Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tim Street Publishes Free eBook, "10 Things You Should Do Before You Upload Your Online Video"

Online video veteran and viral video producer Tim Street published his first eBook yesterday titled, "10 Things You Should Do Before You Upload Your Online Video" which is available for free on his website. Targeted at those who are new to online video or those who just want to have a check list to run through to better optimize your videos and social media strategy. Aptly titled, it covers the 10 key things online video producers should ask themselves before hitting the upload button. Tim gives solid, practical advise that he's learned from his years of experience in the field staring with the fundamentals of defining your objectives and goals to having a conversation with your audience.

Well known in the new media and web television world, Tim is a Writer, Producer, Director and Digital Entertainment / Social Media Specialist who is available as an Adviser to help companies and individuals map out their strategy for creating, producing, acting and distributing online video. Tim is also the Creator and Executive Producer of the popular viral video Series French Maid TV with over 30 Million Downloads of his online videos.

Here's Tim's 10 Things You Should Do Before You Upload Your Online Video:

1. Know Your Overall Goals
2. Create Key Art That Sells
3. Make Sure You Have the Best Thumbnail Possible
4. Create Industry Marketing Tools
5. Sell Out and Find a Sponsor
6. Make Friends Who Buy Digital Ink By the Barrel
7. Know What You Want People to Say About You
8. Promote Your Video Everywhere You Can Without Being a Jerk
9. Have a Distribution Plan
10. Have a Conversation With Your Audience.

Download the eBook to get Tim's full commentary and sage wisdom.

Also, there's still time to sign up for his webinar, "Make Money with Funny Videos" scheduled on Thursday, October 01, 2009 from 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM (PT) and "A Sexy Webinar" French Maid TV's How To Buy Lingerie" sponsored by with Dimdim on Sunday, October 18, 2009 from 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM (ET).

Visit http://1timstreet.com to learn more about online video and upcoming webinars.

About Tim Street
Chief Creative / CEO APE Digital Inc.
Tim Street is a Writer, Producer, Director, and Creator/Executive Producer of the popular viral video French Maid TV. As one of the industry’s most successful viral video producers, his online videos have totaled over 35 million downloads and his productions constantly skyrocket to the top of the charts. In addition to creating online viral videos, Tim is a sought after paid speaker and award-winning short form director. In 2008 Tim launched APE Digital a multi-platform digital studio that focuses on the creation and acquisition of emotionally engaging content for young men. In 2009 Tim was inducted into the International Academy of Web Television. Tim blogs at 1TimStreet.com. He resides in Los Angeles and is represented by United Talent Agency.

The eBook "10 Things You Should Do Before You Upload Your Online Video" by ©2009 Tim Street.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Livestream Launches Live Mobile HD Streaming with Livepack, Say Goodbye to Expensive Satellite Uplink Trucks

Today, Livestream launched Livepack, a totally wireless turn-key hardware solution for live mobile HD streaming. Through a partnership with LiveU, makers of hand-held video uplink devices, Livestream offers a unique bundled solution that combines a hardware device with their live streaming platform. This solution addresses the needs of video producers and video professionals who need to broadcast live anytime, from anywhere and on-the-go with video up to HD quality at 700-1000 kbps. 

Livepack is a portable device that fits into a backpack and includes six load-balanced 3G/EVDO modems for redundancy over three carriers (AT&T, Verizon and Sprint) with data plans are that covered within the price. It allows you to go anywhere with a complete roaming camera setup and aimed to replace the expense of a traditional satellite uplink truck and satellite time. 

While live mobile streaming is not new with companies like Qik.com, Flixwagon and Bambuser having been on the market for a few years, according to Livestream CEO Max Haot, mobile phone streaming is not a viable option if you want to live stream an event. 

I spoke with Max yesterday and he pointed out that, 
"You're not going to stream a two hour event using a mobile phone due to the battery life, the quality of the lens, the zoom, but more importantly also the fact that's it's only one 3G network which is usually unreliable. So the other option that has been available to people needing to do wireless live streaming has been traditional broadcast satellite. This type of equipment is hugely expensive (up to $50,000 a day) and most live streaming events can't afford it. It's usually reserved for television."
Max added that if you're an event organizer and you want to live stream today you either have to make sure you have a wifi connection, laptop, camera or any sort of feed to encode reliably on the Internet using a platform such as theirs. But if you want to do it wirelessly where you don't have a connection available which is the case in most venues, or if you want to be on the move and create a roaming camera feed, there's been no solution out there at the quality you need to live stream something serious like an event. But now with their solution, Livepack is like having a satellite television truck in a backpack.

The technology was originally built by their partner LiveU really aimed to replace the satellite broadcast truck and the prime market was really broadcasters. LiveU has been building this technology for the last few years and have been selling it to NBC and others. So instead of bringing back an event feed from a truck they are bringing back the feed using a LiveU device. Max said that at Livestream they've paid attention to it and started to integrate it more and more over the last six to eight months. They actually announced the first relationship with LiveU at NAB in March and as both they and their joint customers used it more Livestream realized they needed to integrate it deeply into their service.

They way the service works is that Livestream bundles the hardware and service plan in either a monthly or annual rental fee. The Livepack device is easy to use and accepts a direct DV camera feed into the FireWire port. There's a touchscreen to control the box and three hours of battery life included or you can either have external batteries. Once you turn it on all you do is press the start button and it goes directly live into your Livestream channel. 

