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DIGITAL MEDIA FROM THE INSIDE OUT: My focus is digital content -- production, distribution, collaboration, innovation, creativity. Some posts have appeared across the web (HuffPo, Tribeca's Future of Film, The Wrap, MIPblog, etc.). To receive these posts regularly via email, sign up for my newsletter here.

Entries in web-video (2)

Friday
Jan272012

Curating the Week's Best in Film, TV, Video, Transmedia & Digital Business

Each week I offer my own (human) curation of links, posts, and articles that have informed me in the markets in which I actively consult -- film, television, video, transmedia, and digital business. You can scan the summary, click through, or go to my Twitter account (@nickdemartino), where the items below are among those "favorited" with a star. 

TELEVISION AND VIDEO

  • It will be interesting to watch the new TV venture from Mark Cuban, Ryan Seacrest, CAA and AEG, reported here in Variety (a gated community). 
  • Long Tail Video created a really excellent overview of HTML5 by cramming a ton of info into easy-to-digest charts and graphics. This is a model of clarity in presentation, especially  if you're into tech subjects.
  • Cable networks are emerging as the most innovative users of social TV apps, as noted in Mashable's rundown of efforts by FX and USA.
  • As part of Netflix's resurrection campaign the company noted that its streaming service is now available on more than 800 devices (!) and that mobile is taking over. 
  • Think Netflix is worried about Hulu and Amazon catching up? Nope, the threat is "TV Everywhere," according to this TNW post.
  • Maybe they should worry more about Apple TV, which GigaOm asserts is finally gaining marketplace traction. 
  • I loved this piece on the impact of VOD binge viewing on future TV business models, posted on WIRED. I'm a binger, aren't you?  
  • YouTube's Reach Begins to Eclipse Television, claims Read Write Web, based upon recent data.
  • As it shifts towards more professional content and a channel-based interface, YouTube reached out to its base of member-creators this week
  • John Seabrook's analysis of Robert Kyncl and YouTube: Will it Revolutionize Television? New Yorker 
  • Perhaps in reaction to YouTube's strategy, Vimeo this week released new features, including a new player and a streamlined look. 

  • One YouTuber who is jumping quite a shark is Dane Beodigheimer's ANNOYING ORANGE, which announced a deal with Cartoon Network this week. 
  • Video is powering a global classroom, according to this story from Mashable.

STORYTELLING AND TRANSMEDIA

  • Check out this beautiful display of components that comprised the "multilayered transmedia campaign" in support of HBO's GAME OF THRONES by Steve Coulson who presented this week at the newly named STORYCODE meet up group at Lincoln Center. http://work.stevecoulson.com/portfolio/game-of-thrones 
  • Finally, SXSW announced the finalists for its Interactive Awards with a list of links to products in each area, including activism, amusement, art, business, community, education, experimental, film/TV, music, motion graphics and so forth. So helpful if one wishes to actually check out the sites. http://sxsw.com/interactive/awards/finalists

FILM

  • With the announcement of the Oscar nominations, we move into the home-stretch of the movie biz annual race. the web awash with analysis and predictions, like this one from the Reporter, offering "key factoids." 
  • At the other end of the biz --perhaps in honor of Sundance which is in session-- check this out: Jeffrey Winter, Sheri Candler, and Orly Ravid, three of the four authors of "Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul" offer another batch of DIY distribution success stories, posted on Ted Hope's blog.
  • Indeed, Sundance's Robert Redford opened the festival with a nod to alternate distribution. 
  • Cinedigm joint venture seeks to help indie filmmakers compete in the digital space. 

DIGITAL BUSINESS 

  • Apple's entry into the textbook market got lots of attention last week, including a nice post from the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard, "The Day the Bookshelf Shook." 
  • Though "the network effect" may be the holy grail for digital business, maybe not so much, according to this really smart post from the Business Insider. 
  • The impact of the epic struggle over SOPA has resulted in some interesting long-view posts, including Chris Dorr's analysis, which centers on the fundamental differences between the technological networks employed by the adversaries (Hollywood, Internet). 
  • The Hollywood Reporter dives into "what went wrong" for Hollywood in a nice piece of reporting by Kim Masters. 
  • One sign that a company is important is how much new it makes when it introduces change to its user base. Hence, Twitter made news with a shift in how it "withholds" certain tweets -- is it censorship? The twitterati are atwitter.
  • That will be nothing, however, compared to the online flutter that will attend to the long-awaited filing by Facebook of its long-awaited Initial Public Offering, rumored to be as early as next week.
Monday
Aug012011

• VidCon 2011: YouTube Faithful Scream and Dream of Hitting it Big

(A slightly different version of this post appeared on IndieWIRE).

