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At Issue } essential reading

Hulu Makes Play for 2012 Political Dollars as TV Ad Prices Heat Up

Cotton Delo
Nov 14, 2011

TV continues to be the sledgehammer of political campaigns, with even the most digital-oriented candidates, like Scott Brown, who ran for a Senate seat in Massachusetts in 2010, only spending about 10% of their media budgets online. But that percentage is expected to inch upward in the 2012 election cycle, and sites like Hulu stand to benefit as media buyers look to buy political spots in competitive districts in expensive media markets.

How Gatorade Brings Athletes Closer To Fans

Aug 3, 2010

Late last year live video events broadcast over the Internet started putting up TV-like viewership numbers: 10 million for a U2 concert, 3 million for the red carpet premiere of a Twilight sequel, and more than 250,000 for a screening of a film from hip hop mogul 50 Cent. Not surprisingly, it wasn't long before big brands started to take notice. But rather than simply inject advertising into live video the way one might with a television show, an increasing number of advertisers have started using the medium, using platforms like Ustream, Livestream and Justin.tv to produce compelling content and engage consumers.

Online Video Ad Segment Poised to Explode

Jul 14, 2010

The online video advertising market is poised for rapid growth over the next few years, according to eMarketer. The research firm estimates online video advertising spending will grow more than 48 percent this year, reaching $1.5 billion. By 2014, it expects the video ad market will top $5.5 billion.

Gary Vaynerchuk: Do What You Love (No Excuses!)

Mar 20, 2010

At the Web 2.0 Expo, entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk gives a shot in the arm to dreamers and up-and-comers who face self-doubt. The Internet has made the formula for success simpler than ever, he argues. So there's now no excuse not to do what makes you happy.

"Steal It" and Other Internal YouTube Emails from Viacom's Copyright Suit

Mar 19, 2010

The U.S. District Court has just made public the documentation in the controversial Viacom vs. YouTube case. It's a goldmine of data, most of which is really dirty mud-slinging by Viacom, based on internal emails from YouTube's past. Google's been quick off the mark to react to the unsealing of the court documents, and has a blog post defending its position and decrying Viacom's tactics already. Viacom's argument, it says, is based on misconstruing "isolated lines from a handful of emails" from way back in YouTube's history, and spinning this information into the suggestion that YouTube was "founded with bad intentions." The post also alleges that Viacom "secretly uploaded its content to YouTube," and then roughed up the footage to make it appear to have been leaked.

Meet The New YouTube: Less Clutter, Easier Search, And No More Stars

Jan 21, 2010

YouTube is on a roll. Last night, the world’s largest video site rolled out HTML5 support, its first video rentals, and even a nifty music feature called Disco. Today, it’s making an even bigger change: the site is launching a new ‘Watch’ page, stripping it down to its most key elements and ensuring that nothing is drawing your attention away from the video on the screen. To most people, this Watch page is really the heart of the YouTube experience — it’s where you view clips and browse for the next thing you want to watch, so any significant changes are a big deal. The new streamlined page is opt-in for now, and you can activate it here.

Don’t Laugh: Ashton Kutcher Is The Future of Video

Jan 12, 2010

What in the name of Steve Jobs is Ashton Kutcher doing here? It’s 11 on a September morning in Silicon Valley — a time when any decent Hollywood celebrity should be sleeping off yesternight’s revels in a hyperbaric chamber at the Chateau Marmont, or, at most, Tweeting what’s in today’s egg-white omelet. Yet here’s Kutcher, the Puckish prince of Twitter (over four million followers and counting), emerging from the back of a dowdy Lincoln Town Car and stepping into Downtown Nerdburg. He’s fresh off the plane, and looking about as casual as a shaggy six-foot sex symbol is capable of looking against the pleated-khaki backdrop of Mountain View, CA. Which is to say, he looks perfect (the well-tempered bedhead peeking from beneath the carefully selected ball cap, the zippered sweater hanging just-so on that vertiginous Rem Koolhaas boneframe) and also perfectly out of place, his personal perihelion of Dionysian awesomeness at odds with these Dilbertian precincts.

