Category Archives: Monetizing

Former NBC Entertainment Chief Discovers Watching TV With Commercials Really Sucks!

Former NBC Entertainment Chief Discovers Watching TV With Commercials Really Sucks! So out of touch it’s unbelievable.

I’ve long hated commercials and want a reasonably priced alternative. By reasonably priced I mean that the price I pay is about the same as the revenue from advertising (25-65c per person per program) not the usurious prices through available outlets.

After watching earlier seasons of The Walking Dead on Netflix, iTunes and recorded on his DVR he caught up and watched an episode live and had this reaction:

“We watched that live,” he said. “It was not nearly as good. The commercials broke the tension. We had watched the other episodes with blankets over our heads. I hate to say this to the AMC executives and everybody else in the business, but I will never watch ‘Walking Dead’ live again.”

So, when you’re running the entertainment business for an ad supported broadcast network, ads are just fine! But when you’re a viewer, they’re not?

Connecting With Fans Means More Than Talking about Your Latest Work

Connecting With Fans Means More Than Talking About Your Latest Work

I’ve long agreed with Techdirt that connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy something (at a reasonable price) is the model for indie financing of project.

For years, we’ve talked about this concept of Connect with Fans + Reason to Buy (CwF + RtB), and too frequently have assumed that the really difficult part is the RtB side of the equation. But it’s really amazing just how many artists have trouble with CwF as well. And this is a great explanation of why. We often hear from artists who say, “well, I have a Twitter and a Facebook feed, but it doesn’t work.” And then you go and look at the feed, and all it is is them announcing, “I just released this work,” or “I’m performing at such-and-such on December 10th,” or whatever. It’s not just that there’s little interaction, but that there’s little that’s interesting.

It wasn’t until I found a way to use Twitter to share news items I found interesting (which, btw, get reproduced back here, where I write more) that I even got on Twitter.

Let’s Get Serious — Branded Video is about the Information.

Let’s Get Serious — Branded Video Is About The Information

I think branded video – where a company or brand puts up all the production money in order to present their brand.  This article from jumps from an “interesting” statistic, to examine what brands want, or need ,out of their investment in video.

Our research has shown that consumers are not typing brand names into Google to download commercials to their PCs.  They’re searching for information.  Through our research for a large electronics company, we learned that consumers weren’t searching for information about how to choose a camera, but were searching for information on how to use one to take pictures of babies, weddings, kids, etc.  That insight was invaluable in crafting our branded online video strategy for the company, which focused on providing consumers with information on how to take the best pictures — using their brand of cameras, of course — rather than a commercial about which of their cameras consumers can buy.

Good statistics and background in the article.

Congress seeks to tame the Internet.

Congress seeks to tame the Internet

A terrific article by Nancy Scola at Salon goes into detail why SOPA/PROTECT IP is such a bad idea for the Internet. I strongly recommend you read the whole article as it’s hard to excerpt just part, but I thought this was important:

When it comes to talking about SOPA, it is important to remember this: You can think that “intellectual property” infringement (not only of movies and music, but knockoff Nikes sold online) is bad for the American economy and still think the legislation is a disaster. Not only would the bill likely do little to address the problem of online content fraud and counterfeiting, but it takes aim at the core features of the Internet that have contributed a great deal to the American economy.


Just How Rich Are These YouTube Stars?

Just How Rich Are These YouTube Stars?

The rankings go from just over $100,000 a year up to $300,000 a year. Even for team productions that’s still a decent income from online video. And just like the traditional market, a few people are making good money, and a whole lot more people are making little to nothing from their online video efforts.

But at least it can be done, and young Lucas Cruikshank (a.k.a. “Fred”) with an estimated $149,000 income this year, probably doesn’t have to worry about college tuition fees, if he even wants to go to college.

In other news, Goodnight Burbank has secured a “real” TV deal with Mark Cuban’s HD Net. That’s in addition to the Hulu distribution that they’ve already had. Don’t know what sort of money is involved in the deal, but it’s a long way from the first Goodnight Burbank episodes.

Trivia item: My interview with Hayden Black on the Digital Production BuZZ in October 2007 was his first media interview about the show.



The Trivialities and Transcendence of Kickstarter

The Trivialities and Transcendence of Kickstarter

The question of how to fund our various independent projects is a constant question in an era of democratized production. I’ve already written (and done a Terence and Philip Show about) branded media, because I believe that will be an important part of the funding future. But at the grassroots level, fan funding has proved successful for many artists, and in the case of Kickstarter, for projects other than music and video based.

So what kind of “creative projects” does Kickstarter enable? Well, a couple of artists raised $2,181 to send funny handwritten letters to every household in Pittsburgh’s Polish Hill neighborhood; someone pulled in $8,441 to help finance the creation of “a searchable ethnographic databasebuilt from the lyrics of over 40,000 hip-hop songs”; a couple of people got $30,030 to publish a version of “Huckleberry Finn” that replaces Mark Twain’s use of a notorious racial epithet with the word “robot.” At times the sums have been a good bit larger: $67,436 to build a statue of Robocopin Detroit; $161,744 to make a computer-animated adaptation of a Neil Gaiman story; and nearly $1 million in pledges to finance a band to wear iPod Nanos as wristwatches.

It’s a long article but if you care about fan funding, it’s well worth the read.

All My Children a killer app?

All My Children a killer app?

You may have heard the announcement that All My Children and One Life to Live (cancelled ABC Soap Operas) are heading to Internet distribution. (In this context “app” means use not literally a software application). He runs the numbers on whether or not this could work financially – something I’m always interested in.

Fifty million dollars is $192,000 per episode or $4,370 per finished minute based on 44 minute shows. That’s a lot of money but a lot less than primetime TV budgets. It’s also the absolute most any soap has ever cost with most costing less. Certainly there are some savings to be found in there. Let’s claim a 20 percent labor savings from moving to the Internet, bringing per minute costs down to $3,496.

Actually, there are plenty of additional savings. Some savings will come from lower labor costs as actors accept smaller paychecks as an alternative to retirement or unemployment. But an even greater savings will come from any Internet soap’s ability to offer online every episode ever broadcast — the long tail — at an effective production cost of $0 per hour.

If a third of Internet viewers are watching old episodes that drops the effective cost of new episodes by a third, so we are down to $2,342 per finished minute.

With sponsorship he brings it down to around $2,000 a finished minute and then compares it with the (rumored/reported) budgets for YouTube’s future professional channels.

According toVariety, YouTube will shortly bring some professional channels to its service with budgets of $1000-$3000 per finished minute.

My biggest concern about this particular example – not about the trend to Internet delivery and alternate funding in general – is that the target market for the Soaps may not be technically savvy enough to pick up and continue on the Internet.

How Do You Measure the Value of a Branded Web Series

How Do You Measure the Value of a Branded Web Series?

As regular readers will know, I’m a big fan of branded media. Like soap operas of days gone by, branded media is a single sponsorship of music, film or web video projects. Of course, one of the problems with any media investment by a brand – be it with branded media or advertising – is measuring the effectiveness.

Wilson Cleveland of CJP Digital who has made a name for himself as a producer of branded content has a formula for assessing monetary value of the media to the brand:

And in working with brands, he’s created a formula by which the actual monetary value of a branded web series can be measured for the brand. “We’re in a position to calculate a different kind of ROI than ad plays and impressions,” Cleveland said via phone. The basic purpose is to evaluate things from an earned media perspective.

Branded media is at least only giving us one brand message, and one presumes it’s done in a way that is at least sympathetic to the media’s content.