S birthdays and if they all decided to throw parties ON their birthday, probably three out of those five people are getting bumped… ASSUMING that I wanted to party every single day of my life. Continue reading “How To Throw A Party”

Hire an Executive Producer (EP)

2007 International Emmy Award JudgingIf you’re going to make television shows, or at this point, shows for the web… SOMEBODY on your team needs to KNOW. HOW. TO. MAKE. TELEVISION. SHOWS!!! :/

If you cut this corner, your productions will look like trash, and deservedly so. Now you can’t say no one ever told you.

I was minding my business one day and got a call from some so-called television production company to come in and interview with them to create a pilot for this show they were trying to sell. They had received my name from someone I had worked with before, so I decided (against my better judgement, haha) to go see what they wanted.

This was back in the day, so I show up to this so-called television production company with tapes. Beta tapes & 3/4″, just in case they were so primitive as to still be using 3/4″. Of course, it turns out that they had NEITHER. No Beta Decks in-house and No 3/4″ decks. So, that was that for my demo materials. Of course, at this point in time, my demo reel is right here on my site ===> (see sidebar), and companies are encouraged to check it out before wasting my time. Continue reading “Hire an Executive Producer (EP)”

I’m Gonna Be Like Walt!

Walt Ribeiro does a new video every single day… Like “Rejected”:

Meanwhile, I have at the very least *100* show ideas, and I’m not doing ANY of them. Not ONE of them. The last video I uploaded was “Social Media Observations”, almost exactly two months ago:

Formats available: iPod (.mp4) | 720p HD (.mp4)

Out to dinner after Yaron Samid's NY Video 2.0 Meetup with Kfir Pravda, Hadas Cohen, Sylvia Kuyel, Ben Homer, Rob Millis & Hootan Mahallati.

June 24, 2008

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:

Suzy, Oz, Brett, Alana, Adam, Gary & Bill

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.

Meanwhile, my site evolved from a work-based, Emmy Award-Winning Video Editorial site to a documentation of the NYC Videoblogging scene to its current form, which is simply a Bill Cammack fansite.

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.

 
… or hanging out with Masami, Masako & Laetitia:

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?

blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

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:

Bill Cammack 45,000 views on blip.tv

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.

August 22, 2008 – Recent Visitor Map for Bill Cammack dot com

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! 😀

AIIIIITE?

LET ‘EM KNOW!!!

Walt Ribeiro & Bill Cammack
Walt Ribeiro & Bill Cammack

Google Ads

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. 😀

Welcome To The Dead Pool

A lot of shows and sites have been receiving the Fail Whale recently.

Bill Fail Whale

There’s nothing wrong with failing. Happens all the time. “Happens to the best of us”. Sometimes, it’s not actually a failure so much as an inability to meet requirements for continuation. You could have a perfectly successful show as far as getting the job done and delivering on time, but you’re just not getting the numbers of views or members or whatever your sponsors asked you for and your authorization to continue the show (or your funding) gets pulled, and that’s that.

More important than failing is what happens AFTER you fail… What happens to your media? What happens to your site? Did you think about this before you started your show?

I’m thinking about this today because I read Liz Burr’s post “Do Social Media Strategies Go To Heaven?”, where she talks about her WIRED SCIENCE Facebook app and the fact that the show itself was canceled and will not be coming back to PBS. She writes:

“The show’s cancellation has me asking myself, where do social media strategies go when they’re no longer needed? So far, the results of our most significant strategies are:

The Facebook application is especially interesting to me because it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Since launch, the application has been averaging 100 new installs per day. This is with no paid promotional activity whatsoever. I don’t expect this to stop anytime soon, because I don’t think we will reach a ceiling going at this (slow but) steady rate of installation (considering the number of users on Facebook). I designed the application to be viral enough for it to self promote. I suppose I could turn those activities off if I wanted to.

For the blog, we have decided to stop all posting, write our goodbyes and leave commenting open for a few weeks. We will then shut down all comments, and leave the blog up for the sake of Google and reference.  I am not sure what to do with the Twitter account. It essentially was a machine for the blog and site updates, but with no more site updates, what else is there? I suppose the Facebook fan page can stay in place, however we’ll probably put up a notice about the show and site saying farewell.”