With 2,400 young and noisy YouTube fanatics, the sell-out crowd could have been mistaken for a rave. However, VidCon 2011 was something even more radical: It's a next-gen vaudeville show that wants to become a showcase for the future of entertainment.  

Headquartered at Los Angeles' Hyatt Regency Century City, the three-day, second-annual VidCon was a showcase for the fastest growing segment of the entertainment business: Online video and most specifically YouTube, which was -- lest we forget -- founded a mere six years ago (and owned by Google since 2006). 

By now, YouTube is so ubiquitous it's easy to take for granted. The site's videos garner 3 billion views per day. More than 48 hours of video are uploaded onto YouTube every minute, a rate that has doubled in just one year.   

And from all of that emerges VidCon, which features the elite stars of the YT universe from among the site's 20,000 partners. According to YT exec Tom Pickett, hundreds of YouTubers make six-figure incomes from their share of ad revenue that comes to channels that attract millions of subscribers and viewers, and thousands more earn at least $1,000 per month, a figure which has tripled in the last year. 

VidCon was founded by siblings Hank and John Green, who have one of those star channels in the @Vlogbrothers. As emcees, they welcomed one home-grown YT star after another in 15-minute stints, including Dane Boedigheimer (the Amazing Orange), Phil DeFrancoiJustineMystery Guitar Man,  Shane Dawson  and Michael Buckley.

Naturally, each brought their own cameras on stage so they could post videos of the event, like this one from Toby Turner (Tobuscus), who is known for his faux trailers. 

At one point, when the stage was filled with YT celebs dancing to the rock stylings of TeraBrite, the audience's shriek became a deafeningly high pitch rarely hard outside Justin Bieber concerts. By my reckoning, the average age of VidCon attendees was mid-20s, with a decided tilt towards the teen cohort.

That frenzy is more than than fandom: Most audience members are YT creators who aspire to the same kind of fame and fortune. Top draws at VidCon included sessions like "Secret Tactics to Grow Subscribers and Views," "Building a Great Rig," "Merchandising Your Brand," and my personal favorite: "Balancing School and YouTube." 

YouTubers may be young, but they have a sense of their own history. VidCon presented a reunion of the actors from Lonely Girl 15, the fake videoblog that helped put YouTube on the map in 2006, especially after it was outed as fiction, not IRL/In Real Life. Many YTers, including DeFranco and the Greens, said they date their YT awakening to LG15, which was also one of the first web properties to utilize UGC in the form of viewer-contributed videos.

VidCon is not an official YT event, but the company was a major sponsor and a ubiquitous presence. Just as Apple once used MacWorld to introduce products and make announcements, YT took the stage to rally the troops and to define its message, including the launch of a new partner hub that centralizes resources and links.  

YT execs also promoted the site's new interface, dubbed Cosmic Panda, which began its rollout in early July. The effort is a long-overdue revamping of YouTube's cluttered look and feel, especially compared to sleek sites like Hulu. 

But as successful YouTube producer Bob Jennings suggests, Panda's focus on channelization reflects YouTube's hunger for slicker content and the advertisers that they hope will follow. YT's billions of daily views don't translate to a similar appetite from top-tier advertisers. Vevo, the music site spinoff that YT launched with Universal Music, was one way that YT addressed this problem. Not surprisingly, with music videos consistently making YouTube's top-viewed list, Vevo is a hit.

YouTube already bestows privileged placement and exceptional promotion on its biggest UGC stars; it's not much of a stretch to imagine a premium YT that will place them alongside the heavyweights of professional content, which YouTube has been wooing for years with mixed results.

However, that narrative was not part of VidCon, not even during the "industry day" that preceded the main show. 

Vidcon's message is one of hope, with presentations like the one from Canadian YTer Corey Vidal, who shared his own triumph over homelessness: Every person who opens a YouTube account has a shot at starring in his own rags-to-riches meme -- this generation's version of "A Star is Born." 

Which is why next year, VidCon will move to Anaheim Stadium, which has enough room for 12,000 stars. 

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The official Vidcon channel posted some of the conference live, as well as interviews with many of the speakers here. Read backwards on the #Vidcon Twitter search for a flavor of the event.