Saturday, April 22, 2006

Video on the Web


The other spectrum of the integrated TV/web model I just described was ironically driven home soon after I completed my last post.

I heard a terrifying scream from the other room as my 3-year-old accidentally fallen off his NickJr.com online video game and landed on the homepage, which had streaming video for parents. The horror.

So NickJr is treating its site like a little television station, using all of the best-practices of "The Curse of the Babbling Video Player." We give NickJr a "thumbs up" for integrating short-form television on the website. But a big "thumbs down" for presuming we want to watch it by having it load automatically.

Said Nalts of Revverberation.com, "It's an absolute 'worst practice' for welcoming visitors to your site is to start pushing flash, music and video at them before they feel in control. It's like selling Amway to dinner guests." (You know your ego is getting out of control when you start quoting yourself as a third party).

TV & Web: When the Wall Comes Tumbling Down


We know it's only a matter of time before the artificial walls tumble down between the world of "video on demand" (Comcast, TiVo, etc.) and the world of online video viewing (YouTube, Revver, etc.). Last night I saw an interesting move in the right direction.

I've known for a while that my TiVo can connect with my home network, but I kept buying the wrong adapters and didn't see a lot of value in seeing my desktop photos on my television. Last night I got a notice on my Tivo that tells me these services are getting broader- with an expanded partnership between TiVo and Yahoo. It's possible Yahoo might not even need TiVo for this, or that Comcast or Verizon integrate broadband television and put Yahoo into the dark ages. Still, I'll be buying a TiVo adapter this afternoon, and I hope that I'll soon be able to browse web videos (and the web) on TiVo via my "always on" broadband connection.

Imagine when we're watching each others' Revver videos from a reclined position on the couch or bed- and when they're done we'll use the remote control to click the ad and buy a product (which will automatically ships to our address on file with TiVo). Suddenly 20-40 second videos might not be the model. Maybe we'll see more popular 5-minute videos?

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Suddenly Revver Sucks? Here's the Solution.


"Suddenly Revver sucks. What's with all this home shopper crap?"

(Anonymous Post on Revverberation, April 21 8:28 p.m.).

Okay- Revver is indeed being loaded with ExpoTV content (see previous post). But this isn't the first wave of "content spamming" to Revver. We've seen a lot of people bloat Revver with self-serving or boring garbage. But the solution isn't a cap. For Revver to work, it needs to be a democracy. There will always be good stuff and bad stuff.

The solution is sooooo simple. It's the interface!


Revver has focused on being an facilitator among content providers, advertisers and other websites. It's neglecting it's homepage, and that alone is why Revver's online marketshare is HORRIBLE next to YouTube and others.

So here is my free consulting to Revver...
1) Recognize that your loyalists need you to be a portal not just a facilitation tool. We visit multiple times a day, and your homepage is neglecting us. Even if you aren't trying to be a video portal, you need to be. The market will force it, or look for alternatives.
2) Create a two-phased approach for fixing this.

Phase 1: (Interim solution)
- Sort videos in the "tag" sections by when they're submitted. That way each tag will be a portal into the most recent videos that were tagged with that keyword.
- Provide homepage links to the following sections, and sort all videos by RECENCY:
a. Humor
b. PG-13
c. Weird
d. Action
e. Short movies
f. Artistic
g. Heck-
give ExpoTV a section. Nobody will visit it, though, unless it's searchable by the product that's being reviewed. There's not a market for consumers browsing reviews that are as random as zit cream and electronics.
For more ideas, see YouTube's channel list.

Phase 2: (This will take a couple months)- Get some outside expertise (preferably an interactive agency) to develop a more "sticky" Revver.com. There are a lot of tricks that YouTube has deployed (community potss, groups, channels, etc.), and a little creativity can help make Revver much, much better.
- Consider personalization, but also recognize that the Revverites like the opportunity to browse the most recent stuff. It builds a community. As the quantity grows, we need Revver's help to sort out the stuff we don't care about. Then communities can form around interest area- artistic, weird, funny, etc. And none of us have to sort through someone's home movies of a trip to the Jersey Shore to find some hysterical viral video.
- Tap the Revverbites. We can tell you what we want. For example, how cool would an Amazon.com-like feauture be: "people who liked this crappy Nalts video also liked x." Obviously you need log-in and personalization to facilitate that. But that will give you knowledge of who your Revver regulars are, what they like, and how you can serve them better.
- Test the new user interface with people that you know visit Revver daily (based on log-in data). We'll tell you what we love and what's missing. You can do this for cheap. For a site I'm launching (for the day job) we just spent 2 weeks and about $15K to conduct in-depth interviews with target users. We were amazed by the insights we got, and the site will be much better as a result.

