Personal Video Online: YouTube and Beyond


First, some new news bits...

6/29/06 - NBC signed a deal to become the first major network to partner with YouTube. The agreement calls for NBC to create an "NBC Channel" on YouTube to promote shows including "Saturday Night Live," "The Office," and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Back in December 2005, the companies clashed because of a popular "SNL" spoof rap, "Lazy Sunday," that was posted to YouTube in violation of NBC's copyright.

3/22/06 - Following the Hollywood adage that there is "no bad advertising", the video website YouTube.com gained a huge following through some "bad" press. YouTube is a user-submitted video hosting site. Users upload their short videos (under 10 minutes) for the world to see. The site hosts them as Flash files - viewable, not downloadable. But they also upload professional commercial/copyrighted video.

Saturday Night Live featured a self-censored & simultaneously Natalie Portman rapping video that has had way too many plays and a music video that parodied "The Chronic(les) of Narnia" which ended up on the Net through illegal uploads. YouTube had its traffic shoot up from the videos (5 million streams over 45 days for one dubbed "Lazy Sunday"). And the NBC demands sent even more to view it. No such thing as bad advertising.

It took 2 months for NBC's legal department to contact viral video sites like YouTube about "Lazy Sunday" when it appeared last December during the month of YouTube's official version 1.0 launch. They demanded the clip and hundreds of others be removed. (This all by invoking the DMCA - more on that in a future entry). Of course, by then NBC had already posted it on their own site (You can watch "Lazy Sunday" on the NBC site for free, or download at Apple's iTunes for $1.99 (huh? why would anyone do that?) along with other NBC shows and clips).

Even though NBC and others have made more of their product available on new platforms, it's just not fast enough for the NetGen. Clips appear within the hour after broadcast. So, when YouTube users uploaded the Natalie Portman rap clip this month, NBC sent another removal demand.

What really scares these networks is that this generation is not watching television. Well, not television like was watched in the 50s-80s. They watch online. They watch clips. They pass them around. And now they post them and send the link.

Internet television is hot. YouTube is not the only site - video.google.com is also popular (and was quicker with a business plan to make deals with producers to sell video, like CBS old & new) and there's also video.yahoo.com. How about Charlie Rose for 99 cents or classic Twilight Zone episodes for $1.99?

But then YouTube has the spoof "Brokeback to the Future," where Back to the Future clips are edited/mashed in such a way to suggest a forbidden romance between Doc and Marty McFly.

Someone uploaded part of a video used to train flight attendants on YouTube and Google Video in February and American Airlines subpoenaed those companies on Feb. 21 under DMCA since the video. "Flight Attendant, Upside Down," is under copyright.

Another popular YouTube link is a Rice Krispies advertisement from 1964 featuring a jingle written and performed by the Rolling Stones. In 1964, the band asked not to be identified as being involved when the ad was aired.

I do enjoy the Comedy Central Daily Show clips - like this bit on Social Networking and MySpace.- and since I have their RSS for the videos in my Bloglines list, I get a summary each day of what they have posted and can decide if I want to click any of them.

The first “official” YouTube film trailer was for Scary Movie 4. In 3 days it had half a million views, with 2300 people rating it at 4 ½ stars, and 800 comments. Go ahead - buy some viral video for your product. And remember who the demographic audience is for that film...

Unfortunately there's also pornographic, inappropriate material, and just plain junk uploaded too.

"There's a lot of experimenting and showing off going on," said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. "Eventually the better stuff will survive, and people doing it for a thrill will fade away."

I hope so, but I'm not so sure.

YouTube has instituted "fingerprinting" to try to identify video that was already removed from being re-uploaded.

Nearly half of all Internet users (about 34 million homes) have watched video streamed online [Forrester Research] That includes movie trailers, music videos the latest episodes of shows and homemade video.

This online video raveup is also encouraging young filmmakers who can get thousands/millions of viewers online. You might get numbers that could compete with some broadcast and cable shows.

They are using video cams, cell phones, digital cameras, animation software, simple editors and now they have the important last leg - DISTRIBUTION.

Not so different from blogs that created amateur journalists or podcasts for "radio" shows.

"We're starting to see that anyone with an Internet connection, a digital camera and computer can become a star overnight," says Steve Chen, the 27-year-old co-founder of YouTube.

A Michigan 21 year old, David Lehre, produced "MySpace: The Movie," a satire on that popular online site. Someone (not him initially) put it on YouTube and it quickly became a hit. I'm hearing that MTV and Hollywood has contacted him to do some work.

Some are not as original. Video "mashups," (splicing and blend film and TV clips). are popular, both as spoofs and as music videos.

There are sites where you can make some money by submitting video like Break.com, which targets 18-35-year-old males and buys the rights to clips.

And online video is hardly new. Didn't you watch that kid with the light saber pretending to be in Star Wars, or those JibJab animated parodies in 2004 of John Kerry and George W. Bush?

THE NUMBERS

YouTube: from zero to nine million plus viewers a month [Nielsen NetRatings]

25% of YouTube's hits are generated by MySpace [Hitwise]

By 2007, people are expected to watch 29 billion streams of video, up from 18 billion in 2005 [AccuStream iMedia Research]

GOING COMMERCIAL

  • CBS and Yahoo are airing college basketball games online during March Madness. NBC
  • MTV is teaming up with YouTube to promote one of its television shows, one of many more potential deals.
  • Tagworld, has music videos by the Black Eyed Peas, 50 Cent and the Killers in a partnership with Universal Music Group.
  • EBaumsworld.com - "Media for the masses" is doing a one-hour pilot on USA Network.
  • ABC is planning to experiment with streaming primetime television shows soon.

Producers eventually accepted that viewers were using VCRs to timeshift their viewing. Online video is a further extension. And it may bring new viewers to shows, or bring lost viewers back.

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