Max explained that their unique offering is possible through three real breakthroughs, 
"The first is the fact that it's fully integrated from one vendor including the CDN, the player and all the features of our (the Livestream) platform and the hardware. The second part is that instead of using a laptop at an event you now have a ruggedized piece of equipment with a touchscreen. There's really no moving parts, you can put it in a backpack which is pretty innovative instead of playing with laptops at an event. The third piece is the most important is the technology that we fully integrated with Live U which are six load-balanced 3G/EVDO modems over three carriers which are included, activated and the data plans are covered within the price."
Max noted that with a combination of these modems and the technology it takes the video feed internally from the encoder and splits it over all the available bandwidth on the six modems, sends it directly to their cloud where they recompose the feed and integrate into the Livestream's platform. It's a great application for red carpets, backstage at concerts, sporting events, town hall meetings, ceremonies, transmitting from a moving car, and a variety of enterprise applications. Livepack was recently used for coverage of the MTV Video Music Awards, NY Fashion Week, Harry Potter movie premiere and Pixie Lott Live.

So say goodbye to those expensive satellite uplink costs because wireless live streaming at HD quality just got better.

For more info visit www.livestream.com/livepack

Availability and Pricing
Livestream Livepack is available in the U.S. for monthly or yearly rental directly from Livestream, and includes the hardware unit, custom designed backpack, dedicated IP address for the Livestream channel, all 3G/EVDO network charges, and 30 hours of streaming uplink time per month. Neither a DV camera nor tripod are included. Month-to-month rental without commitment is $2,500 per month plus the cost of shipping. Yearly rental is $1,500 per month plus the cost of shipping. To order Livepack, email: getlivepack@livestream.com

About Livestream
Livestream (formerly Mogulus) provides everything needed to easily webcast live, build an engaged audience and monetize these efforts. Founded in 2007, the company is based in New York and includes Gannett Co. as a minority shareholder and investor. Producers can use Livestream to create live, linear and on-demand Internet television to broadcast anywhere on the Web through a single embeddable player widget. The service comes in two flavors: Free (ad-supported) and Premium (ad-free, white-label, higher-quality). Unique features include the ability to mix multiple live cameras, overlay graphics, and desktop streaming with 3D effects.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

CEO Conversations: Peter Csathy, Sorenson Media - Part Two

In part two of this CEO Conversations with Peter Csathy, we talk more about how Sorenson Media differentiates itself within the market and Peter offers his mid-year review of the online video space. We also talk about how in the midst of the economic recession his company continues to grow and hire more positions. Earlier this month, Sorenson Media reported that the number of international visitors to its Web site now exceeds domestic traffic as a result of the demand for the company’s digital video solutions. International sales are up and Peter attributed that to "a direct result of our established brand name and reputation for quality,” adding that, “It is also a testament to how important online video is becoming to businesses globally.”

In part one, Peter described their offering as the portfolio approach where you have the products and services. While they have the video publishing platform of Sorenson 360, they also have the separate encoding solution, Sorenson Squeeze which can work seamlessly together or completely independently. 

Here's the conclusion of our conversation:

Larry Kless: Last month Sorenson Media issued a press release that said, Sorenson Media Plans Further Expansion to Meet Growing Demand for Innovative Online Video Services, can you speak to that statement and further expand upon what you've been quoted there?

Peter Csathy: So, the exciting thing about this space, when we talk about the macro environment is that it's crazy economic times. It's very painful out there and we all know that. At the same time, we in the online or Internet video space who provide the toolsets (and there are a number of companies), all of us are very good position because the market for our kinds of services and technology is growing literally exponentially. So these are good times for our company.

And as a result
, you see hiring going on with other companies that are in and around the space rather than retrenchment. We've already done significant hiring since I've come on board and we're continuing to do that. So we have a number of job reqs right now and we're about to announce some very important hires very soon for both the San Diego office and the Salt Lake office. The reason being is this massive opportunity that we're extremely bullish on and we're already capitalizing on. But this is just the beginning, we believe in what I'd like to say, the second inning of a nine inning game.

Larry Kless: Pete Wylie just gave us a mid-year review, and Will Richmond how much funding there's been in the online video space  this year. So there's no question that there's continued innovation and continued funding. Based on that, what's your mid-year review and where do you see the industry is going and where Sorenson Media has gone and will boldy go?

Peter Csathy: Well, let's talk about the industry first, and this gets back to the discussion we've already had. There's a tremendous opportunity in any two of a nine inning game. That's where we are. As pervasive as Internet video is today this is only the beginning haven't seen any yet. Nobody's denied that there's this opportunity that's significant, and there will be plenty of room for many winners in that space.

Having said that, as a mid-year review, you see almost on a weekly basis a new entrant coming into the space. Let's face it, there are a lot of challenges for the breakout players within the universe of companies that are now trying to compete in that space. So the reality is, especially during tough economic times, that there will be a lot of shuttering of doors in many of the various participants who are trying to be winners in the space. You've already seen that with a number of companies including some that have been funded by some very big names that have come and gone. That doesn't mean the overall market opportunity is going away. It just means that you need to have a compelling reason to for customers to come to you and use your service. You need to be differentiated.

When we look at our company and where we fit into the ecosystem, I've mentioned some of these points already, we're uniquely situated in many different ways. So I won't repeat them all, but from a funding perspective we don't face the challenges that most others do. We've been around for fourteen years, we have a portfolio of services with multiple revenue streams. We have our Spark licensing business, our Squeeze sales business and our subscription SaaS (Software as a Service) business, Sorenson 360. We've been profitable for a number of years and we have a very healthy balance sheet. So we don't need to go out to the external world and raise money.

