What does the pending writer’s strike mean for online video?

As of this writing, the Hollywood writer’s strike might begin as early as Friday, November 2. The central issue for writers is how much they will be paid for digital rights of the content they help create. Having gotten the shaft during the last round of negotiations over DVD sales, which is currently the biggest money maker for studios, they are unwilling to make another bad deal.

The trouble is, no one really knows HOW much online content could or should be worth. The baseline costs for internet video will probably be set, helping to determine how the industry evolves. A couple of options might be paid downloads (a la iTunes store), or free streaming video with ads. But if the price paid for rights is higher than the revenue they earn, it might keep content off the internet, opening the door for other talent. As the NY Times observed, "…bored viewers may suddenly start deep explorations of puppy punting and other specialties of YouTube."

Well, we can CERTAINLY do better than that!

Content creators of the world- this is your chance. Writers, producers, directors and those who never have squeezed through the development door at a major network, and even those of you who have, this could be the moment for a major paradigm shift.

Are you ready?

Premiere of New “Model Behavior” Epsiode

The response to last week’s debut episode of Gleicy Santos: Model Behavior was more than we could have imagined. Thanks to all of you who subscribed in iTunes or posted your comments on the various online video sites.

As promised, episode two entitled “Modeling” is up and ready for viewing. In this episode, Gleicy talks about how she got started as a fashion model and shows us some exclusive and revealing behind-the-scenes footage from several international photo shoots.

For you non-iTunes disciples, see the new episode on YouTube, Blip.tv, Brightcove or Revver. If you are unfamiliar with any video sites other than YouTube, we urge you to try the ones listed above. We chose them specifically because of their superior video quality, ease of search and quality of offering.

Stay tuned for episode three, premiering on Tuesday, November 6.


Debut of Gleicy Santos: Model Behavior

So, one day we were sitting around thinking: Why not leverage the internet as a venue for posting your resume online and really attracting the attention of employers? It’s much more powerful than black words on a white page, right? And if you work in a visual medium, the possibilities are limitless.

That was the thought process that gave birth to our latest online TV series:

Gleicy Santos: Model Behavior

Talent agents, commercial directors, photographers, producers and fans can get to know more about Gleicy across four different original episodes, each touching on a different facet of her personality and her extensive body of work.

Subscribe now in iTunes. It’s free and this way you won’t miss an episode.

We realize some of you might not use iTunes, so we have made the first episode available on several online video sites as well. Click for YouTube, Revver, Blip.tv or Brightcove.

Double the Vote

Voter turnout in the US has always been a vexing problem, even more so on the local level.

Our good friends at Double the Vote are trying to do something about that, and we wanted to help. All the issues videos on their site were produced by Clearcast Digital Media.

Tip O’Neill famously observed that all politics are local. Here’s one for you, Mr. O’Neill.


Not just preaching to the converted

Intel has decided to accelerate their shift of ad dollars to newer media like the internet and away from older media such as radio and TV. The reason they gave is that consumers are turning more and more to online media when researching purchasing decisions and they desire the level of engagement that the web offers.

Sean Maloney, EVP at Intel observed, "In the last year, there appears to be an acceleration of attitude-forming, opinion-forming online, instead of in the traditional media, and we have to respond appropriately."

OK, no surprise that a technology company would see the writing on the wall, but even lower tech companies are changing their media plans. The American Egg Board, which promotes egg consumption, used to dedicate 100% of their ad budget on traditional media but they are now adding online media such as a redesigned web site and blogs. Roughly 20% of their $10 million budget will be spent on new media. (By the way, who knew there was $10 million available to talk about eggs?)

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America predicts that over 30% of its budget will be online within the next 2 to 3 years.

All the rules of online advertising are changing. Once upon a time consigned to afterthought status inside of many media budgets, it is now taking its rightful place as a key element of any media buy.

Boing Boing on TV…sort of

Boing Boing, the self-described "directory of wonderful things," has started it’s own online television show. The have come up with a five day a week program, three to five minutes in duration. Boing Boing is one of the most visited blogs on the web for techies and those who are tech-curious.

Great- another online TV show, right? Not so fast. IBM has a three month deal as the show’s lead sponsor and Virgin America will be showing daily segments of the show as part of its in-flight entertainment offering. As one analyst put it, "The web, which has been seen as an ancillary medium for brands established elsewhere, is becoming an incubator of media properties that can extend over any number of platforms."

The takeaway here is that as an entire generation (and I don’t just mean young people) feels that the platform just isn’t important, seemingly small things like Boing Boing can end up playing very large.

More on iPods in schools

One of the poorest urban school systems in the US, the Union City district in New Jersey, is leading the way in an experiment that is spurring several other New Jersey districts to try the same thing: handing out iPods in school. Mostly they have been used for recent arrivals to this country to sharpen their English vocabulary skills, but they have also been used in some science classes to illustrate chemistry concepts.

More schools districts have been trying to employ new technologies to better connect with students. Some teachers have even designed video games around history lessons and then assigned students to re-enact them on YouTube. The age old saw about passive learning being boring is often true, and if this is a way to get kids more connected and involved, then what’s the harm?

A great example of this is one teacher who convinced the school board to buy 23 iPods. She then uploaded an eclectic mix of songs that she knew the kids liked and typed out all the lyrics. Then she deleted all the nouns and, in turn, all the verbs and adjectives, forcing the students to fill in the missing words and learn their meaning. This enterprising and dedicated teacher had this to say, "A lot of the bilingual kids feel like outsiders. You have kids who never said a word in English, and now they’re singing Black Eyed Peas. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it."

The podcast is dead! Long live podcasting!!!

I returned earlier this week from my second visit to the Podcast and New Media Expo. This was it’s third year and, I believe, they are on their third name. It has gone from the Portable Media Expo to the Podcast and New Media Expo to next year’s moniker: New Media Expo. Why all the schizophrenia? Mostly because online content producers, such as our company, seem to have won the day in terms of calling what we do by it’s proper name: CONTENT.

The general consensus from the show and, clearly, the show’s organizers, is that the term "podcast" has mostly served to muddy the waters in the minds of consumers by focusing on the medium instead of the message. At the end of the day, we are independent producers who now have access to the channels of distribution via this thing called RSS. But the "hows" are really not relevant to the conversation. The real point is this: we fell into the trap of defining what we do by focusing on the tools instead of the reward.

The good news is, users have a panoply of choices on how, when and where they receive and consume the content that THEY want to consume, and that is all to the good. Be it download, streaming, audio, video, subscription service, one-time purchase…whatever.

Continue to produce quality content and people will find it. We live in the times of a perfect storm of improved search, ease of use and an unending flow of new apps in the marketplace that make our online experiences more customizable and relevant.

Podcasting is not dead. On the contrary, it is just beginning to hit its stride. It provides the four things that any producer and any consumer could ever want: compelling content, choice, relationship building from producer to user and back again and, finally, niche programming.

All the things that traditional media have failed miserably at since Tesla invented radio.

The effectiveness of behavioral targeting

As we have mentioned here and here, the advertising game is changing once and for all as it pertains to online. It is getting more sophisticated and more effective everyday. But, hey, don’t take my word for it. Online consumers are consistently more receptive to behaviorally targeted ads than contextual ones, with BT outperforming contextual by as much as 22%.

And as for that highly desired demographic, how’s this? The behaviorally receptive audience has a higher income, is more likely to shop online and spends more online. But the interesting twist is that behavioral ads work with both big spenders and smaller spenders. (More on the study here.)

This is a game changing trend that merits close watching.