Again I'll maintain that Revver will win if it can combine this pay-for-content model with a decent way of serving the video content. It's not enough to allow someone to post and tag a video, and let other websites worry about serving the videos to the public. The reason there are virtually no news articles about Revver is not just because PR appears dark. It's because a visit to Revver doesn't blow someone away- I'll bet hundreds of reports have visited Revver and decided it's not worth mentioning, because they fail to appreciate the unique business model. And why should they write about a video site that has such little traffic? It's not a story. Some quick fixes will give Revver broad appeal.

Again- follow some of this advice, and you'll have:
a) Satisfied Revver regulars
b) Significantly more traffic
c) More media, which will result in...
d) More traffic
e) The result? More cash for Revver's investors and content contributors

ExpoTV's OverExposure? Not a problem.


Lots of frustrations from the Revver regulars about ExpoTV. I'm not the first to spoof these new pieces, but here's my take below.

Now here's the thing. Believe it or not, ExpoTV isn't a problem. No need to cap them or anyone else. The solution is much simpler. Someone posted that "suddenly Revver sucks." It's fixable, folks. The solution is rather simple. Revver is a democracy- bring on the good stuff. Bring on the crap. There's a very easy way to make it wonderful again. And that's in my next post.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Curse of the Babbling Video Player

Revver, Grouper and other web video players are kindly offering a video player HTML to allow you to place their videos into your site. Basically there are three ways to syndicate other videos on your own properties and you don't have to be a coding genius to do it. In this model you're the "affiliate."
1) Link to the source site. Very retro, but the only way many players let you do it.
2) Insert thumbnail. This is what I usually do on Revverberation and CubeBreak. I love this because it's very small, simple and gives the viewer an instant picture of the content that the creator controls and can refresh. I wish the title of the video was imbedded because I hate retyping them on CubeBreak.
3) Insert an HTML "player." CubeBreak has one of these on the homepage for the "video of the day."

I don't know if you recall, but Revver used to have a very undisciplined player. It would load as soon as the page loaded. So you would show up on someone's blog and all of these video players would start screaming at you at once. Now it's activated by the visitor hitting the window's play button, it generally plays once, it loads the ad and it sits quietly. Grouper, unfortunately, has a more volatile one right now- forgivable since its in beta. So the previous post I inserted the HTML player and it drove me and some loyal Revverberation viewers crazy last night... it wouldn't shut up. I think it even looped. So now it's a link.

Anyway- part of the magic of allowing affiliates to syndicate is a) get the player working well for their site, and b) give them an affiliate fee.

See we're an unofficial Revver blog, but putting the learnings out there for all.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Grouper Video- Competition Heats Up

Oh this is saucy. It's a video spoof of the online video competition. Revver takes one in the head. Ouch.

Here's the video. I tried the framed version but it was buggy when you play it.

We see Google Video, YouTube, Revver, iFilm and a few others... all getting their ass whooped by Grouper. Here's a user forum on this service- I'm not seeing what differentiates Grouper yet, but post away if you see something I missed.

Revver Goes QVC


Suddenly we have nearly 200 videos from ExpoTV. Good stuff if I was looking for product reviews and it was searchable. But to see them dominate the "new" section is a little imposing. Anyone have any thoughts. I did the math... for about every 100 people that read this stuff, about .5 writes something. Cat got your tongue?

007 Zippo Lighter Cam

Check it out. James is running with the spy cam concept. He's kind to attribute this idea to Revverberation, but in fact it was his mention of the Zippo camera that gave me the idea for a video series via hidden camera. Unfortunately, this 007 Zippo Lighter cam is for photos only. But it's only abouy $70.

The video below leaves us with a few questions. 1) What's with the security outfit? 2) How many different faces does MarquisdeJolie have? 3) When are we going to see some secret photos from his lighter cam? 4) Will we start seeing Marqui's "product reviews" on ExpoTV.com?



Here's review of the camera by LetsGoDigital. And here's an even more comprehensive review on the 007 Camera by Gadgeteer.com.

Too lazy to put the technorati tags on this time. Do they do any good?