So that project is ending, because the show it was supporting wasn’t picked up for a new season. However… The work that was done will remain and fans of the show will have access to it. Basically, it becomes “what it is”. A project that used to be active and is now inactive. C’est la vie. 😀

There’s a Next New Networks show called Bride-O-Rama that went “on hiatus”. 🙂

I can’t find on the page when the episode I embedded was uploaded, but a) I happen to know this particular show was cancelled a long-ass time ago, and b) the first comment is from October 29 so let’s assume it was canceled in late October, 2007 which was 8 months ago. Similar to the pending status of the Wired Science blog, this show remains in suspended animation. The shows are there to watch. The comments are there to read. As a matter of fact, NNN’s still serving recent ads on those pages, so anybody who happens by to check out some of the Wedisodes is helping out NNN’s bottom line.

OTOH… We have FastCompany.TV’s former offering “Global Neighbourhoods”, which as far as I know was canceled this very month, and immediately disappeared off the face of the earth as if it never happened.

Here’s what the “Global Neighbourhoods” creator, producer and host, Shel Israel had to say about it in his post Several Changes:

“That brings us to GlobalNeighbourhoods.TV (GNTV), my other online video program. Unlike WorkFast, GNTV is my baby, is an extension of not just the Global Survey, but Naked Conversations as well. As many of you know, GNTV was launched in March at FastCompany.TV, and–shall we say–had an inauspicious start.

When GNTV launched, I was not quite ready for prime time. If I was an actor, I would say I was prepared for a summer stock script reading. When the curtain went up, I found myself instead at center stage of an opening night on Broadway with some determined hecklers in the audience who managed for a while to distract me.

Most people seem to agree that I got better. After 14 episodes, I think GNTV has proved its value and professionals hungry for insights into how they can use social media in their businesses have found GNTV to have more than a little value.

A few weeks back, however, FastCompany granted my request to take back GNTV, to remove it from their site and to eventually relaunched it o a smaller scale on this site. Primarily, with FastCompany as a partner, the cost of sponsorship was too high for a new program. Here, I can charge a sponsor significantly less dollars and have great flexibility in the sort of deal I can offer. Here, I am the sole decision maker.

GNTV will go on a brief hiatus, until perhaps mid-August. I need to deal with the complexities of AV, production, storing, hosting, compressing, measuring, etc. Because some of these costs can be quite significant, I also need to have sponsorship before I restart.”

To be fair, Shel has posted a set of links to his 14 GNTV episodes he produced for FastCompany.TV on his blog. This means that assuming you knew he had a blog at all and assuming you saw that one post, you know how you can view his videos. I would guess that he Twittered the information and used whatever other publicity outlets he has at his disposal. However… Someone returning to FastCompany.TV will find that his show’s tab has been replaced with a photography show, and short of putting “Shel Israel” or “Global Neighbourhoods” in the search box, there’s no evidence that his show ever existed.

As far as his plan to relaunch his show on his own site… there goes his google juice. His videos will be available in the future at a completely different address on redcouch.typepad.com instead of fastcompany.tv. What’s the point? The point is that people are still hitting my Cory Lidle plane crash video from October, 2006, because they know where to find it from people’s bookmarks, forum posts and blog links.

If I had been moving that video all over creation, from domain name to domain name, people would hit dead links from the google searches and IME, *NOT* do more creative searches to try to find the same content… They just move on to other content that comes up easily under the google search for the same topic.

Similarly, maybe you have the same site… except your video host fell into the Dead Pool. Recently, VideoEgg discontinued its consumer video service and sent out a notice to people that had videos hosted by them that they were going to cease to host them shortly. Also, DivX’s Stage 6 streaming video site folded. The problem with this is that A LOT OF PEOPLE had videos on their sites which were actually embedded FROM VideoEgg or Stage 6. This means that they had to scramble to a) pull all their videos from those hosts, b) find a new host for all of their now-homeless videos, c) upload all their videos to the new host and d) go to every single post and change the embed code from the Videoegg or Stage 6 location to the new host location. If you happen to have over 300 episodes online, that could be a MAAAAAAAJOR DRAG! 🙁

So, that’s another thing to consider when you’re ready to make a show on the internet. While you worry about content and worry about being interesting and worry about being entertaining, and worry about getting sponsored and worry about your show being sustainable and worry about growing your audience and worry about creating surrounding social sites… you ALSO have to worry about what happens when your show lands in the Dead Pool. Do you have ownership of your own content after the fact? Do you have ownership of the site that it’s on? Are you going to have to uproot everything and start all over? If you get a new sponsor, can you easily swap the old one out and continue seamlessly creating content?

Believe me, you want to figure out / negotiate all these things UP. FRONT. and NOT when you realize your show that you thought was going to run forever is going down the tubes.

