Tag Archives: new media

Webseries Viewer Retention is Terrible – Yes, But Why?

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AdAge takes a look at what nearly everyone who has tried to launch a webseries has discovered:

What it [TubeMogul] found is that the series lost 64% of their audiences, on aggregate, from the first to the second episode. The decline becomes less steep from there, but it shows why many series don’t last past the 10th episode; by then there just aren’t many viewers left.

Of course, there are plenty of logical explanations for this syndrome. On obvious one is highlighted at the end of the AdAge post:

Lance Podell, CEO of Next New Networks, said the company categorically doesn’t buy advertising to distribute shows, instead relying on cross-promotion, PR and search optimization to build audiences.

Now, Next New Networks has been doing pretty well, but it would be tough to argue they were doing anything close to TV numbers in terms of consistent viewership.  Without any true advertising it is not hard to understand why so few people have heard of NNN or any of its shows – outside of the tiny circle of New Media webheads like me, of course.

There isn’t a single TV show that could succeed without some traditional marketing and that’s with the built-in kind of reach that TV already provides – not to mention a less “noisy” environment.  Oh, and even with huge marketing budgets many TV shows fail, too.

The idea that one can count on “going viral” and build the kinds of audiences needed to maintain an ongoing series is just plain absurd and ignorant.  That might work, rarely, for a standalone video, but it will never support a series.

There are a slew of other challenges for webseries success beyond marketing.  Only recently have distributors tried out things like releasing a full “season” at once, instead of relying on an audience finding their way back to the series a week or a month after watching a single 2-5 minute video.  This makes a lot of sense, as would a better way to “push” new episodes to interested viewers – such as via an iPhone app…

The one major thing the AdAge article fails to mention is that a vast amjority of new webseries aren’t really that great.   It’s a new form and creators are just getting the combination of experience and support they need to make things that are truly worthy of commitment from a sustained audience.

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My 15 Seconds – Quoted Front Page NYT Business Section!

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Well, it isn’t everyday I get quoted in the New York Times so that makes today pretty cool.  In an article exploring the rise of the netbook and the “trend” of cutting expensive cable for free/cheap online alternatives I am the lead voice!

SAN FRANCISCO — The global credit crisis may have caused the decline in consumer and business spending that is assaulting the giants of high tech. But as the dominant technology companies try to emerge from this slump, they may find themselves blaming people like David Title just as much as they blame Wall Street.

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Mr. Title, a 35-year-old new-media manager at a film production company in New York, has dropped his cable subscription and moved to watching most of his television online — free. While shopping for a new laptop for his girlfriend recently, he sidestepped more expensive full-featured computers and picked a bare-bones, $200 Asus EeePC laptop, also known as a netbook.

“We’ve reached one of those moments in tech history when there are low-priced and free alternatives that are both user-friendly and reliable enough to make the switch,” Mr. Title said. “Then there’s the extra bonus of saving some cash.”

You can read the whole thing here.

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Cuil Fails At Naming Itself. Preview of their Future Failure.

is anyone listening?

There is an overwhelming amount of press today about the new search engine cuil.com.

So far, I have learned that is was started by ex-Googlers and that it is pronouced “cool.”

Yes, nearly everyone is saying there is no way they can beat Google or even come close to competing in the search market for all sorts of technical reasons but I have yet to see anyone come right out and tell it like it is:

It will fail because nobody can pronounce it.  And when you finally learn how they would like you to pronouce their madeup word you feel like punching them in the face.

I never liked the whole “drop a vowel” school of web 2.0 site naming (fickr, et. al.) but this whole make up a word and make it sound like a word we already have is truly ridiculous.

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I Call Shenanigans on Viral Video


My first guest post ever is up on Tilzy.tv!

It is a look at what is being called “viral” video and why that is a wild misnomer.  Here’s a little excerpt:

“Viral video.  Sounds good, doesn’t it?  Those sexy “v” sounds and the sense of something unstoppable, un-killable.  No wonder the term has become so popular.  It has also become a sort of Holy Grail for content producers, ad execs and brand managers across the world.

And, like the Holy Grail, viral video is at best an ancient legend and at worst a pipe dream.  Thousands will seek it only to go down in flames, confused and lost. 

Over the past week or so I have been bookmarking posts on the various advertising and new media blogs that have had something to say about “viral” video and I’m left a wondering just who is blowing all this smoke up who’s ass and why it’s continuing with no end in sight.”

Head over to Tilzy to read the whole thing.

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New Media Mirroring Old Hollywood?

I found this post over on SAI really insightful.  The basic premise is that the professional/semi-pro world of New Media is behaving a whole lot like good ol’ fashioned Hollywood. For example, they point out:

“This industry features vast numbers of candidate projects, produced at a grass-roots level and almost always initially financed by the creators themselves. Are we talking about indie films shot on video — or the latest Facebook App?”

Looking ahead, SAI sees a number of outcomes of we can predict and are already witnessing.  I especially like this point:

“Newcomers will arrive in droves — and will have high motivation to make heavy sacrifices. Actors wait tables. Musicians barely eat. Writers flat-out starve. Granted, these people usually desire fame, and web entrepreneurs a successful exit. But both groups share a common goal to motivate them through hard times: they all want to follow their own creative vision, a rewarding job benefit in itself.”

Last night at the Film in the City event where I spoke, I was chatting with an associate who was an early entrant into the world of web video.  He saw a huge market opening up and dove in, eager to reap the rewards of the first on the scene.  A couple of years later and instead of having a big piece of the pie to himself he is watching most of the work go to those just arriving at the game and happy to undercut him if it gets them on the field.

Go check out the whole post for more insights and predictions.

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New Media and the Generation Gap(s)

There was a brief post on SAI that floated the notion that one reason for the monetary lag when it comes to online spending in both content creation and ad dollars is that “people buying media are at least a generation or so removed from the way in which people are truly consuming video and media.”

This feels like a reasonable claim.  While there are many people out there over the age of thirty singing the praises of new media they do not tend to be the ones in the positions of power.

There is a tone of energy and excitement out there in terms of the end user but the content that is available just doesn’t live up to expectations largely because the people who are prepared to create the next wave of really cool “stuff” (videos, games, ARGS, who-knows-what) just aren’t getting the kind of financial support necessary.

In this DIY age the desire to get out there and just do it is so strong that few are willing to wait around for that support to come so they forge ahead mostly on dreams and credit cards.  When they burn out they leave what “could’ve been a contender” scattered across the web.

Perhaps some of the younger tech millionaires will decide to put their money into the next wave of kids like them instead of getting scared and holding onto all their money for pet projects or a rainy day.

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Did AdWeek Just Wake Up From a Coma?

There is a somewhat amusing post in one of the supposed titans of the advertising trade, AdWeek, in which the author breaks the news that digital media might threaten traditional TV!  No way!

“Who would have believed that consumers would move away from listening to music on home and car stereos and toward personal music devices and computers? The same conventional wisdom about needing television to watch video content could be equally wrong. If you believe that watching TV is inherently social, or something that we are willing to do only in our living rooms instead of on our PCs or mobile phones, watch out! The music analogy proves that old habits can die fast, and consumers will likely embrace multiple screen sizes and formats for watching movies and television.”

It’s not that anything in this article is wrong but making it seem like new information honestly makes me worried for the industry as a whole.

If AdWeek, an industry leader, is just waking up to these issues maybe the industry really and truly is screwed.


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