We're in very fortunate position where we're a successful stand-alone business and we're positioned well. We have a strong brand and we know who we're trying to meet the needs of, and we're not trying to be everything to everybody. We're looking at solving the problem and providing solutions to the video professionals until that space grows itself exponentially. We believe that we're positioned to be a winner in that space.

Now just a final thought, that doesn't mean we're complacent at all. We know that there's a lot of smart people out there doing a lot of great things. We need to always stay ahead of the others and continue to innovate. We have a history of fifteen years but we need to look at each day as a brand new day and not look in the past. That's the challenge that we face as a business just like any other business. We believe we have the right team to meet that challenge and we definitely have the passion internally to make that happen.

End of this CEO Conversation.

Sorenson Media is a platinum sponsor of the Online Video Platform Summit and will be showcasing Sorenson 360 at the two-day event designed to help organizations of all types, not just those for whom video is their core business. Additionally, Peter will be speaking on a panel session at the Online Video Platform Summit which will be held on November 18-19 in conjunction with Streaming Media West in San Jose, and is designed for video publishers of all types and sizes, whether small businesses looking to publish content for the first time, independent entertainment content creators, large media organizations, or anywhere in between. 

For more updates: Sorenson Media Blog

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

CEO Conversations: Peter Csathy, Sorenson Media's Digital Media Mastermind

Since Peter Csathy took the helm of Sorenson Media as President and CEO, the 14-year old company has expanded the capabilities of its core customer base by launching an easy-to-use and cost effective video delivery network, Sorenson 360. By combining Sorenson Squeeze encoding tools with Sorenson 360, small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) and video professionals, have a dedicated workflow that extends into online video workflow. According to Dan Rayburn, EVP of Streamingmedia.com, who spent several months reviewing the product a hands on review, he said, "Sorenson Has A Winner With Their New 360 Video Platform." Dan provides a thoughtful review and gave Sorenson 360 a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 and noted that Sorenson 360 was designed to address the needs of the SMBs and bundles all the key services including transcoding, storage, delivery, analytics, player customization all within an easy to use system.

Here's a brand new About Sorenson Media video, that makes an exclusive world premiere right here on this blog, in which Peter illustrates the key features and benefits of the Sorenson 360 video delivery network.

The following is recent conversation I had with Peter to catch up on the latest developments at his company. He also shares his perspective on monetizing of online video, the importance of high quality video encoding and what differentiates Sorenson 360 from the offerings of the many online video platform providers in the space. This is part one of the two part interview.

Larry Kless: I was just on your blog and I saw that, It's Official -- Sorenson 360 Now Features Secure Vid Review & Customizable Player Options, was that the announcement, could you explain that product launch?

Peter Csathy: Yes it was so just yesterday we introduced we significantly enhanced Soresnson 360 into the marketplace and it's a good day because the reception to date has been great couldn't ask for more.

Larry Kless: You also mentioned in your blog post that there was some critical differentiating reasons why Sorenson is in this crowded marketplace could you go into that then and then maybe talk about it but even before that what's so important about those new features?

Peter Csathy: So with respect to Sorenson 360, what we introduce yesterday there were really two primary features but from other important enhancements and we've addressed these very quickly from our initial initial launch back in May because our customers and prospective customers were really looking for these features and it surprised us that many of these were much larger groups of SMBs then we originally anticipated so that's a very good thing, and the two features that they wanted most were secure review and approval. So what we implemented is this secure password protected video. So now let's take an ad agency for example they can have their videos, they can then share them with their clients in a secure format and their clients are comfortable sharing this and they can then collaborate directly around that video in a way that makes them feel very comfortable.

So secure video with password protection was an important part of the launch yesterday. The second major enhancement is the fact that we introduced customizable players so now, as an example, video professionals and SMBs can add their own logos, they can choose the buttons and what they want on the players, the look of the players, the feel of the player and this was something that was requested very heavily from the users and prospective users. So those were the two major enhancements yesterday that quite frankly customers asked for so we listened to that and put it on the fast track in terms of development.

Larry Kless: When we've spoken in the past you described that with the launch of Sorenson 360 that you've been really in tune with your customer base and it's clear that you continue to keep in tune with them and to make enhancements based on customer demand and make it easy for them to publish a video online.

Peter Csathy: This gets back to your question about differentiation and how we look at the overall publishing market. There are a number of players and participants and it's a growing list of companies that are addressing this video publishing market and this tremendous opportunity is available to all. You know you go from companies looking to address needs of the consumer and then those who are addressing the needs of the enterprise and then there's this square in the middle where we have the SMBs, what we call the video professionals. That's our bread and butter. We know those customers, those SMBs and video professionals because we have been working with them for years and years and years. So we have an ongoing relationship with them because they've been using Squeeze for years and this is a customer base we know.

With this massive existing customer base of Squeeze users we are able to create products around them based on what they're looking for and they told us what they were looking for and that's what the genesis of Sorenson 360. The major differentiator of ours versus other players in the marketplace is that we are singularly focused on meeting the needs of the video professionals, the SMBs and we have an existing massive customer base of video professionals who are hungry for this kind of service and so we're able to provide this all-in-one one solution to them now. That's significant when you look at us versus other players in the space in that we bring quality front and center as part of Sorenson 360. And what I mean by that is that is we uniquely, I'm not aware of anybody else who does this, we uniquely can bring the power and quality of client side encoding through the equation and we bring that into Sorenson 360.