Revver Profile Sharing: Facilitating Community


In a recent post, a regular Revverberation reader revealed that he'd like to communicate with fellow Revver contributors. However most of us don't reveal our profile information (as noted by a recent anonymous poster) because it's more than we're comfortable sharing.

Revver- can you please allow us to list an e-mail address alone? That way people can contact us, but we don't have to worry about being stalked. I had a friend just yesterday tell me he was a victim of identity theft, but I worry more about some creep seeing my kids and wanting to visit. That's why I keep lots of guns, and I'm pretty psyched to have a next-door neighbor who is a state trouper (and spends most of his home time, oddly, staring out the window).

By the way- there's a fantastic new feature that's coming from Revver (one of the few secrets I've been permitted to see) that will address this better than profile sharing. May even make this blog obsolete!

P.S. In a great moment of irony, the Blogger spell-check feature doesn't recognize the word "blog."

Revverberation Announces 15 Best Consumer-Created FireFox Ads

With no official authority, I'd like to now announce the 15 winners of the 27 user-generated FireFox ads I've seen posted on Revverto date. For more information, check out FireFoxFlicks. If you watch only one, see #14 which is the hands-down winner for me (No better way to set yourself apart than to make your competitors look like annoying dorks). #15 is a close second, and watch carefully for some cool moves by the bear.

1) Cutest kids category
Give Me the Soap: kids clean dad's laptop from virus

2) Most self depricating idiot since my stomach pen tossing bit:
Mr. Dodo: pop-up personified (PanMan Productions)

3) Memorable, catchy tune and likable hippy category:
Kitchen: Guy burns hand to demonstrate heat of FireFox

4) Least commercial but beautiful
Daredevil: Woman discusses her love for surfing.

5) Abstract but moving
Get the Fox: Guy gets pulled from kitchen cabinet to beach

6) Best Australian submission we're not sure why we like
Gary: Gary finally views his site from his home, which wins worst-gardenening award

7) Most satisfying if you've ever had an annoying PC
Burned: Computer catches on fire

8) Best humanization of a pop-up
Pop-Up Proposal: Guys proposal is interupted by pop-up ad

9) Weirdest depiction of the old way of browsing (I want to party there)
Old Explorer: Rushing for a date, couple gets distracted by online noise

10) Best acting
Xraalthraal and John: I had to watch this a few times- Someone find out what else the guy who plays Xraalthrael has done.

11) The one that would have cost more than the whole contest did if Madison Ave made it.
Upgrade: Pop-ups be gone with FireFox- nice music and graphics

12) Funny but not "hah, hah" funny category
Billy's Browser: Guy in absurd situations making his laptop cooler and faster

13) Perfect if you have child (or nephew) between ages of 3-8
Incessent Talking: After listening to her child's non-stop talking, she does a Firefox search of her own to unwind.

14) Handsdown winner- hysterical depiction of competitors.
Wheee!: Human faces spoof competitor browsers. The fox shuts them up.

15) Runner Up:
Singing & Dancing: Fox kicks bear in "coinpurse."


There are lots more, and some other ones worth checking out... an artist paints a portrait of the logo, eskimos melt their igloo with Firefox, etc.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Free Revver Niche For Sale

Okay- we all have our little Revver niches. I'd like to take a page off the playbook of "IDoNothingAllDay" (who will soon pass me as the #8 Revver submitter). I don't think it's exactly legal in some states, which is why I'm offering it to you, dear Revverberation readers, instead of pursuing it on my own.

Here's the gig. You hide a camera in your hat and embarass or provoke people in stores or on the street. Keep them to 20-40 second bits. Get 20-30 of these going and you'll have a following... it's Jerkey Boys meet Candid Camera.

From the X10 folks who pioneered annoying pop-up windows (and no doubt had copyrighters that formerly wrote Sea Monkey ads you read in comic books).... we now have a super secret wireless camera. There are lot of these on the market, mind you, but this one has such a cheesy ad and a low price point, that I hope one of you will buy and test it. Not it.

Clarity About Keyword/Tags on Revver Upload Application


Now that you need to use the upload tool, we've all noticed that the interface restricts us to 3 keywords. The good news is that you can go back and add more later. The bad news is that I'm too lazy to do it. So my stuff has fallen off of any RSS feeds people created on words like "humor," "weird" or "hilarious." Actually I think it's less laziness and more that I feel really strange calling any of my stuff "hilarious." Maby "funny," "interesting" or "yawn." But hilarious?