American Apparel Grabs YouTube's Long Tail

Dec 18, 2009

One of YouTube's greatest challenges with advertisers has been the notion that it's a repository for clips of dogs riding skateboards. But one marketer, at least, sees this as a plus. American Apparel has been targeting ads to over 100 videos of pets, including a clip of a skateboarding canine, to promote its line of dog clothing. The Los Angeles-based brand chose the videos based on suggestions from employees. "It would be hard to do an advertisement on the back page of LA Weekly or a fashion magazine for the dog T-shirt," noted Ryan Holiday, a Web marketing executive at American Apparel.

100 Social Media & Content Marketing Predictions for 2010

Dec 15, 2009

Some things amaze me, like this year's social media and content marketing predictions list. What does one sent email and two tweets equal? Over 100 predictions from 60+ of the best and the brightest in marketing, content marketing, custom publishing and social media. No kidding! Just check out this list below.

Web-TV Divide Is Back In Focus With NBC Sale

Dec 4, 2009

“You’re going to have a television if I have to nail it to your wall,” she told her daughter, according to comments she made at a Reuters event this week. “You have to have one.” But she does not, actually. For 60 years, TV could be watched only one way: through the television set. Now, though, millions watch shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” on demand and online on network Web sites like Ms. Sweeney’s ABC.com and on the Internet’s most popular streaming hub, Hulu.com.

Prime Time For YouTube? Google Wants To Stream TV, For A Fee

Dec 1, 2009

YouTube, which is already trying out the movie rental business, wants to get into TV, too. Google's video site has been trying to convince the TV industry to let it stream individual shows for a fee, multiple sources tell me. YouTube already lets users watch a smattering of TV shows for free, with advertising. Now it envisions something similar to what Apple and Amazon already offer: First-run shows, without commercials, for $1.99 an episode, available the day after they air on broadcast or cable.

The Proliferation Of Online Video

Dec 1, 2009

Online video continues to capture the attention of producers and viewers, with the market as well as industry leaders, leading us into a more pervasive form of video entertainment, communication and education. With YouTube quickly transforming from a user-generated video network into an invaluable repository for content, the associated behavior for creating, uploading, discovering, and watching online videos is evolving. What many have yet to realize are the effects YouTube has aroused. It is where many online experiences begin and end.

See Me, Feel Me

Nov 25, 2009

"Web sites such as CNN.com and ESPN.com are discovering that readers ... are a lot more likely to want to interact with their content when video clips are a significant part of the overall package ... The trend suggests a new wrinkle in the way people want to experience online news and information." The New York Times (Nov. 11, 2009) New wrinkle, come on! Brands need to open their eyes to the reality of the communications process. Astute visual marketing strategists like Toniq's Cheryl Swanson have long advocated what neuroscientists have proven -- 70% of human stimuli arrives via our eyes, a meager 15% enters the ears. So if you want to successfully communicate your brand story ... go to the video.

YouTube to Help Sites Gather News Clips

Nov 17, 2009

YouTube has signed up NPR, Politico, The Huffington Post and The San Francisco Chronicle for YouTube Direct, a new method for managing video submissions from readers. The new feature, to be formally introduced on Tuesday, is a tool to make it easy for YouTube users to submit clips that news media companies can choose to highlight. The site plans to sign up other media partners. “We’re trying to connect media organizations with citizen reporters on YouTube,” said Steve Grove, the Web site’s head of news and politics. With the tool, YouTube, a unit of Google, seeks to further portray itself as an ally of media companies and other news gatherers.

Growing Pains at Hulu

Nov 16, 2009

Hulu is starting to show signs of why it’s not easy to run a joint venture between competitors. Recently, the popular video site’s various parents have sent mixed messages about Hulu’s future business model -- and whether or not it will erect some sort of paid subscription wall. Now, reports are bubbling up about an increasing level of discord between Hulu’s own ad sales staff and the staffs of each of the site’s broadcast partners: ABC, NBC and Fox.

AOL's Armstrong: Web Content Must Improve

Nov 13, 2009

Online content can be "much better" -- and its improvement will be the focus of the next development stage of the Internet, AOL chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong said Friday. "That's why we are making such a big bet there," he said during a keynote appearance at the annual Media and Money Conference in New York. Adweek parent the Nielsen Co. and Dow Jones co-hosted the event. He argued that the first wave of Internet development focused on access; then platforms -- from Facebook to iTunes -- were in focus. But the next step will be content, which hasn't seen as much innovation, he said.

