Saturday, May 05, 2007

The video ship is sailing

For the folks who were waiting on the ship to set sail. It just did.

Google is offering to share profits with the top 20+ video content producers. Additionally, new-media advertising agencies, such as 10ton, are jumping into the fray. Here's 10 suggestions from 10ton to create "great online video."

Hat tip to Mark Hamilton at Notes from a Teacher.

Now, this may sound commercial and crazy, but it actually puts profit into the hands of VJs who can create original content. In other words, there's no need to have a massive support structure of modern media companies to sell ads.

Google and others want to sell ads and share profits. There are ad companies ready to place ads onto the video leads. There are brands that can't or won't advertise on traditional (network) TV that are salivating to get their brands in front of YouTube viewers.

Most folks don't understand the significance of all this.

Back in the early 1990s, my brother-in-law started a little hair and fashion site on the Web. He paid for it out of his pocket. I helped provide images, hooked him up with reporters for text and other content for his e-Zine (as we called it then).

Obviously, he was more than a decade ahead of his time because his e-Zine was slick and well received. It was also full of new innovations such as video lessons on how to style and dye hair.

He filmed the lessons on VHS tape, digitally converted them, and edited them with a beefed up PC. The ultra-compressed files were made into bite-sized packets to allow them to be downloaded over standard modem lines ("high-speed" meant hours back then).

His site was popular because there wasn't anything similar on the Web. The 'Zine had high-quality graphics, professionally-written stories and video lessons. The site became so popular that Oprah's production company contacted him for help with a piece they did about Texas-style hair.

But, popularity was a curse back then. If a site got too many hits, the ISP would charge significant throughput overages. This could cost a fortune.

His ISP understood the value of getting their name in front of his readers, so they gave him a discount in exchange for a link to their services. It wasn't an ad, it was forced labor.

He tried to find advertisers to support his project. But nobody would touch e-Zines. Eventually, he shut down the site and bid farewell to his project because it became so popular that he could no longer afford it.

This is why I'm amazed at how quickly the world has changed. Now, anyone with a modem can upload large files - including images and video - to a server. Everyone gets (basically) unlimited server space for free. To top it off, there are companies that sell ads to willing advertisers while taking only a relatively modest cut.

Although this may sound odd, I'd suggest this is the last year for folks to work their way into the pack with reasonably-priced camcorders.

The point of profit-sharing programs is to allow folks to make a living while providing content. The smart content providers should immediately reinvest this money into higher-quality equipment to outpace the competition. Consequently, the entry point in about three years should be steep enough to prevent most folks from trying.

While this creates a staggering amount of information to absorb and process, it also indicates there's a pony somewhere. It's time for the wise folks to find it before it runs away.

Enough for now,

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