CAT | Monetizing
Connecting With Fans Means More Than Talking About Your Latest Work http://t.co/ScZsyhwM
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 http://t.co/e8ccL5qs
I think branded video – where a company or brand puts up all the production money in order to present their brand. This article from VideoInsider.com 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 http://t.co/TxW4SJLf
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? http://t.co/o0F6gIm
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 http://tinyurl.com/3emfl46
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? http://tinyurl.com/3ue2fmr
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? http://tinyurl.com/6lcxj6e
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.
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.
Jonathan Coulton Making Half A Million A Year – No Record Label http://tinyurl.com/3kms62l
Jonathan has been at the forefront of those connecting with fans, and it’s working out pretty well for him. He sells his music with a Creative Commons (Some rights reserved, i.e. licensing and making money from it) so it’s impossible to pirate what’s freely exchangable.
And yet, he’s making really good money selling music, merchandise and concert tickets.
More to the point, he’s doing better than the vast majority of music acts that get picked up by the major record labels. If Coulton had signed with them, he’d be hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt!
Of course, defenders of the old system will insist that he’s an “exception,” but, really, just how many exceptions do we need until people realize that the market is changing rapidly, and those who embrace new models and new methods of distribution are finding that they can make a lot more money than they did in the past.
The comments are as interesting as the article.
Artists Don’t Think Piracy Hurts Them Financially, Study Shows http://tinyurl.com/3dtm7kk
Big Media pretends to speak for artists but in reality they are only in the business for themselves and frequently take money out of artists pockets, quite deliberately. (more…)
Kevin Smith’s Red State Experiment Has Already Paid for Itself http://tinyurl.com/4ybp2ql
Kevin Smith announced that he would auction off the rights to Red State after a Sundance screening and then infamously sold them to himself, leading to a rant about the state of distribution for independent movies.
He planned on doing a series of screenings-with-director events leading up to an October theatrical release. Well, according to reports he’s already close to, or achieved, payback of the $4 million budget.
Kevin Smith’s latest passion project Red State has already paid for itself, six months before it actually sees full theatrical release. Thanks to an ambitious multi-city road trip in which Smith traveled to screenings of the movie and spoke with audiences afterward, Red Statehas already made back the $4 million budget production company SMODcast Pictures invested in the film.
Now Kevin Smith comes with a built-in fan base that he’s cultivated over the years (and that is indeed part of any success in this new paradigm – first Connect with your Fans) but it’s not only working for Smith:
That said, Smith isn’t the only filmmaker experimenting with new types of distribution. Edward Burns, for instance, distributed his latest feature film, Nice Guy Johnny, direct to iTunes, VOD and DVD last year, skipping theatrical release altogether. Indie filmmaker Sebastian Gutierrez distributed his Girl Walks Into a Bar directly to YouTube. And Pixar CTO and independent film producer Oren Jacob used a mix of social media and food banksto boost the profile of his documentary Ready, Set, Bag!