Saturday, April 08, 2006

Video Sites Breed Like Rabbits (TechCrunch)



Here's an interesting blog article about a new entrant into the online video arena called JumpCut. The posts are as interesting as the article, which is titled "Online Video Sites: Breeding Like Rabbits." JumpCut's "about" page explains itself, but the demo is where you really get a feel for this tool.
I'd say that JumpCut is more than a video sharing site, it's a place where you can draw from the creative assets of friends and strangers, and edit from the web (vs. tradtional at hom).client-side software (like the one you're using

Broadcast is an Artifact, says Wharton... Increasingly Irrelevant in the Digital Broadband Age

"Over the next decade, the idea of video content being limited to a single time and device will become quaint. Broadcasting, as we know it, is an artifact of historical limitations on distribution, which are increasingly irrelevant in the digital broadband age."

This is an interesting quote from Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor Kevin Werbach. Werbach's quote is part of recent article from Wharton titled Prime Time No More: The Television Industry Struggles Against Digital Distribution Upstarts."

Additional Snippets:
>>> Individually, these technology companies aren't going to upend broadcasters anytime soon. Collectively, however, they could undermine the business model that media companies have relied on for years.
>>> "Broadcast TV has been telling you what to see, when you see it and how you see it," says Gayton. "Technology has changed all that forever."
>>> "Technology won't fundamentally change creativity." In that respect, the entertainment production companies are still in the driver's seat even though their distribution models are in flux, he argues. It is still uncertain, however, whether "content will [remain] king," a mantra that was touted in the late 1990s. These days, he adds, "functionality will be a key part of it. Technology brings the functionality."

The Self Indulgence of Blogs

I think this well captures the self indulgence of blogs.

Keeping Revver.com Fresh for Return Visitors

So one of the problems Revver has had is the "what to do about the homepage" issue. The "rating" feature has been buggy for a while. The idea of a "most watched" algorythm is great for new visitors, but is painful to the regular visitors (since it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy). And Revver hasn't yet divided its videos into content areas (funny, weird, music). That's why I created CubeBreak, but it's tough keeping it fresh without a technology back-end. The tagging on Revver is helpful, but it's not the only answer.

So here's a new approach to keeping the homepage content fresh and good:
1) Reduce the real estate on the homepage dedicated to "most watched." My guess is that a significant portion of the traffic to Revver.com is made up of repeat visitors (or at least will be). We want fresh stuff.
2) Create a fresh/popular section that would be technology driven (as opposed to the Editor's Pick), and have it based on some of the following criteria. I would change the weighting periodically so this isn't manipulated by content owners:
-What percentage of the time was the video viewed in its entirety (ad frame served)? That tells us that the video was interesting. Exclude any video under 5 or 10 seconds.
-What rating did the video get? Don't put too much stake in this because few people vote and it's easy for a content owner to drive this number up.
-How many "send to a friend" activations did the video get?
-What kind of traffic is hitting a video from outside sites? That's an indicator of good content, because other sites are syndicating it.
-How many people viewed the video in the first day or two? This tells us that there's an interesting title, subject matter or thumbnail.
3) Dedicate someone at Revver the responsibility of updating the "Editor's choice" awards daily-- and rotate the role for diversity. Archive previous ones so new people can dig back at the best, but the repeat visitors have an incentive to return to www.Revver.com to see what the editor's like.
4) Even better- do you remember when Blockbusters would have "staff picks" in a special section of the store? I loved that. Chances are you, as a customer, identified with the taste of at least one of the staff members. Give Revver employees (or content providers) a "best picks" section that they can easily update. Reward the ones that manages to attract the most traffic to their section- it means their taste is consistent with Revver viewers, and they're attracting traffic and ad clicks.

Whatya think? Blog on, bloggers.

Friday, April 07, 2006

From Phone Video to Website: Cute Lil' Stickam


Here's an interesting little tool called Stickam that lets you upload up to 500MB of video from your webcam or video phone and post it to your site. I actually like the cute lil' logo almost more than the technology...

For more information, see stickam (see website or see blog with example.