Larry Kless: Yes, because when you do all that encoding in the cloud you can't control your quality. I haven't seen any online video platform that actually publishes what their encoding specs are and actually gives you access to changing those settings.

Peter Csathy: That's right and for the video professional, the best quality is going to come from the control that they will have on the client side to adjust it precisely the way they want it. So we are able to uniquely say that Squeeze is already known as best-in-class, the gold standard when it comes to video encoding. The full power of Squeeze and client-side encoding is brought into Sorenson 360, it's brought into it in two different ways. You can have Squeeze the separate application that's seamlessly integrated into Sorenson 360, or for those who don't need that much control and power, they just want it be as easy as possible but they want the full benefits of the Squeeze client-side encoding engine. We have browser-based client-side encoding as part of Sorenson 360. So you don't need the separate Squeeze application. And it's simple drag-and-drop but it's all the power of client-side encoding so it is that control area you mentioned but it's also several other significant benefits.

So you've already compressed the file locally so when you're sending that into the cloud it's much quicker and it's done in a fraction of the time it would take it come from in front of the time that it would take using other solutions on the server side. And there are also significant cost benefits that come from that because you're not using bandwidth on the upside, just when you stream the video down so our operating costs are significantly less than other services and we can pass those savings onto our customers.

Larry Kless: Let's talk a minute about quality. I was looking at your blog post, For Video Professionals, It's the Encoding Stupid! Their Quality Content Is King, and I think about that in terms of one of your most recent posts about the video Amazon CEO Jeff Bezo just posted, Amazon's Bezos Uses YouTube to Explain Zappos Deal - But, C'mon, THAT Vid Quality? So you've been talking about how important video quality is in the value that everything we've just talked about brings to your core customer but then also to the consumer side. Could you talk about that and how high concept/low tech and poor encoding isn't always a great equation?

Peter Csathy: Yes absolutely so what your referring to is the video that Jeff Bezos and Amazon just posted yesterday on YouTube to announce a justification for the Zappos deal, and let's talk about a couple of things. It's quite a revolutionary way to do describe a business decision and you'll see much more of this. So what Bezos did of course is publish it on YouTube for the world to see because the intention was to make it as viral as possible. That's great for everybody in the online video game because that shows you the unique power of Internet video and the power ultimately come from getting massive buzz, massive distribution and making it very viral creating that kind of excitement in a way that no other forms of distribution can. That was a smart smart move by Amazon.

Now getting back to the quality issue and where quality matters. Whether you're a business that's huge like Amazon, a small medium business, video professional or consumer you still have the same goals of getting as massive distribution you want your videos to be seen by as large as a group of folks that you can and ultimately that will come down in large part to the quality of that video because without an optimal experience viewing that video you are sub-optimizing the overall distribution.

So while Amazon gets high high marks for uniquely coming up with this way of getting the word out on the Zappos announcement, it's very surprising to me and to others within our organization that the marketing team allowed the quality to be as poor as it was and in that video and because that is not getting the message across in the way that anybody would like to get across which it was the highest quality.

Larry Kless: I agree, and late last night I started a blog post about it and I looked all over the news, I checked Techmeme and the echo chamber was filled with talking about the deal but Dan Rayburn and you were the only people I saw talking about the video quality. So I saw two posts about it that commented on video and it is again, as you said too, is that it's a uniquely powerful way to use video when you've got the head of the company using video for viral marketing but the quality was extremely low, it was shot outside, there's lots of motion who knows what camera they used and it looked like it was done for $1.98.

Peter Csathy: It does look like it was done for $1.98, and the production itself, that's not the problem in fact as I commented on my blog the folksy nature of it is precisely what the marketing team wanted to do because that Amazon's shtick in the first play and it worked for them very effectively. But folksy really doesn't mean and shouldn't mean poor quality, and I'll give you a small real-world example from our own company.

When we announced the ability to view all of the videos from Sorenson 360 on an iPhone, that was a recent announcement about a month ago we shot in the course of thirty minutes of video showing the power of that just using a Flip cam, and I was outside with no special equipment at all, no special microphone just the microphone from the Flip cam. I was walking around the city of Carlsbad explaining it and if you look on our web site you can find that video and although we've done it for no money whatsoever, so for $1.98 if you will, the quality that video is pristine precisely because of the encoding and the power of the Sorenson 360 engine.

So that's the difference, low-tech in terms of production, that's the power of what all the tools that are around us. You don't need to have the heavy machinery in terms of creating great quality video but you do need the right encoding solution because that's where it comes from and that's what was lacking in Bezo's case and that's why it failed to optimize. Because look, they're trying to do what all these businesses who use online video and who understand the promise of it. They want to do is to build their businesses, monetize them better and more effectively than they have been able to date and ultimately the monetization question from online video comes down to that. For 95% of the businesses out there, it's not about ads and pre-rolls and post-rolls because they're not selling their videos themselves, they're looking to build their businesses, monetize their businesses, sell their goods and services market more effectively to the customers showcase their products much more effectively to their customers and prospective customers then they have been able to date. That's what online video does for them and that's the monetization question for them.

Larry Kless: It's a great discussion and we're looking forward to your participation in the Online Video Platform Summit in November.