The other riddle I have is this... if I go back and add keyword tags to my original three, will the video retroactively get populated into the RSS feed for that keyword? If I take a video I posted last week and add "sexy" as a tag, will today's RSS feed for "sexy" feature my piece? I don't know what percentage of people consume videos on Revver via the keyword feeds, but it's worth pondering.

FireFox Contest Wraps


Adotas provided an update on the FireFox video competition. It's been fun watching the videos surface on Revver, and they're very well packaged. I was expecting more humor, but the quality on many of the videos look like they came from Madison Ave. If the rating function worked on Revver the judges could take some audience participation. American Idol, afterall, gets more engaging when it's us deciding- not Simon, Randy or Paula. By the way- what's with the bitchy feud between Seacrest and Simon? But as the lawnmower says, I de-grass.

This contest was a great marketing partnership between Revver/Firefox. We need more of these, Revver- especially exclusive arrangments. I love it when two "Avis- We Try Harder" players team up... this would have been so much less interesting if it was YouTube and Explorer. I've become a Firefox loyalist over the past few weeks, and I'm noticing our web logs (in my day job) show more and more visitors using FireFox- we now QA our websites on it as a standard SOP. I de-grass again.

If you haven't been on the FireFox blog, I'd highly recommend it.

Below is the update and summary from Adotos.
Since earlier this year, the Mozilla Foundation has been running a grassroots video campaign/contest to promote their popular Firefox web browser. Firefoxflicks.com encourages visitors to create 30-second video ads highlighting the benefits of using Firefox, and encouraging viewers to visit Getfirefox.com, where they can download the browser. The ‘Flicks are hosted by Revver, an online video uploading and sharing site that lets video publishers attach clickable video ads to their work. As of today, Mozilla said they have received more than 280 entries for the fest.

“The reaction to the first wave of Firefox Flicks videos has been awesome. In the first week, these community produced videos have been viewed over one million times,” said Mozilla’s community coordinator Asa Dotzler in a statement. “We’ll be posting new entries every day at FirefoxFlicks.com and invite everyone to come check them out.”

All the ‘Flicks will be reviewed by judges from both Hollywood and Madison Avenue, who will select three winners. Mozilla, one of the sponsors of the 2006 San Francisco International Film Festival, will announce the winners there, and host an awards reception and screening for FirefoxFlicks finalists on April 27th. There, they will also hold a panel discussion on community-generated video, featuring panelists from Butler, Shine & Stern, Current TV, and Revver. The winning videos will eventually become part of a greater Firefox marketing campaign.

Why is YouTube Omnipresent? The Interface?


I've been struggling with why YouTube is so highly ranked and so well covered by journalists. Here's a theory by Jesse Shannon, president of SAJE Media. In her recent MediaPost article, Jesse maintains it's the interface that makes it so popular. Some of her thoughts:
>>>"How did start-up YouTube manage to get so big, so fast, and why was it successful where other big players were not? It's the interface, stupid!
>>>While the technological and bandwidth barriers to getting video online easily have only just recently ebbed away, YouTube managed to be the first to take advantage of this new opportunity in a way that, quite simply, works. From the beginning, YouTube's main interface, aside from a growing list of minor improvements and additions, has remained structurally unchanged since its inception.
>>>Much like Flickr, YouTube has tapped into the wisdom of crowds to help it select and filter what users should see, while still catering to a multitude of interests.

Okay- I would have called this blog YouTubeBeration if I thought YouTube had a sustainable competitive advantage. While I keep arguing it will be Napsterized, it's becoming painfully clear to me that it's not going to evaporate overnight. And I think Revver has got a model that will win over content creators and, as a result, eyeballs.

That said, Jesse's right about interface. You can't become a destination without better viewing and community-sharing features, and YouTube has Revver beat by a mile here. Can Revver be an intermediary without being a destination portal? Probably. But it sure would help if the site itself had some YouTubesque features... Flash, ratings, better organization, advanced tagging, more dynamic popular video sections, user-generated comments (although we have mixed emotions on that). The strategic discipline that Revver now faces is to continue to focus on its unique "creator/advertister/destination-agnostic" business model, but not starving its interface. Good interface will get eyeballs and press, and that can jump start Revver even if it doesn't want to be a portal. Revver has some interesting plans to address this, and I look forward to seeing them take life.

