Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Streaming Media West - New Media Production: Building an Independent Media Brand

Following yesterdays post on the power personal media, this post is about the Streaming Media West session on New Media Production: Building an Independent Media Brand. Over the last few years I've seen a growing trend of more online video content producers at Streaming Media West. This year with more panel sessions focusing on original and personal media production, online video publishing strategies, video blogging and with the LG15 creators presenting one of the Keynotes, it's proof that original content and independent media brands are becoming a mainstay within the industry.

With online video stars like Gary Vaynerchuk competing in the same space as Hulu, this "middle ground" as Brian Steinberg describes it in his Advertising Age post It Surely Isn't 'Lost,' but Online Video Finds Ad Niche:Programs Not Ready for Prime Time Still Prime for Marketing Dollars is safe but not ready for prime time yet. Steinberg said, "The theory starting to emerge is that more advertisers will find themselves associating with characters such as Mr. Vaynerchuk, even though their shows look little like ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" or NBC's "Heroes."
Gary Vee says, "All the pizzazz, the cameras, the lighting and the miking, I think for lack of a better word, it's a lot of bull crap in the social-media world... When people are consuming information online, there is definitely a charisma and a charm to the bare-bones approach."
Steinberg spoke with Andy Forrsell, senior VP-content and distribution at Hulu, who said, "I think this is going to be an interesting chunk of audience that is passionate... Does Gary have slightly lesser production values? Absolutely," he said, but "these are people that pay a lot of money" for high-quality wine, and "this is an audience that people want to get to."

But even with an original brand how do you build your audience and fund your work?

One option is to create your brand and join a "niche video network" as Dan Rayburn calls them in his blog post, Niche Video Networks: Can Content Owners Make Money? He says, "In the past 12-18 months, niche video networks or micro video networks as some call them, such as For Your Imagination and Next New Networks have ramped up their offerings for small content producers trying to gain their business. At the same time, video platforms like Babelgum and Brightcove are also competing for these same content owners and the differences between a network and a platform continue to confuse people. These types of aggregators and networks offer content creators a promising new vehicle for syndicating and monetizing content that would be hard to do on their own, but many of those content owners keep asking what exactly the niche video networks offer and how the business relationship works?"

Here's the video from the Streaming Media West panel session that featured a panel of producers, entrepreneurs and new media analysts who discussed their strategies for building an independent media brand.

New Media Production: Building an Independent Media Brand
Track A: (A104) 2:45 PM - 3:45 PM

IP distribution has enabled the development of a new, small-scale professional video production model, and democratized media has been described as effectively enabling a “middle class” of independent professional video producers. But as the industry develops, access and marketing have proven critical factors to the ultimate success of a series. Can a new media producer achieve success without forging the kind of high-level relationships necessary to secure prominent placement on established entertainment websites? Hear how new media producers navigate this landscape from concept development to distribution, licensing, and marketing.

Moderator:Jamison Tilsner, Founder/Blogger, Tilzy.TV
Presenters:Will Coghlan, Co-Founder, Senior Producer, Hudson Street Media
Yuri Baranovsky, Creator, Producer, Break a Leg
Sarah Szalavitz, Co-Founder & CEO, 7 Robot
Adriana Gascoigne, Director of Corporate Communications, hi5

See my interview with Adriana that I posted a few weeks ago, Streaming Media West Interview with Adriana Gascoigne | Larry Kless's Weblog, that I recorded after the session. She offered advise to video and new media students recommending that they learn new media tools and engage in distribution networks.