I might try it out on my new webcam if I can get my kids off our new eMachines for 5 minutes. Dang thing isn't Mac compatible.

P.S. Aquadad is going out of town next week, so get ready to see how poorly I spell (he's been my proofer).

Revver in the News

Red Herring lists Revver as finalist. Revver's first national publicity?

VideoSift- best videos from YouTube and Google

One way to avoid getting lost in YouTube or Google Video is to rely on the good folks from VideoSift to scour web videos for you. I like the site's simple, community feel. Unfortunately, they don't accept Revver videos. Guys- it's so easy to grab the video player from Revver's videos (see how I do it on the homepage of CubeBreak). Yes- flash is a preferred format but Revver uses Quicktime to keep the single ad frame at the end. From my perspective this is no obtrusive as you indicate on MicroPersuasion. Plus you'll find more original content as opposed to the very interesting (but copyright infringements) like the Muppet clip you posted recently -- which I love.

Anyway, neat site.

iFilm: the Antithesis to YouTube

Since I just ranted about YouTube, I feel like I have to point out some significant differences between iFilm and YouTube. Now let me be clear that I've got a love-hate relationship with iFilm. I once stopped eating or going to the bathroom for a few days because I was so addicted to iFilm. Then I got so annoyed by all the ads, I gave up. And this was pre-broadband so half my time was spent waiting.

But here's where I'm intrigued about iFilm, and I think it will coexist with Revver. iFilm is taking a completely different approach than YouTube. Where YouTube takes any video, iFilm is very selective. And iFilm is totally commercializing itself. Here's a great example... today's "video of the day" features a trailor to the Simpsons movie and a mock PSA from "The Office." Is it stuff ripped from TV by some basement dweller in Dayton? No- it's legitimate. In fact, it's paid placement by the networks and film companies. Check out the ads wrapped around this piece from "The Office."

iFilm viewers will eventually realize that they're looking at an ad to see an ad with an ad wrapped around it. But at least the ad in the middle is funny. So I'll be back for more. The marketer in me loves it, and the video-watching nerd in me will tolerate a lot of ads to get a laugh.

YouTube Tries to be Google. Will Get Napsterized.

I have to believe the folks at Google are smiling when they read this Business Week article on YouTube getting another $8 million of venture funding.

While YouTube remains popular, it has copyright issues and no revenue. Sound familiar? When's the last time you went to Napster for music?

YouTube's revenue solution is contextual ads. That's like me trying to make Revverberation an alternative to Oprah. Google's core competency is contextual ads, and Google has more traffic than anyone. The moment Google decides to ad a "video" search to its homepage is the day YouTube will be Napsterized.

Here's a distinction between the video scenario and the audio-sharing scenario. The copyright issues are similar, but I would predict that only 10% or less of online videos will move into a "pay for view" model that iTunes has popularized. The other 90% will be advertiser funded and free to watch.

For a bit longer, most of us will post to the site with the most traffic. I've got people telling me their MySpace videos get tons of traffic. My response- If I want to be popular I'll set up my videos on TimesSquare with a little monitor and a cardboard sign that says "watch my stuff for free." And a little collection hat that people can put money into (which I'll send off to YouTube each night).

This "popular" viral period will fatigue by the end of 2006. Suddenly the good content providers will choose to post their video content to places in which they can make money- and ONLY post them there. The result? The eyeballs will follow the content. Again- the eyeballs will follow the content. And the ads will follow the eyeballs. That's when Revver will explode and when you, dear Revverberation readers, will tell your friends you found it first.

As a final note to this unusually long post, I'll tell you a brief story about Nalts when he returned from Switzerland around 1984 or 1985 with his first "Swatch." For about 8 months, his classmates asked him if he got it from a gumball machine or a cereal box. Soon, there wasn't an arm at Jesuit High School in New Orleans that wasn't wearing one of 'em.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Contagious Festival (another video contest)

Here's a site Mr. Jarvis discovered... the Huffington Post.