Peter Csathy: Thank you, I do believe that the question of monetization of Internet video is tremendously misunderstood and proper focus isn't out there in the collective consciousness. And this gets down to what Dan Rayburn pointed out several times in what I'm pleased to say, his glowing review of Sorenson 360 and I appreciated that. As he pointed out as an example, we are not competing with a company like Brightcove. We don't see them as competitors. We’re in the same space but we're just addressing different market segments. So for our market segment, the video professionals this gets back to the point of when 95% of the businesses out there are looking to monetize their businesses not their videos themselves. They'll showcase their videos perhaps but sell their services. SMB that’s what they're trying to do, that's who we're targeting. So for these customers, we know who they are because they're Squeeze users and they told us that pre-rolls, post-rolls, that toolset is much less important to them from a prioritization standpoint the features we're talking about.

Quality, job one but all the things that we've introduced into the market yesterday for example, secure workflow, customization, all of that and so the reason why it's different gets back to the point of they're not looking to monetize the videos themselves but their services, their products her and that's the appropriate question to them in terms of monetizing online video

Larry Kless: Hear hear! (laughs)

Peter Csathy: There's a preview what I'm so passionate about and that's what I'll be discussing on the panel at the Online Video Platform Summit.

End of Part one. Stay tuned for Part Two

You can stay current on Peter's myriad of media and technology musings on his blog, Digital Media Update.

About Sorenson Media, Inc.
Sorenson Media, offers comprehensive, award-winning video solutions that empower customers to easily and affordably deploy the highest-quality video across the Internet. Included among its products and services are the Sorenson 360 Video Delivery Network (VDN); Sorenson Squeeze, the gold standard encoding application; Sorenson Squish and SquishNet, an easy-to-use browser-based video publishing platform for user-generated content; and Sorenson Spark, the industry’s most widely used video codec, which today empowers the largest selection of Internet video on mobile devices and other consumer products. From its inception in 1995, Sorenson Media has been instrumental in mainstreaming Internet video, and is committed to dramatically improving the online video experience for content creators and consumers alike.

Updated 9/23/09: Corrections to transcribed text.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dr. Horrible Hijacks the Emmys, Declares "Television is Dead"

In what was a long, drawn out and over-produced spectacle of Hollywood award shows, the 61st annual prime-time Emmys, had an interesting web television moment when Dr. Horrible hijacked the show. Neil Patrick Harris, adding to his hosting duties reprised his role as the evil character from Joss Whedon's acclaimed web series musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

In the middle of the broadcast Dr. Horrible interrupted the program and mockingly declared, 
"Do not adjust your set America. Your so-called Emmys have been hijacked by Dr. Horrible. I have hacked into your broadcast to declare that television is dead. No more corporate entertainment. No more self-congratulatory award shows with athletic and luminous hosts. The future of home entertainment is the Internet."
His arch nemesis Captain Hammer played by Nathan Fillion, also appeared along with cameos from co-stars Felicia Day and Simon Helberg. The hit web television also won a Creative Arts Emmy in the Outstanding Special Class – Short-Form Live-Action Entertainment Programs category earlier in the week. 

In his acceptance speech creator Joss Whedon said, 
"This is our small proof not only that things can be done differently in this business, but that the greatest expression of rebellion is joy.”
On a related note, earlier in the evening Julia Louis-Dreyfus joked that viewers were witnessing “the last official year of network broadcast television." While that may be sometime in the future you can bet that they'll be back next year.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Mixpo Launches Xspot, Local Online Video Advertising Solution for Agencies

Mixpo has announced an expansion of their local online video advertising solution to now include advertising agencies and marketers. The Seattle-based online video advertising technology platform has been steadily focused on extending local TV advertising to the Web. With a redesigned website and new product, Mixpo for Agencies, the company is building on its success with media companies, including Comcast Spotlight, NBC Local Media and Tribune, to bring local, video display advertising capabilities to advertisers.

I spoke with Anupam Gupta, president and CEO of Mixpo last week about his company's new offering and he provided some background on the online video advertising space and the opportunities available to agencies. According to Anupam, there's a gap in the market, online video advertising continues to grow, but is stunted at the local level. He cited two sources to describe the growth opportunities in the two intersecting markets. According to eMarketer, online video advertising will grow from $505 million in 2008 to $5.8 billion by 2013. While the Kelsey Group says local online advertising will grow from $14 billion in 2008 to $32 billion by 2013, but it's quite separated from the $24.7 billion Local TV market. Mixpo's own data showed that year-over-year, monthly campaigns run by advertisers and agencies through Mixpo's local media partners have grown by more than 300 percent.

Mixpo sees the Web as an extension of local TV advertising strategy, not a separate strategy. Mixpo sees the promise of helping advertisers, their agencies and media companies bridge the gap from TV to the Web.

As Anupam states,
“There is a tremendous opportunity for TV advertisers to extend their local spot and cable strategies, and creative to the Web. Our hope through our offerings for both sides of the local TV ecosystem is to facilitate a faster growth of the emerging local TV to the Web process.”

X Marks the Spot

The solution that Mixpo has created is called the Xspot, a specialized online ad unit that is
defined by a unique combination of video, interactivity and localization delivered through standard display ads. The power of this solution is the economy of scale, in that agencies can reuse existing TV spots as online advertising, and for agencies that offers huge cost savings by reducing production and creative expenses by leveraging existing assets. Within the Mixpo platform agencies can start with an existing local or national TV commercial and enhance it for the web by adding interactive images and calls to action.

Xspots can be easily edited and customized for local markets. The general specs are 300x250 display ad units which Mixpo makes interactive through overlays, dynamic through real-time editing, targeted by zip code and compatible with Ad servers, including Open AdStream, DART (Doubleclick), APT (Yahoo), and AdBrite. Every aspect of Xspot performance is tracked and measured, and provides real-time data on local market engagement.

