Monetizing videos – long videos
July 18th, 2009
Monetizing videos – long videos
We're coming up on the fourth anniversary of the System Video Blog so I took some time to go over the past four years worth of articles. I'm happy to say in all that time, we never steered you wrong.
We said Internet video was going to explode, take over the Internet and shake things up in TV Land and that's pretty much what's happened.
Speaking of NOT on target, in the early days of Internet video (remember way back then?), legions of newly minted Internet video experts would loudly tell anyone who would listen that Internet videos had to be short or no one would watch them.
"Viewership drops off dramatically after two minutes."
The idiocy of this pronouncement always galled me…
Of course, viewership drops off dramatically at the beginning!
That's because the video in question is not a fit for all the viewers who clicked on it. Those who are interested in the subject will watch much longer videos – and do so gladly.
Imagine if the Nielsen ratings counted all the views of people who channel surfed cable twenty times a minute. 2 seconds here on Program A. 5 seconds there on Program B. 3 seconds there. 1 second there.
By that logic cable and network TV shows should only be 5 seconds long because "the metrics" show that viewership drops dramatically after five seconds.
Well, until recently, the idiot analysts were winning. Not because they were right, but because they had the momentum of unconsidered opinion behind them.
Well, the latest stats are in and..
=== Here comes the reality check
– Last year, the top 25 shows on blip.tv averaged under five minutes. This year, the number is up to 14 minutes, roughly THREE TIMES longer – an increase accomplished in just 12 months!
– Internet video is mainstream now with about 150 million viewers in the US alone (about half the population) and the average viewer is watching 97 videos per month. Pretty amazing when you consider just five years ago, the typical Internet use was watching zero videos per month.
– Netflix has made over 12,000 feature length films available to its customers for instant streaming – and no one's complaining "they're too long."
Two interesting quotes from a recent New York Times article on this subject:
"People are getting more comfortable, for better or worse, bringing a computer to bed with them."
– Dina Kaplan, co-founder of Blip.TV
"I think it comes down to quality winning out over minutes and seconds."
– Rob Barnett, Founder of My Damn Channel.
=== Yes, and there's more
As for computers in bed, things are really going to take off when one of the high tech rocket scientists makes it brain dead simple to search and stream online video with a TV remote and watch it through your TV set. If that doesn't toll the death knell for TV as we know it, it'll be pretty darn close.
As for quality winning? Not quite. It's not quality that matters. It's relevance.
If I am a left handed Lesbian lacrosse fan from Lithuania, I'll watch HOURS of left handed Lesbian lacrosse content from Lithuania. Quality doesn't hurt, but it runs a distant second to relevance.
=== Quality matters only this far
1) Your quality has to be "good enough" to not be totally annoying and
2) There isn't another left handed Lesbian Lithuanian lacrosse channel out there that does a better job than yours because no matter how we improve the medium, normal people only want to watch one program at a time.
=== The future
We're heading to narrowcasting, even if a few topics – sports, financial reporting, and big news – still will command big audiences.
The future market for the traditional boob tube boils down to this: 1) the technically backward, 2) the institutionalized (in prison, in hospitals, in nursing homes), 3) three year olds and younger who don't yet have the cognitive skills to manage a remote.
As I've been saying to broadcast and cable for years now: Change or die.
P.S. Last year, I wrote a little here about my system for creating and promoting on demand, narrowcast Internet TV channels which in 2008 generated over 11,000,000 views for me at a hair less than 1 cent net per view.
Total time involved to keep my "channel" running: 15 to 30 minutes a day. Total capitalization required to get started: less than $100 without ever having to put any additional money in. I started two news ones this year.
I only presented the system in two places in 2008 – both times without tape recorders running. This year, I'm only going to talk about it once: in London in late September at the System UK Intensive.
I've made many big improvements to the system since last year in the areas of building in automatic SEO and increasing visitor value.
If you're interested, this is the event where I'll be talking about my video monetization system in detail:
Categories: Internet TV