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YouTube Buys TimeWarner


This is a great Dateline Hollywood spoof article on YouTube buying TimeWarner.

Four Hysterical Highlights:

1) In a surprise move, one year-old video sharing website YouTube has acquired media conglomerate Time Warner in an all-stock deal valued at $260 billion. “It’s time to shake up the stodgy old media companies that don’t ‘get’ the Web 2.0,” said YouTube CEO Chad Hurley, whose company is “technically unprofitable,” but is valued at $1.3 trillion based on the nine million teenagers per month who watch home movies made by other teenagers.
2) “I have come to realize that the future of media is not in professionals making products distributed to the masses, but in regular people uploading poorly made videos that are popular and then forgotten in a matter of days,” said Parsons. “Every division of YouTubeTW, including slow-goers such as Warner Books, will be required to submit business plans to take advantage of this exciting new technology.
3) On the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, posters promoting such content as “ER,” “Gilmore Girls,” and “Superman Returns” have been taken down and replaced with photos of such popular YouTube clips as the two Chinese boys lip synching “I Want it That Way,” the famous “Leeroy Jenkins” clip from “World of Warcraft” and “Brokeback to the Future.”
4) “For people who say this is similar to the ill-fated purchase of Time Warner by America Online, I say they’re ignoring some crucial difference,” stated Hurley. “For one thing, AOL was profitable, which we are not. The focus on technical details like revenue was the undoing of AOL Time Warner, but we won’t make the same mistake.

New Entrant... Veoh


Watch out folks. Another well capitalized player, Veoh, enters the scene.

According to this BusinessWeek blog post, the startup is backed by funders including Michael Eisner (former Disney CEO), Spark Capital, Time Warner and existing investor Shelter Capital Partners. What's the niche? Veoh's P2P technology enables independent video makers and Hollywood types alike to dish up longer (movie or TV show length), better quality video online.

I've always maintained there will be at least 3 major players in the online video space, but it's getting more competitive by the second. While I don't see anything truly differentiated about Veoh (no revenue sharing, little traffic, and no distinct user-interface offerings), it's got $12.5 million behind it. And Eisner's participation will help it broker good deals with studios and networks.

Oh- and it's got the cute logo. You can't discount that.

Online Video Models Categorized and Simplified

DVGuru and MustSeeBlog have done nice jobs of comparing various video sites. Now let's start simplifying the online video "space" into a few key segments. Here's my first attempt to categorize the different existing and emerging business models. There are countless companies that are surfacing in each category, and certainly new categories will emerge. But here's what we have now:

Popular and Pirated: The Napster of online video is YouTube. There's no faster way to get thousands of people to see your stuff, and no easier place to find a random video. However YouTube will have to adapt its model to avoid getting "Napsterized." It's unsustainable to have volunteers steal content and upload it. Eventually lawyers will kill the copyrighted material, and original contributors will realize that while fame is nice, they'd like a "piece of the advertising profit" that YouTube generates.

Connecting Advertisers with Content Providers: Here's where Revver has a lock, and the $8.7 of additional funding will make it harder for someone to supplant it. I'm surprised that Revver isn't more saturated by content creators yet, and this will change when video creators awaken to the fact that they can share in ad proceeds. Revver doesn't need to be a video portal to facilitate a revenue share with content providers- the solution is agnostic to where the video lives. If Revver can do with Flash what it's done with Quicktime (keeping an ad linked to the video regardless of where the video lives) then it wins the race.

Video Search Engines: Blinkx.com is the best one I've seen for searching video content because it instantly transcribes the audio into searchable text. Google will buy or develop this internally inside the next 6-9 months. When they marry video search with contextual ads, it's going to be game chaning. Look first for a flash-delivered model with surrounding text ads. If they share that revenue with content creators, they could encroach on Revver's space. Keep in mind that eventually -- on television or at our desktop -- we'll be able to click any product in a video, identify the model and buy it instantly. Google is poised for this, but they need to evolve Google Video well beyond where it is today.

High Brow Production Sites: iFilm will persist as a higher-end video site for film students, "up and coming" film producers and more sophisticated production shops. I'm not sure what motivates the iFilm submitters except maybe the hope of being discovered.