From the site: "Each month, the Contagious Festival features original work by talented designers, activists, filmmakers and comics. You determine who wins the contest by deciding which entries to forward to your friends and which ones to ignore. Then the most popular sites rise to the top of our live rankings and get the attention of our panel of esteemed judges."

To submit, click here.

P.S. Another site I discovered via Huffington... "Rumors on the Internet."

The Easter Bunny Hates You

This is an instant classic... The Easter Bunny Hates You. I just featured it on CubeBreak.com's exclusive new "video of the day."



"Digital" is the poster. One to watch. I hope he's the actual creator of this Bunny bit so that it doesn't get Derevvered!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Most Popular Video Sites (Alexa)

Here's a surprise. When I visited Blinkx for the first time, I automatically assumed that it had more regular visitors than Revver. Not true according to this Alexa research on site rank of internet video sites conducted by Scott from VideoOnTheWeb.

Take this with a pinch of salt because Alexa* isn't actual data, but rather a sample of people that accept the Alexa toobar and agree to be tracked. It's not unlike Nielsen ratings (who, I suspect, will soon be squeezing their way into measuring online videos if they haven't already started).

That said, check out Revver's sweet top 10 spot... well ahead of Blinkx.com:

Alexa Rank Video Website
58 youtube.com
1,652 zippyvideos.com
4,353 bolt.com
4,801 dailymotion.com
7,308 vsocial.com
9,871 vimeo.com
10,560 revver.com
11,112 ourmedia.org
12,222 gofish.com
17,077 grouper.com
19,531 castpost.com
24,779 veoh.com
36,324 clipshack.com
43,700 blinkx.tv
129,129,120 cubebreak.com (kidding)

Note- this may not capture all of the videosites, but most of the larger ones. Thanks, Scott, for the research.

* If you visit Alexa.com you'll see a March 10 story about YouTube's rapid growth in traffic.

I Don't Like My Own Videos Anymore

I've been comforted that my videos were somewhat better than a lot of the garbage on YouTube, and then I discovered this site... ShortFuture.

I imagine there's a place for both amateurs and short-film producers in the future world of online video & television conversion. But check out Blockbusters and you'll see some incredible production quality. You just might get sucked into the 16 minutes.

Note two interesting things per recent Revverberation posts:
1) This is NOT an example of "Citizens Created Commercials (CCC)." I'm willing to bet that Blockbuster financed this, and secured rights to the music. The payoff is too promotional ("Blockbuster doesn't charge late fees anymore.").
2) Note that ShortFuture doesn't give us a Flash option (just Quicktime and Windows Media). A little anachronistic according to this post by Scott Persinger.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Quantity Over Quality

James Jarvis just admitted, publicly on this blog, to having posted a new video everyday for the past 42 days. This is amazing considering each of his 300 plus videos look like they take hours to produce- BTW- see CubeBreak today as he's this week's featured Cube Prisoner. I'm guessing Revver is sitting on about 1,000 hours of his work easily.

It got me thinking... there's something to be said about sheer quantity. I may start going for less polished, more frequent pieces. Maybe just a 8 second video of me farting.

On a more serious note, wouldn't it be great if Revver allowed us to list creators by number of videos? I've often wondered where I rank at about 80 videos. RRR- can you have that new Ajax guy get working on that?

Want to Get Discovered by Hollywood?

Post a video everyday for 21 days. Worked for Sandi Thom, who was discovered by Sony when she performed live on the Internet.

NYTimes Covering Online Videos

One thing I failed to notice about that recent NYTimes piece covering YouTube... A colleague of mine (the one who starred in my best-clicking video ("Hot Sister") points out that it wasn't written by a technologist. It was written by Virginia Heffernan, the Times' television critic.

Another example of the blurring lines between web video and t.v.?

FruitCake Lady

Since this is stolen from television, you'll only find the FruitCake Lady on YouTube. But it's pretty funny stuff.

YouTube's new slogan:
You rip it. We air it. They watch it. We keep the ad bucks. (TM).

More Coverage of "Rise of Online Video"

iMediaConnections is covering the Online Publishers Associations research. Just remember you heard it here first, folks.