Find, Follow, Feed: YouTube’s Social Strategy And Solving The Curation Problem

Nov 11, 2009

You may not have noticed it, but YouTube is evolving. Unlike sites like Facebook, where even a subtle change in a header’s rounding gets noticed, YouTube has so much going on that it’s often easy to miss one of the site’s new features. But they’re there, and more are coming soon. Earlier this week the YouTube team invited me over to talk about how the video portal is approaching its role as an inherently social site, and what it’s doing to help surface videos that users will find interesting from the oceans of content that’s uploaded every day. YouTube PM Brian Glick describes YouTube’s social trends with three F’s: Find, Follow, and Feed.

Hulu: Still Committed to Free Content

Oct 23, 2009

Hulu has shot down reports that it planned to start charging users, at least for the majority of its content. News Corp deputy chairman Chase Carey (shown) was quoted at a conference today saying the video service would be charging users in 2010, though "some" content would remain free. News Corp is a part owner of Hulu. "I think a free model is a very difficult way to capture the value of our content. I think what we need to do is deliver that content to consumers in a way where they will appreciate the value," Carey was quoted as saying by Broadcasting & Cable. A Hulu rep said the company's strategy of offering high-quality content supported by advertising remains unchanged, while leaving the door to adding paid content.

Can Hulu Save Traditional TV?

Chuck Salter
Oct 19, 2009

Even for Hollywood, where long odds and high stakes are staples of storytelling, the plotline is a doozy: A couple of old business rivals facing the threat of a lifetime agree to put aside their differences and join forces on a half-baked experiment that makes them laughingstocks. (We're thinking Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty.) And who do they put in charge? A young guy, a newbie to the biz. He promptly cleans house and hires an even younger guy who's halfway around the globe. These renegades throw out the rule book -- and they pull it off. Their idea kills. The naysayers feast on crow. This pitch meeting would not end well. Cue Ari Gold: Nobody'll believe it, not in a million years. Are you nuts? Get the %*#$ out of my office! Yet this is the tale of Jason Kilar and a company called Hulu, costarring the heads of NBC and Fox, with guest appearances by Andy Samberg, Tina Fey, Jeff Bezos, and Walt Disney.

'Rashomon' Meets 'Choose Your Own Adventure'

Larry Dobrow
Oct 16, 2009

Nearly every brand exercise doubling as content has come across as just that: overproduced shtick that has no compelling reason to exist independent of the beflogged marketer. You can stick however many aching-for-work actors you want in an IKEA or in front of a Dell computer, but unless you give them something interesting to do, viewers will check out the first few minutes of the first episode before dismissing it and moving on to a content-first play -- say, Marvel's dark, extravagant Motion Comics.

The Long, Viral Lives of Cadbury, T-Mobile and Microsoft

Oct 8, 2009

If the ad campaigns on this week's viral video chart look familiar, they should: They've all been here before. In fact, many of them have been on the chart for a long time. The longest-running campaign, Cadbury's "Eyebrow Dance," is celebrating its 26th week on the chart and the second-longest, T-Mobile "Dance" is marking its 25th week. Microsoft's "Project Natal," meanwhile, is on for its 18th week in a row. Evian's "Rollerbabies" is on for the 13th straight week. Only three videos are new enough to be celebrating their second week in a row: Microsoft's Windows "Launch Party" video, Trend Micro's "Fearless Web" spot and MoveOn.org's "Protect Insurance Agencies" campaign. As you can imagine, it's quite a feat to add enough growth week after week to continue to maintain a presence.

Facebook: Who You Know; Twitter: What You Know

Jul 31, 2009

Users clicking onto videos links sent via Twitter spend significantly longer watching those videos than those arriving from Digg or Facebook, according to a new study by video stats site TubeMogul. The methodology (below) seems fairly robust, so it may offer a real insight into current Twitter usage: On Twitter you can follow interesting people, not just your friends.

Watching You Watching Ads

Jul 27, 2009

A technician in a black lab coat gazed at the short, middle-aged man seated inside the Walt Disney Company’s secretive new research facility here last week, his face shrouded with eye-tracking goggles. Read ESPN.com on that BlackBerry, she told him soothingly, like a nurse about to draw blood. “And have fun,” she added, leaving the room. In reality, the man’s appetite for sports news was not of interest. (The site was a fake version anyway.) Rather, the technician and her fellow researchers were eager to know how the man responded to ads of varying size. How small could the banners become and still draw his attention?