Welcome to the Dead Pool.

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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Will Your Show Scale?

I’ve been planning on doing a few different shows for quite a while now. Just about everything is in perfect position… however, before going forward, there’s an important consideration… scaling.

My friend Tyme White is always yakking about scaling. “How does it SCALE?” “That’s not going to SCALE!” blah blah blah blah blah…… Unfortunately (fortunately?) she’s right IF you’re looking at your show being a success from when you’re still in the early planning stages.

The way I’m going to define scaling for the purpose of this article is the ability to grow your show, social site, whatever. Just GROW it. Increase your membership. Increase your viewership. Improve your google rank. Get more people interested. Receive more UGC (User-Generated Content). Get more page hits…..

The reason scaling is important… Rather, the reason that YOU should consider your project’s ability to scale is that you might be broadcasting to a niche market. Let’s say, for instance, you want to make a show about DiY Clothing (DiY = Do it Yourself). There are only going to be a certain number of people interested in making their own clothing. A segment of that population watches videos on the internet. A segment of that population will be aware of your show. A segment of THAT population will like your show and recommend it to other people and/or come back and watch it again. A segment of THAT population will become ‘passionate’ about your show and become your core fans.


Threadbanger.com => Rob & Corinne, Justin & Marissa
That’s great for a start, but once you have an audience, what do you do next? How do you get MORE audience? Can you get more? ARE THERE any more people that don’t know about your show already that might be interested? How can you find them? How can you get them interested? What can you change about or add to your show that will reel in an entirely new set of passionate, core fans?

I remember when I became aware of / fascinated by the concept of scaling. I was hanging out in Bed, Bath & Beyond…. I know, I know. It wasn’t my fault. Blame it on Dan McVicar. :/

Bill Cammack & Dan McVicar
Bill & Dan

Anyway… I’m hanging out by the checkout line, and there’s this endless stream of people slowly making their way to the register to pay. So I start imagining how many people are passing me, and it occurs to me that it’s A LOT! 😀 Then it occurs to me that more people passed me in the last 5 minutes than the total number that subscribe to my show in iTunes. :/ THEN, it occurs to me that if I stood there all day, the number of people that passed me would be greater than the number of people that subscribe to many popular, established internet shows. What I took away from that contemplation was that even if you’re considered popular within your own space or echo chamber, there are still more people to reach…. A LOT more people.

One of the most successful internet video shows that I’m aware of is Rocketboom. In 2006, each daily episode was being downloaded ~300,000 times. Even with numbers like that, comparisons were being made to cable television shows, not network shows, which count their viewers by millions. Recently, this show called “Quarterlife” got booed off the stage for ‘only’ pulling in 3,860,000 viewers on NBC… Obviously more than ten times the daily Rocketboom viewership.

Of course, none of this means anything to people that are expressing themselves by putting video on the internet and have no interest in numbers, stats, revenue-sharing, sponsorships, etc. For those that do care, and whose show’s future may very well depend on scaling, it’s important to consider the “what if?” of potential success.

Actually, before you figure out whether your show is scalable, you need to figure out if your show is SUSTAINABLE, which is an entirely different issue. For the most part, there are no “seasons” in internet-show-biz. It’s a new week… You need a new show. Period. Whatever your cycle is… daily, weekly, monthly… you need to come up with a concept that you can produce consistently and deliver on a regular basis. If you can’t do that, scaling’s useless because your viewers will drift away due to lack of output on your part.

So, do like Tyme does… “Ask NOT, Will it Blend?… but Will it SCALE?”

Network-Quality Series Developed For The Internet

Chuck Barney, of the Contra Costa Times posted an interesting article on freep.com today, entitled “‘Quarterlife’ ready for Internet debut“.

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.

Caroline McCarthy, a CNETNews.com staff writer (c/net: the social), previewed the first six episodes of “Quarterlife” and is quoted in the article as saying:

“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.

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

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

YouTube Sponsors Rocketboom

According to NewTeeVee, Rocketboom is launching a new sponsorship system today, with the first participant being YouTube.

Andrew Michael Baron, who has been publicly opining about new models for monetizing online video, announced today his pioneering video show Rocketboom is launching a sponsorship system, with YouTube being the first participant, starting tomorrow.

They also link to Andrew Baron’s personal blog, Dembot, where he gives some of his personal views and insights on how Rocketboom arrived at this sponsorship model.

Congrats to Drew, Kenyatta, Joanne & Ellie. Keep up the good work! 😀