Online Video Needs Business Model

"We should start looking now at how to bring convergence, and viable business models, to the hype of online video"

I can't stand reading articles like this that overlook Revver. Revver is part of the answer, but it's still flying beneath the radar.
That said, the author (Sean Carton) does raise an interesting point about television pointing back to the web: "The idea is that viewers watching TV online can have a seamless experience when they feel compelled to buy something they see rather than having to remember a URL and purchase later. It's the ultimate in impulse buying and provides a real and immediately measurable mechanism for advertisers to see the impact their advertising's having."

Monday, April 03, 2006

Revver Hires for "Game Design" and AJAX experience

Thanks to James for finding this Revver job listing. One way to see where a company is heading is to look at who they're hiring. This one is pretty encouraging. You'll also get some insights into how Revver is describing itself to candidates:

Revver is looking for an experienced, senior leader for our Web Application Architecture group. Recently dubbed a company to watch by Business 2.0 and others, Revver is a leader in the emerging market of distributed online video, offering *pro-sumer* and entertainment industry customers an avenue to earning revenue on their digital content. This is a unique and challenging opportunity to work on a site that is a combination of an extensive and complex web-based application for editing video, visualizing media data,matching advertisers with content creators, managing dynamic media collections, and creating a *lean-back* video viewing experience akin to TiVo.

My favorite "bonus" requirement: "experience with steaming video architectures and flash development." We don't want Revver to depend on Quicktime only, and this suggests that they're thinking about the next play. Or at the least thinking about how to make their site more interesting as a portal.

YouTube and E! CyberSmacker $25K Contest

YouTube and E! are partnering to bring a new broadband offering to Internet airwaves called "Cybersmack," a homegrown video inspired by satirizations of pop culture.

Since premiering as a segment in E!'s series "The Soup," E! Networks said "Cybersmack" has become a viewer favorite. Now the network will expand the franchise with a dedicated broadband channel on The Vine @ E! Online in partnership with YouTube. E! has also launched a consumer sweepstakes offering a US$25,000 prize for the best "Cybersmacker."

For more information, see this TechNewsWorld article titled "YouTube Making Friends in High Places."

Pro Amateur Video

I wish I could find this on Revver, but right now I'm linking to iFilm for this short piece called "Disaster Day."

I think we'll see more of these. It appears, at first, to be a very low-budget piece shot by someone's camcorder. But then the special effects reveal it's actually a sophisticated piece.

Click here to see piece.

P.S. The creator, PaulTrillo, indeed appears to be a pro at "motiongraphics":
http://www.xplsv.tv/artist.php?id=72

Mooble Vidcast

I like this Mooble Vidcast for three reasons:
1) It's a good example of a totally low budget videocast.
2) They review interesting sites- among them, Revver.
3) (the real reason) They feature two of Nalts' Revver flicks

It's pretty long...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Is Quicktime Dead?

Here's a bold opinion piece on Flash losing the war to Quicktime, Real and WMV.

I suppose this makes me feel better about Revver's Blinkx.tv partnership since that helps Revver's content get distributed via flash with the tags intact. Good move.

By the way, a few of you posted about my comments on the quality difference between Flash and Quicktime. Here's a nice thread by folks debating flash vs. WMV vs. Quicktime vs. RealMedia.

From the camcorder to paypal... so many steps


You know the drill. Shoot the video. Upload the video to your desktop. Edit it. Compress it. Post it. Wait for it to get approved. Wait some more. Anyone clicking? Paypal?

Here's a company worth spotlighting that's trying to simplify one piece of that. Video Egg is more of a "back-end play" than a portal. The company has a downloadable browser-based tool that facilitates the grabbing, encoding, and posting. Something that would integrate nicely with Revver if they figured it out.

Most of Revver's earlier adopters won't leave their favorite desktop editing software, so I don't see this as much for us as the less sophisticated user that has a camcorder and wants a friend to see it easily.

Here's a nice review of VideoEgg from a blog I just found called "Video on the Web."

P.S. Here's hoping that VideoEgg doesn't take a motion on me for using its logo!