Mixpo focuses on online display inventory for delivering local video ad campaigns rather than in-stream pre-roll video. Anupam points out that, 
"Pre-roll ads are not the right solution for local advertising. They're expensive and have limited availability, interactivity and targeting, to drive effective local promotion. Video display ads are more affordable, can be targeted to the right customer, and allow viewers to interact as they wish, rather than being forced to watch an ad. This new ad unit -- takes the static banner to the next level with higher engagement and local response."
Anupam spoke with Beet.TV in this video, which he describes their new offering.

Mixpo for Agencies

For Mixpo, clear themes emerged out of the needs of publishers and advertisers starting the challenges that advertisers and agencies face every day which mainly stem from the high cost of producing new content, brand control, local flexibility, campaign complexity, cost, limited video inventory and high CPMs. Agencies want to know how to localize those TV assets for different markets and how to run campaigns that are not too expensive.

Their answer, Mixpo for Agencies, grown out their solution for media companies gives TV agencies a flexible tool to cut through the complexity and apply existing brand assets into targeted online video advertising for local response. Mixpo emphasizes that you don't have to be an expert to use their platform. They have focused on simplicity and to Anupam Gupta, at the end of the day it's not about the technology but what it does.

About Mixpo

Mixpo is an online video advertising technology company focused on extending local TV advertising to the Web. Through a simple and powerful combination of production, campaign management and reporting tools, Mixpo enables media companies and advertising agencies to deliver interactive video campaigns via standard display ad units. To find out more about Mixpo, please visit www.mixpo.com.

Read more on ReelSEO » The Xspot – Local TV & Online Video Ad Convergence

Updated 9/19/09: Added growth data from http://tinyurl.com/kokcdz

Check Out My Post on ReelSEO, "Video is a Social Medium” – YouTube & Social Media

This post is part of the coverage of the Search Engine Strategies San Jose Conference & Expo in San Jose. It appears in full on Reel SEO - The Online Video Marketing Guide.

As part of the Search Engine Strategies San Jose Conference & Expo last month, YouTube and Google sponsored a day long event with ClickZ, the Social Media & Video Strategies Forum which featured a variety of speakers who explored the successes and failures experienced by companies, celebrities, and politicians in using video in the online social sphere. We had the opportunity to speak with Kristin Kovner, Industry Marketing Manager with YouTube about their sponsorship of the track and what’s new and exciting with YouTube.

YouTube was excited to bring this first-ever full day event dedicated to video and social media to the SES community. Kristin said that people are really hungry for information on how to bring video and social media into their marketing plans. One of the main messages that YouTube brought to the audience at SES this year was around Promoted Videos.

It’s a pay-per-click model similar to Google Adwords which YouTube launched late last year that enables video content owners to promote their videos across YouTube through keyword-based targeting. Content owners set cost-per-click values and pay only when someone clicks to
watch the video. With 90 millions unique monthly visitors to YouTube and now the second largest search engine on the web, after Google, many content owners and marketers have found this a great way to surface their videos on YouTube Search Results pages, within Related Videos and on the YouTube homepage. More information on editorial and format guidelines are here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Google/Brightcove Rumor Meme Started With One Tweet

It all started with a single Tweet from PBS MediaShift editor Mark Glaser who said on his Twitter page that Google was planning to buy Brightcove for $500-$700 million. Before the information could substantiated the tech blogs went wild with the rumor which at the end of the day proved to be just that, a rumor that was proved false. While many who covered the rumor used a question mark in their title it still caused Brightcove's PR team to say over and over, "Brightcove does not comment on rumors."

Blog after blog regurgitated the same story, "Google Inc. is reportedly weighing the acquisition of Internet TV service Brightcove Inc. for between $500 million and $700 million..." and they all used only one Tweet to run with the story.

Just after 9:00 am pacific time mediatwit the following Tweet:

Glaser noted later that he never said Google was buying Brightcove and that a source told him they were in buyout discussions and that it was not a done deal. He said not one person contacted him to check it and they "all just ran with the one tweet". 

I spoke with Dan Rayburn, one of the only voices of reason in all this, who wrote several posts today about both negative affect of this type of deal for content owners and negative affect that Twitter plays in news coverage. Dan later confirmed that the rumor is false and that Google is not acquiring Brightcove. I wasn't sure if I would take the time to post something on this subject but I felt compelled to comment on the way the online news agencies covered this rumor. 

I think Dan really hit the nail on the head with this statement:
"I think this is a great example of where Twitter is dangerous. If this kind of news first came out on a blog, people would expect some analysis of the story, would expect to read the authors take on what it means and the blog would give the author enough room to give their take on the news. But with Twitter, how much can someone really explain something in 140 characters? As Mark pointed out in a follow-up Tweet, he never said Google "acquired" Brightcove, he said his source told him they were in discussions. Something that probably would have come across a lot stronger if it was a blog post, as opposed to a one sentence comment on Twitter."
The reaction within the blogosphere today reminded a bit about the story I covered last week of the two Bangladeshi newspapers that got duped by The Onion into believing their fake new story of the lunar landing. The editors thought the story was true and printed it without checking the facts. They had to print apologies to their readers when they found out that The Onion was not a genuine news site. While the Google/Brightcove rumor meme is a completely different situation from The Onion story, they both are examples of why it's important to check your facts, do some digging and not feed the rumor mill.