Rise of Web Video, Beyond 2-Minute Clips

Jul 6, 2009

When motion pictures were invented at the end of the 19th century, most films were shorter than a minute, because of the limitations of technology. A little more than a hundred years later when Web videos were introduced, they were also cut short, but for social as well as technical reasons.

Drawing The Line

Jun 12, 2009

A heated debate is breaking out among Wall Street analysts over whether online videos should be available for free, and their advice is putting as much as $300 billion in media company value at risk. Not unlike entertainment executives themselves, analysts are divided over which is the correct strategy to pursue.

YouTube vs. Hulu: Which is the Future of Online Video?

May 11, 2009

Since its inception in 2005, YouTube has opened up online video to the masses. Its embedding and sharing features helped make thousands of viral of videos. Today, YouTube has over 100 million unique viewers every month for everything from cute kittens to university lectures. Innovation and change in the social media space occurs lightning fast, though. YouTube, once without rival, is feeling the heat from new competitors, primarily the fast-growing Hulu. Other innovations, like live streaming video, are also ratcheting up the online video stakes. So where exactly is online video headed? Let’s talk about the YouTube and Hulu models.

Google Tries Viral Campaign to Goose Interest in Chrome

Apr 30, 2009

Why would Google take on Apple, Microsoft and Mozilla in the web-browser war and not try to win it? That question has been asked since Google ambled into the Safari-Explorer-Firefox derby last fall with its own entry called Chrome, but took a remarkably low-key approach to marketing it.

Next Music Battle: Hulu vs. Vevo

Apr 30, 2009

Music videos started life online as giveaways to win bands new fans — much as they did when MTV actually showed videos. But now, as the future of music sales seems dim, music labels see gold in what they used to handout for free. The change started about five years ago when labels began charging distributors for the right to show videos. Then the rise of YouTube brought enormous exposure for music videos online, but record labels claim YouTube’s payouts are skimpy.

Making Commercials For The Web

Apr 27, 2009

TV advertisers are finally discovering that YouTube + viral imagination = free media. The good news for you is that money is not a barrier, which means that marketers of any size can play. But the rules are different, as they always are online.

Microsoft Unveils Comedy Series Concepts

Apr 25, 2009

Microsoft on Thursday (April 23) presented a handful of new online series concepts to a gathering of media buyers on hand for the company’s second annual digital showcase event at Le Parker Meridien Hotel in New York, as the company’s sales executives looked to send a clear message that Web video is core to the software giant’s ongoing media strategy.

Video Surges On Newspaper Sites

Apr 9, 2009

Newspapers across the country may be scaling back to survive, but online video appears to be one area where they are expanding aggressively. An analysis of 187 U.S. newspaper Web sites by Web video provider Brightcove shows a surge in their video-related activity last year.

YouTube Is Doomed

Apr 9, 2009

YouTube, that incandescent tower of video Babel; monument to the sloughed-off detritus of our exponentially-exploding digital culture; a Technicolor cataract of skateboarding dogs, lip-synching college students, political punditry, and porn; has reached the zenith of its meteoric rise; and Icarus-like, wings melting; is spiraling back to earth. Despite massive growth, ubiquitous global brand awareness, presidential endorsement, and the world’s greatest repository of illegally-pirated video content, Google’s massive video folly is on life-support, and the prognosis is grave.

Mindshare's New Metric for Web Video: Gross Ratings Points

Apr 6, 2009

Good news for online video: Mindshare, a unit of WPP's giant media buying operation GroupM, is embracing a new metric that could speed the migration of TV advertising dollars to the web.

Disney Finalizing Deal For Clips On YouTube; Full-Episode Talks Ongoing; Could Hulu Lose Out?

Mar 30, 2009

Disney and YouTube are in the final stages of negotiations to put clips from ESPN, ABC and other Disney assets on YouTube, according to sources familiar with the situation. The two companies would share revenue, with Disney controlling the ad inventory; YouTube and Google could get some inventory to sell. As important, YouTube would refer back to ESPN.com, ABC.com and the other Disney sites. Disney declined comment; a YouTube spokesman said the company does not comment on rumor or speculation.

