Hey, have you been watching that new webseries, “Lost in America” starring YouTube sensation iJustine? Well, neither has anybody else.
“After two weeks, the series had generated just 31,000 views across YouTube, MySpace and four other sites, according to web video distribution firm Tubemogul. The only reason they racked up that many is that iJustine posted episodes one and six on her blog, bringing in 20,000 of that total.” (via)
There are plenty of reasons why their numbers could be so low but, after watching just one episode, it becomes pretty clear the reason is that the series is a not very entertaining infomercial:
TechCrunch pointed me to GirlInYourShirt, a site that offers up the promotional services on one cute young woman who, for $75, will spend the day in your company t-shirt, posting vlogs, blogs and tweets all about you and your services.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Is this the next wave of DIY PR? Perhaps. I guess the question is whether or not she has that much of an audience to begin with. If not, it is unlikely to get much interest from promoters around the globe.
It wasn’t all that long ago that the way every young director hoping to make his or her mark would make a short film and send it out on the festival circuit.
Of course, that was before YouTube made online video mainstream. First, we saw a fair number of short films online but now, it seems, more folks are going the web-series route, to various levels of success.
The excellent Tilzy.tv have posts on two such indie webseries, CATACLYSMO and THE BICYCLIST.
“The two spent $20,000 making the web show [BICYCLIST], $30,000 making the movie, and they expect total costs to rise to $100,000 all told when the movie is marketed and distributed. That’s not much for say, a venture-backed web studio, but for folks who make a web show on weekends, it’s quite a bit of cash.”
Yup, and they’ve received fewer than 500,00 views for the series. BUT that is one hell of a lot more bang for your buck than you’ll get at a minor film festival with your short film!
These days, you’d have to be crazy to think a film fest will be your route to the big times.
Timely post on NTV that goes back to the essential question for web video: what is a view?
This time, the videos in question are part of a new web series, Imaginary Bitches, starring All My Children actress Eden Reigel:
“Pointing to the inbound links on each IB vid on YouTube, our tipster noted the high number of views coming from suspicious MySpace profiles. For example, Episode 1 links include 4,463 views from Pam/Jenna (a fake Office profile). Episode 7 links include 18,938 views from Leona Lewis (a UK pop artist). There are several more examples, with each MySpace profile showing the video in the comments field, never embedded by the actual profile owner. Sometimes the videos appear in comments far removed from the profile’s front page.
Andrew Miller, the series creator and writer, denies any wrongdoing.”
Whether or not someone is pumping up the numbers is less of an issue than whether or not one can confirm or deny the validity of a view at all. Until someone figures this out web video will continue to struggle to find ways to cashify.
There is a neat piece in NTV about the battle to be the #1 Most Viewed Video on YouTube. For quite some time that spot has been held by a video called “The Evolution of Dance” clocking it at 90,071,493 as of 6:00 PM on June 26th.
The #2 spot is held by popstar Avril Lavigne and her video “Girlfriend” at 89,284,333.
Avril’s “people” really want her to be #1 and they are willing to do anything to get her there. This includes:
“To fire up the all the Sk8ter Bois and girls for this web video battle royale, the somewhat-creepily titled AvrilBandAids.com has set up a “refresher” page to try and game the system. Keep the page open and it will refresh the Lavigne video page on YouTube every 15 seconds.”
This all begs the question, what do these views mean? And if you can trick the system so easily does your view rank even matter?
Obviously, legitimate metrics are going to be key to increasing our ability to cashify our new media content. For now, YouTube view count seems to be a respected number but if things continue like this it won’t mean much for long.
Here is the Evolution of Dance Video (the Avril video has embedding disabled at her request…)
I really feel for Chris Albrecht over on NewTeeVee as he tried to understand what the hell makes something like “Fred” happen:
“Sometimes I just feel so…out of touch. Who is “Fred” and why is he so freaking huge on YouTube? Seriously. He has four of the site’s top 20 videos this month, attracting a total of more than 12.7 million plays. Of the 16 videos he’s posted, only three have not cracked the one million-play mark (and one of those three was just added today).”
In fact, this sort of phenomenom drives everybody in the business of trying to be successful with web video content. Why does some seemingly random kid come out of nowhere and command 7-figure viewcounts while thousands of “professionally” created videos languish in obscurity?
If you’re hoping for an answer from me, sorry. I truly believe that “viral” video is truly that – viral. You can’t make it happen. Why is this kid the flavor of the moment? Who the hell knows. It doesn’t really matter. It’s cool and hard to predict, like hurricanes or tornadoes. We know they’re going to happen. We just have know idea where or when.
Oh, here’s Fred:
There is a bunch of interesting data from the latest study from Nielsen Online (as highlighted by CNet).
First off, I am sort of amazed that the youngest category is 2-11. Yup, 2-year-olds are watching web video. How much?
“On average, the kids watched 51 video streams from home during April, spending almost two hours on video clips. That usage outstrips the average of nearly 75 million adults who regularly view video clips at sites like ESPN.com and CNN.com. On average in April, adults of voting age watched 44 video streams, for about 1 hour and 40 minutes of their time.”
Even more compelling, or as CNet puts it…
“Slightly disturbing, the site with the highest concentration of 12- to 17-year-olds, or 44 percent of this age group, was Stickam.com, a hub for live Webcams of people in their bedrooms. Atlantic Records and Epic Records were runners-up in that category.”
A tad sensationalist perhaps as a quick look at Stickam will show that the main reason for all the bedrooms is that’s where the kids have their computers and webcams. It is not a seething hotbed of teen sex, as the media hopes/fears.
Instead, it is an interesting step for live video – something that older generations seem to shy away from. The ability to do easy web-video chat has been around in one form or another for a while now and I see very little evidence of its adoption by the 30+ set.