I've actually have been working a follow up post from the Brightcove Alliance meetup last week along with an in-depth interview I conducted with Brightcove founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire. Brightcove has some big announcements coming up this fall and Jeremy will be delivering the keynote address at the Online Video Platform Summit in November.

Look for those upcoming posts soon.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Qik Highlights from the San Francisco Brightcove Alliance Meetup

I attended the Brightcove Alliance meetup last week on September 10th in San Francisco at the Thirsty Bear brew pub which highlighted the announcement of major expansion of the company's global partner program that includes more than 200 technology, distribution and solution providers. Brightcove's founder and CEO, Jeremy Allaire, was joined by Brightcove Alliance partners from the Bay Area for an evening of networking, brainstorming, and demos that showed how leading media companies and marketers are taking advantage of their partner ecosystem to deliver powerful and innovative solutions built on top of the Brightcove online video platform.

The event turned out to be a "who's who in online video" with local Bay Area companies TubeMogul, TurnHere, Qik, Cooliris, Apture and many more in attendance. It was a great see so many people I both knew and meet new friends from my online communities. I recorded the demos with my Flip MinoHD while doing a live mobile broadcast using my Nokia N95 and Qik, one of the companies at the meetup as part of the Brightcove Alliance. I'll be posting in-depth coverage of the event and September 11th announcement, Brightcove Accelerates Expansion of Global Partner Ecosystem. I collected my Qik videos from the meetup which include a brief introduction by Jeremy and short demos by Cooliris and Qik. Other demos were by Apture and Boxee which I'll share in a later post. Just a few days prior to the meetup, Brightcove announced a partnership with Boxee to provide Brightcove media customers turn-key video distribution options to the living room television via Boxee's interface. I admit that the Qik videos are low quality and I'll post higher quality versions I shot with my Flip MinoHD in a later post.

In this video, Jeremy Allaire, of Brightcove kicks off the meetup with a brief presentation of the expansion of their partner program.

In the video, Brightcove Alliance partner Cooliris demos it's innovative plug-in that transforms your browser into an infinite "3D Wall" of content that you can scroll through rather than click through to enjoy photos and videos from the Web or your desktop.

In the following video, Ramu Sunkara, CEO and Co-Founder of Qik and members of his team demo their new capability to stream live video from their mobile handsets to the Brighcove player.

While this demo and the others were hampered by the poor broadband connection at the at the local venue -- that didn't stop the speakers who were each prepared with back up presentations that highlighted the creativity and innovation of the Brightcove Alliance and it's online video ecosystem.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Interactive Media Strategies Recognizes Winners in First Annual ‘Excellence in Enterprise Video’ Awards

Today, Interactive Media Strategies, a market research analyst firm focused on web video communication technologies announced the winners of the Excellence in Enterprise Video Awards (EEVAs). The EEVAs were launched to recognize outstanding achievements and showcase innovative deployments of video by leading companies from all across the United States.

Winners of the 2009 EEVAs are:
  • Barnes & Noble Studio
  • Bausch & Lomb
  • HP
  • Intel
  • Merck
  • Northwestern Mutual
  • Sprint
  • AVIA Shoes
Paul Ritter, Vice President at Interactive Media Strategies, said:
“We sought to establish this first-of-its-kind awards program to showcase the truly outstanding achievements of organizations using online video to improve business processes, reduce costs and expand reach to new audiences. By enabling these thought leaders to tell their stories of success in a series of feature videos benefits the industry as a whole and makes it easier for businesses of all sizes, geographies and industries to achieve success with their own video initiatives.”
Mark Portu, President and CEO of The Feedroom noted that his company was honored to have so many of their customers recognized among this year’s recipients. HP, Bausch & Lomb, Intel and Barnes & Noble are the four organizations across various categories who utilize the FeedRoom 4.0 Enterprise Video Platform™ to power their online video communication.

This EEVA video features Intel, one The Feedroom customers see more here:

Two other winners, Northwestern Mutual Life and Sprint are enterprise customers of Qumu of which Ray Hood, President and CEO of Qumu was very proud that the two companies have been recognized as innovative leaders and described the value of video communications:
"In many ways, Sprint and Northwestern Mutual Life's application of video represents what we consistently see across our entire customer base: innovative use of scalable, controlled, secure enterprise video for live and on-demand video communication that controls costs and reduces travel, allows executives to conduct Town Hall Meetings that keep key constituents engaged with the organization, and simplifies training and corporate change-based communication. As these companies have learned, video communications must be user-friendly, easy to deploy and provide measurable ROI if it's going to have any impact and value within an enterprise environment."
For a complete list of 2009 EEVA finalists and award winners, visit www.interactivemediastrategies.com and the EEVA Thought Leaders Video Portal.

About Interactive Media Strategies
Interactive Media Strategies, founded in 2002, is a market research firm focused on how Web communication technologies, such as online video, can be used by corporations, educational institutions and government agencies to enhance communications and streamline day-to-day business operations. The firm regularly fields executive surveys to gauge executive use, deployment and perceptions of Web communications, and publishes more than 50 research reports and Webcasts annually that address trends in enterprise adoption of these technologies.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Web Video Pick of the Week - The Onion 'Facebook, Twitter Revolutionizing How Parents Stalk Their College-Aged Kids'

This week's 'Web Video Pick of the Week' goes to fake news agency The Onion for their social media satire, Facebook, Twitter Revolutionizing How Parents Stalk Their College-Aged Kids. (Disclaimer: the video contains strong language and is not intended for viewers under 18 years of age.) 