"Enabling Technologies" for Video Sharing: JumpCut, VideoEgg, and Vimeo are nice examples of free applications that allow us to take raw video and share it... Without a lot of technology investment. I see these as the merging 3 worlds: digital video capture (from camcorders to cell-phone cameras), editing software (iMovie, Pinnacle, Adobe), and content sharing sites (like MySpace). These folks may not get eyeballs (unless they partner well), but they'll help us get our content from the source to the sites instantly. Competition for this space will be from both sides: prosumer video editing software and cell phone networks (Singulair and Verizon) who will want to differentiate in a commodity market by giving users the ability to push video content live without touching a desktop. Remember the bank hostage that made an instant fortune with her footage? These guys will enable part of that.

Online/Offline Video Contests: Howard Stern's recent contest awakened film and video creators to a new route to fame and fortune. Rather than paying a submission fee for niche film contests, a new road to discovery is to submit content to contests, create "citizen created commercials," or create content and submit it to the Break.com and StupidVideos.com sites. No variable fee for content creators based on how many people watch the video, but you get a decent check if they select your video.

Coming Soon: The artificial boundaries between television and online video are close to evaporating. We have temporary partnerships between online sites and television shows. VH1 and iFilm spawned Web Junk, and I'm hoping MTV and Revver bond. What's next? Watch for a network buying an online video site or building their own (which will take them far from their core competency). Currently we consume online videos hunched over our desktops and the rest of TV viewing is done from our couch watching network or cable TV. Video-on-demand and the age of TiVo will change that. How long before Comcast or TiVo allow me to search for amateur video work (veted by someone and with Google-like searchable)? My aching back looks forward to this.

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How Much Time is Left in the Amateur Videographer's 15-minutes of Fame

While many viral videos are ripped from television commercials and SNL skits, there are also a number of low-budget pieces that are contagiously moving in light speed via e-mail and popular video sites like YouTube. Many of the original Revver content creators are those of us with a computer, some creativity, desktop software, and a day job.

Think of the production quality continuum with, one one end, a polished piece like Blockbusters. On the other is the Numa Numa Kid or the Breakup gal (now up to 325K views). Most of us live in the middle of this continuum and face pressures from both sides.

As online video passes "tipping point," will the consumer's taste evolve for higher production quality, making it harder for the next Numa Numa guy? Or could the limited ad revenue from online videos make it impractical for anyone spending more than a few hundred bucks?

Remember- ROI is return (ad revenue) divided by investment (production cost). So if my stupid Nalts videos make $50 but cost me virtually nothing, I'm actually better off than the "Lazy Monday" folks that might spend $1000 or $2000 and generate $800 in ad revenue. Something to ponder.

Will Explosion of Ad-Carrying Media Force Advertisers to Replace People with Synthespians?


A friend of mine who is a brand manager just returned from Miami for a 3-day commercial shoot. Like me, his background is doing low-budget productions. So he was shocked by the expenses: hotel and travel, catered cajun Mahi Mahi, 3 babies on the set in case two got ornery, and $900 wrap dinners. When he returned he sent me an April 17 Wall Street Journal article titled "More Venues Spur Higher Ad Costs." The point of the piece is that the explosion of high-tech media is making the actors in commercials cost too much. The advertisers say the circa-1950 system for compensating actors has to be overhauled. Says the WSJ: "The explosion of new ad-carrying media -- from cellphones to iPods -- is likely to make the process even more complicated and expensive.... For example, an actor appearing in a network-TV ad gets paid a fee every time the ad airs. Actors receive separate residual payments for ads that run on cable, spot TV, syndication and the Internet." In my day job I had to recently remove a photo of a model from our website because the agency couldn't arrive at acceptable terms with the model's agent.

So this gets me thinking about synthespians. We're very close to reproducing fairly authentic-looking people using computer generated effects- grant it needs another year or two to get over the creepy feeling of "The Polar Express." But what if advertisers start generating Synthespians to replace actors in television spots? Advertising used to be three networks and massive reach. Now advertisers need to create exponentially more forms of creative to address emerging channels and segmented demographics.

A recent animation movie (which was quite good) undermined the typical $100 million Pixar productions by creating a film produced mostly in Asia, using over-the-counter animation software. Hoodwinked cost $15 million, and I'll be the first in line to buy the DVD when it's released in 14 days. Spy Kids is a another example- it cost $35 millionto make and made well over $100 million domestically alone. Apply this model to advertising- what did it cost FireFox to create a sleuth of viral ads? Creators of "Citizen Created Commercials" (CCC) can't afford to negotiate with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).

