The State of Online Video…Chaos!

First off, I love the on-line video space. The chaos is an opportunity. I created Wallstrip . I helped create GolfNow.tv (investor in golfnow.com ), am an investor in vsocial.com and tubemogul.com and dragged Lifelock into the advertising inside on-line videos with Wallstrip. This is just in the last 18 months. Before and since than, hundreds of new online video companies have launched with thousands of programs, business models, tools and services. The result…it has never been cheaper to make, distribute and analyze video content, BUT, never been harder to get attention.

The good news for the internet web video entrepreneurs is TV, at least ratings and advertising dollars for tv, are imploding – hat tip – Paul Kedrosky

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The bad news is they (networks) are showing that they will fight to the death to keep viewers and advertisers at their network sites like HULU.com , ComedyCentral.com

It is completely overwhelming at this point. How can you possibly keep track? We are in inning one of this tidal wave and as a viewer you feel like giving up. As a producer of stuff, it can’t seem any easier. How do you get attention for your show. If you get attention, what about advertisers? If you get advertisers, how do you best display the advertisement? This all might explain YouTube’s GROWING dominance as a hub.

If I am an advertiser, how do I choose where to advertise. Inside some ad network, or do I hand pick the shows I want my products and brands associated with (I would). The risk being, what are the true metrics and best way to get a call-to action or even noticed.

I have my ideas for sure and will continue to make investments. Going forward. I won’t be blindly creating Wallstrip’s and trying to build an audience from scratch. It’s too damn hard.

To be sure, video is here to stay. Making it gets cheaper every day…witness Justin.TV and it’s numbers . Witness the hundreds of video sharing sites looking for an edge on YouTube, who itself, does not yet have an edge in anything but traffic.

There are also thousands of web shows going mostly if not totally unrecognized. The Web is just not TV. People argue about the crossover and convergence, but I don’t buy it.

So how to survive?

First, it depends who you are in the video food chain.

I have been coming around to an older idea again where you make video for sites that already have built an audience and a community. We did that at golfnow.tv. People were already coming to Golfnow.com to transact for tee times, so let’s build some community around the site, starting with video. Our users love the trivia. I believe that outsourcing the work out and giving the video producers a clear message of what the community wanted would be more effective and efficient, but we will never know in this case.

If I was a video entrepreneur (again) or producer, director etc… and knew the tools of the web trade, I would approach the fast growing internet brands like Etsy, Yelp.com, Zillow.com – that have the traffic – and help them build more community and brand loyalty through a web show. These new brands spend little on marketing as Google, word of mouth, and the bubble of 2000, have allowed the marketing departments to act tight. They should be open to good ideas for branding and if they are not, pitch them again anyways.

In this space, best shows won’t necessarily win accolades or audience. It’s more like most effective community shows will get the attention.

Check out Threadless.com and their new attempt at video – Threadless.TV . Not complicated, but a winner, if not award wise, than for community, brand building and sales. Maybe they created it in house fully, but if I am a creator, producer/director I am using this example to call on every big niche web retailer to do the same thing.

Your goal in this business should not be the same as television.

Always do remember it could be worse…you could be making shows for the now merged Siriius/XMSR :) .