In this episode of Today Now!, the Onion News Network's lively and informative morning program, 'E-Mom' Gloria Bianco shows co-hosts Jim Haggerty and  Tracy Gil how to use the Internet to monitor your child's every move. Geographical distance is no longer a roadblock to shamelessly interfere in the lives of your college-aged kids when you can stalk them through Facebook and Twitter.  This one scores high in creep factor.

One giant misstep for Bangladesh News 
Extra points for The Onion for duping two newspapers in Bangladesh this past week into believing their fake news story,  Conspiracy Theorist Convinces Neil Armstrong Moon Landing Was Faked | The Onion - America's Finest News Source, which said:
"Apollo 11 mission commander and famed astronaut Neil Armstrong shocked reporters at a press conference Monday, announcing he had been convinced that his historic first step on the moon was part of an elaborate hoax orchestrated by the United States government."
The two Bangladeshi newspapers, the Daily Manabzamin and The New Nation, published the story which appeared on The Onion website last week which they believed was a genuine news site. It was translated into Bengal and ran in both newspapers on Wednesday and Thursday and attributed to Onion News Network, Lebanon, Ohio. Both have since apologized to their readers for being so gullible. 

The associate editor Hasanuzzuman Khan of The New Nation told Agence France-Presse:
"We thought it was true so we printed it without checking. We didn't know The Onion was not a real news site." 
An embarrassed Manabzamin printed the following apology:
"The report has drawn a lot of attention. We've since learned that the fun site runs false and juicy reports based on a historic incident. The moon landing one was such a story, which received numerous hits on the internet. The truth is that Neil Armstrong never gave such an interview. It was made up. We are sorry for publishing the report without checking the information."
Chalk this week up to The Onion for the 'Web Video Pick of the Week' and possibly a new feature, 'Hoax of the Week'! ;-) 


Saturday, September 5, 2009

'The Guild' Season 3 Gets Embedded

The Guild  Season 3 - Episode 1: Expansion Time premiered this week on MSN’s Parallel Universe after last week’s exclusive roll out on XBox. On her blog Felicia Day talked about the premiere of Season 3, the challenges involved in the production and the big difference in their syndication strategy. 

Felicia said:
"Last season it wasn’t embeddable so it’s cool to be able to spread it around this season, thank you MSN and Sprint! Also, it’s now available on Zune and Xbox for all, so download away. Starting next week the eps will be rolling out weekly on all platforms, FYI."
On Tubefilter News, Marc Hustvedt talked about the open embedding:
"MSN is now allowing embedding of The Guild episodes after being notoriously closed off last season and forcing viewers to head to the cluttered video.msn.com site. This is a savvy move for MSN, and a necessary response to the significant amount of attention that Season 2 received once it was released on embed-friendly YouTube earlier this year. Fans of the web series are known to share and post videos on blogs and social networking sites all over the world. And let’s face it, web series need to free to live where people are out discussing and congregating around them."
Marc said that it will be interesting to see the difference in total views on MSN following the success of their  "Do You Wanna Date My Avatar" viral music video which was the #1 video on YouTube with over 3.5 million views to date and was #1 in iTunes music videos and Amazon MP3s. The Guild also recently secured a DVD distribution deal with the same company that released Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog DVD earlier this year. 

The Guild was also recently featured in the Wall Street Journal which noted that while the web series has a very loyal fan base which continues to grow it's still a modest venture. The article pointed out that overall profitability for web series is low and there's been a shift to more celebrity-backed projects.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Check Out Part 2 of My Interview With Nate Elliott on ReelSEO, "Social Video Builds Value and Trust"

This is Part 2 of our interview with Nate Elliott, the Principal Analyst at Forrester Research from the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose in mid-August. Jeremy Scott drafted a great post on ReelSEO the describing how Nate sees the importance of social media and video with examples of social media gone right and wrong, the benefits of user-generated content, and how trust in brands play into consumer engagement. In Part 1, I spoke with Nate about the Groundswell, a book based on analysis by Forrester Research on how they look at social marketing.

In this follow up video Nate says:
"A lot of the best social media we've seen, a lot of the great examples of social media both positive and negative have focused around video. If you look at some of the most recent things we've seen online of course, the recent United Breaks Guitars video is a great example of social media gone wrong and of course that was a YouTube video. You can go all the way back to the Ford SUV contest that they ran on YouTube several years back where a handful of users wound up using Ford's own contest to accuse them of ruining the environment with large vehicle and lots of emissions. So there's certainly some downsides there but we've seen some positive examples of marketers using video and user-generated videos as well."

He added that social video builds trust and value in brands:
"We know that users want to see video and not just video content. We know that users are excited to see video from the brands, the companies they trust online. So when we ask in surveys, :What do you expect to see on favorite brand, your favorite marketer's website? Some people refer to social content but actually a lot users are saying they're expecting to see video content there. So we know it's powerful, we know a lot of users are getting used to watching video online and we know it's something they want to see from their favorite companies.

And the advantage to using social video is... you're increasing the value and the trust of that video. Users are a lot more likely to trust the things they see from other users then are trust something they see from you as accompany. Or even from a trusted their source like an independent reviewer or a media outlet. So when you're using social video you're adding the element of trust. It also opens you up to in many ways a cheaper way to create video content as a marketer and provides creativity that you might not have in-house or might not have come up with otherwise..."

Continue Reading - Social Media & User-Generated Video – The Power Of Trust » on ReelSEO

See more videos from SES San Jose on ReelSEO's YouTube Channel