This transition will take time, and there's no mistaking that the average consumer will identify subconciously with Gene Hackman's voiceover on Lowes ads or Queen Latifah doing Pizza Hut spots. But the "3-network 60-second spot era" is as passe has the 3-martini lunches. And that will put inarguable pressure on costs and actor royalties.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Tarantino of Weird Gets Outweirded on Revver

Folks- In a shocking announcement this evening, James Jarvis confessed that we have two serious contendors for the "Weirdest Revver Uploads. See brave post by MarquisdeJolie.




What's next? A green couch series? Another dad willing to sellout his kids for Revvernue?

Cupcakes are the New Black


While I'm on self-indulgent posts, I thought I'd toss in a non-sequitur. I thought with "Britney in My House" and "Hot Sister," my sister Ariane had pretty much "jumped the shark."

But now she reaches a new level of fame with this ABC Blog called "Cupcakes Are the New Black." Feel free to make your own video depicting this hot trend.

An excerpt: "I will continue to follow this sweeping national trend. Will the craze spread to fashion week in Milan and Paris? Will models pitch their celery stalks for a red velvet flavored cupcake? Will cupcakes make regular cakes look fat? We shall see. I hear the fall fashion forecasters are hailing milk the new "it" cocktail of the season."

Reaction to "Inside Cubebreak"

Forgive me for a somewhat self indulgent post. I was struck by some of the Revverberation posts about "Inside CubeBreak" because I violated every rule of a Revver video. There were inside jokes, it was too long, and I assembled the most dysfunctional cast I could find.

Anyway, someone just forwarded me an e-mail thread that was bouncing around my dayjob office. It was swawned by the the "Inside Cubebreak" spoof I did playing multiple personalities. What makes this so funny is that I wasn't copied on any of these, and finally my boss mentioned the thread to me, and sent it:

My e-mail to select work colleagues: "I worked with my entire team at CubeBreak to prepare this video. It's a little long, but I wanted to make sure everyone got air time. Link to "Inside CubeBreak."

My colleague to his friends (and my boss): "I finally figured out what 'new media' is."

My boss: "I finally figured out what happens when Kevin goes too long without his meds. Of course, some of these alternate personalities look pretty good. Can we just keep a couple of them, and put the original in mothballs somewhere?"

An executive director in our group: "I think he/they need to some abs exercises."

My boss:
True, but I'm hardly in a position to pass judgment about that. Still, I didn't take off my shirt, shoot markers across the room with my tummy, then post it on the internet, either. Maybe I am in a position to pass judgment.

P.S. This is helping balance out the horrible feedback that "America's Funniest Bloopers" is getting on YouTube (more than 2500 views, but about 12 negative comments). I'm not sure I like the comments-posting functionality. Let's not ad that feature to Revver. I'd rather live and die by the views/ratings than the random thoughts by people who missed the whole point of AFB... it was a SPOOF on the stupidity of AFV, people!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Diving Deeper Into Revver Stats


That pie chart on your Revver account page is now "clickable" (thanks, AcquaDad, for pointing this out). You'll be able to dive deeper into the activity associated with your top videos, as depicted here. This is a great step forward, and one that I hope will continue. I miss being able to track all of my videos to see if one has spiked.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Time magazine: Traffic to Viral-Video Sites is Surging


Interesting paragraph from today's Time magazine article called "How To Get Famous in 30 Seconds."

"Traffic to viral-video sites is surging, driven by ubiquitous broadband Internet access and cheap, easy-to-use digital video cameras."

Since last year, visits to Yahoo!'s Video section have gone up 148%. Traffic to iFilm.com grew 102%. YouTube, launched in December, is storming the Web. It already had 9 million unique visitors in February, compared with Google Video's 6.2 million and Yahoo!'s 3.8 million. YouTube's traffic grew another 24% just last month, and the site shows more than 40 million videos a day.

Guide to 12 Video Sharing Sites


This "Guide to Video Sharing Sites" -- by Publish.com (Ziff Davis) and ComScore Media Metrix -- reports on 12 video sites. Video sites are Veoh, MetaCafe, Revver, CatPost, Vimeo, Clipshack, JumpCut, EyeSpot, DailyMotion, vSocial, VidiLife, and YouTube.

Revver gets a decent writeup, but two "obstacles" are identified:
1) Ads aren't targeted to user behavior. I agree, although user behavior and the type of content are probably linked fairly well.
2) Upload delay... something we hope will be faster for that "instant gratification" we all want.

I actually was more struck by the observation that the videos should contain hyperlinked text instead of a single ad frame. I do believe Revver could gain significantly more ad dollars if there was a subtle text link surrounding the video that was contextually based. The simplicity and subtlety of a single ad frame is part of the charm, but viewers would probably be comfortable with a text ad (like on Google) beneath the content. As long as Blinkx is going to transcribe the audio into text, these could be context based, which is what makes Google so powerful.

Here are the comments about obstacles by writer Publish.com's Stephen Bryant:

Revver faces two big obstacles. One, consumers may not be interested in clicking ads while browsing videos, especially if those ads have little or nothing to do with the content. Revver attaches ads to videos based on the video uploader's preference. You select video keywords when you upload, and you can also specify types of ads you don't want served. A more efficient system would serve ads based on user behavior. Recent advances in video ads, such as the ability to show hyperlinks in the video itself, are leapfrogging Revver's technology.

The second obstacle facing Revver is its uploading tool, which you have to download in order to submit a clip. And, once the clip is submitted, it can take up to two days for the video to be posted. This process removes the instant gratification most users have come to associate with a video site.

"Online Video is Hot Again" (CuriousOffice)


As we've acknowledged here on Revverberation.com, the YouTube hype doesn't mean there isn't room for a few models. Here's a "Curious Office" blog post that reinforces that point.

Rising tides lift all boats so it helps to get good at determining when certain markets get “hot”. Online video is hot again. So, YouTube won’t be the only success story in that space. I suspect Addicting Videos and Revver will get a decent chunk of that market. RealNetworks (as the pioneer) should have been all over this.

Revver Mentioned in "Corporate Media News"

It's interesting to see how journalists describe Revver. Here's a piece from today's "Corporate Media News."

Excerpt:

Now there is a service called Revver. This is a new service, it's only been out a few months. It is still tagged as beta, but it is usable. They are promising serious upgrades in the near future. What you do is upload your videos similar to a CafePress or Zazzle for T-Shirts. 30 seconds to a minute shows are the most popular. They display your work, you can post on your own website or you can "send to a friend" easily. After they play, a short ad pops up at the end. If your audience clicks on the advertising, the creator and syndicators make money. People are uploading some funny stuff. Things like "The Dildo Song" are hilarious, but much of the content is what you would expect, similar to "America's Funniest Videos." You can make money syndicating your movies or distributing others. People are encouraged to grab the content from Revver, they even provide the HTML. Your show is "tagged" when you upload. You are paid no matter where it is displayed. Self-syndication without the need of a server. Not bad.

I'm going to go a step further. I have a number of animations that I have created over the years. DinkyTV.com would now become a free service using Revver to distribute mini movies and animated greetings. I retooled the DinkyTV.com website using the thumbnails provided by Revver. They are also coded and make it easy to create a menu page. In a short time I have launched a store with more than 40 greetings and animated mini-movies. The nice thing about sending a Revver-based message is that you don't have to register or join a club. None of that credit card stuff either. Tip the author by clicking on the ad. Easy. http://revver.com/video/13771/5790

Our lil' Revver is Growing Up!

You might have read that Revver picked up $8.7 million in a B round funding led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Draper Richards and William Randolph Hearst III. Here's an update from SiliconBeat of The Mercury News. I love that Revver has more advertising than content. That means they need us, folks. Upload away.
Also note a NYPost article on Revver that has some interesting stats on what they "Dancing Baby" clip (from Ally McBeal) could have earned if Revver was around.

Now what will Revver do with its money? According to iMedia Connection, the additional funding will drive Revver's international market expansion, team-building and technology development from beta to live site in May 2006.
Live in May, folks. Sooner than we thought. Tick tock, tick tock.

Revver VidStrip Widget via Typepad


First- thanks to AquaDad for keeping Revverberation.com alive while I was on vacation. Pulled my back and spent Thursday night in the ER... fun stuff.

Anyway, two of the most progressive "web site or blog in a box" tools are Typepad and Movable Type by Six Apart. Six Apart now has a seamless way to import a "Revver VidStrop" widget into a TypePad page, and they can appear in multiple dimensions (1x10, 4x3 or 10x1). You can even pick an RSS feed like "top 10" or "top 20." I'm running CubeBreak on Yahoo small business, but if started over today I'd go for TypePad for the Blog and Movable Type for the website.