Sanyo Enlists YouTube Stars

Mar 29, 2009

Sanyo Fisher is promoting its new digital camera by hiring the crème de la crème of YouTube video creators. Eight top YouTube creators made videos with the help of branded content firm Madison Road Entertainment. Each video was shot using -- and also features -- the Sanyo Dual Camera Xacti and shows off some of the high-definition device's attributes.

Behind Microsoft's New Viral Video

Mar 18, 2009

Microsoft’s latest viral video, which uses the creative theme “Pretending to work,” was actually created by a group of workaholic freelancers who did it on the weekends.

eMarketer: How to Improve Hulu

Mar 15, 2009

How can Hulu and similiar online TV network video portals be improved? At the recent Association of National Advertisers' TV & Everything Video Forum, the question was put to eMarketer CEO Geoffrey Ramsey. He spends his days immersed in data reports about online consumer behavior and reactions. He gave the networks high marks for launching portals like Hulu but noted how those sites needed to improve their advertising structures and practices.

Hulu Embraces Social Networking

Mar 12, 2009

The Internet-video site Hulu is adding social-networking functions in hopes of building user loyalty and mining data to attract more advertisers.

Zappos and Magnify Join Forces to Combine The Thrill Of Retail Therapy With Web 2.0 Video

Mar 11, 2009

Online footware and apparel retailer Zappos.com is partnering with video hosting and sharing platform Magnify.net to launch a “BoxBreak” campaign to engage the retailer’s customers into building a video community around Zappos. BoxBreak will encourage customers to first capture their experience (via video) of opening a Zappos box when it arrives and then upload the video to Zappo’s Magnify.net sponsored channel.

ESPN360 Revamps Video Ad Platform

Mar 10, 2009

ESPN has launched a new online video ad platform for its proprietary broadband network, ESPN360.com. The company claims the platform will provide advertisers more flexibility along with richer reporting for Web video campaigns.

Nielsen: Video Viewing Up Across Three Screens

Feb 23, 2009

The appetite for video continued to grow in the fourth quarter as U.S. consumers watched more programming across television, the Internet and mobile devices in the fourth quarter than the prior quarter, according to Nielsen's latest A2/M2 Three Screen report .

Cable Firms Look to Offer TV Programs Online

Feb 20, 2009

Top cable-television providers and TV networks are exploring a sweeping solution to the threat of online video: putting large numbers of cable shows online, but accessible only to cable subscribers. Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc. are discussing with owners of major cable-TV networks ways to give cable subscribers online access to much of the networks' programming, according to people familiar with the situation.

Is Hulu Rethinking Its Distribution Strategy?

Feb 19, 2009

There's nothing connecting Hulu's decisions to pull out of TV.com and Boxee on the same day, according to sources close to the company. Hulu's managers were motivated by very different reasons in each case, said the sources (TV.com is owned by CBS, parent company of CNET News). Nonetheless, the decision to dump Boxee is bad for the start-up, for Web video fans, and for Hulu.

Adidas.TV Goes Hulu Route

Feb 18, 2009

The Adidas-branded video service, slated to roll out starting this week, lives at its own Internet hub. But in a nod to the vogue for sharing online content, it is designed to spread Adidas video across the Web.

Marketers Turn to Celebs on People.com

Feb 16, 2009

People.com and creative shop Ideocracy have struck a partnership to launch a new online video platform to link brands with celebrities.

Trident Finds It Hard to Go Viral

Feb 12, 2009

Some brands, like Dove soap and Levi's jeans, have created a lot of buzz with online videos so compelling that millions of people shared them with friends or posted them to their favorite Web sites. But so-called viral marketing is a tricky business, as is clear from the campaign for a new Trident gum touted for its ability to strengthen and rebuild teeth.

Study: Social Networks Drive Video Views

Feb 12, 2009

Unfortunately for video discovery technology companies, social networks now refer more consumers to online videos than video search engines, according to new research from video deployment, syndication and tracking service TubeMogul.

Hulu Who?

Feb 9, 2009

In the spring of 2007 Jason Kilar was trying to beef up the video offerings of his employer, Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, when he got a call from a headhunting firm. Would he consider running Hulu, a new joint venture by two “old media” giants, NBC Universal and News Corp? The idea was to enter the confusing online-video market by starting a service from scratch—and doing it properly. Mr Kilar said yes.

Hulu's Super Bowl Message Delivers Blow To Online Video's Value Proposition

Alan Schulman
Feb 2, 2009

Despite the mostly weak display of conceptual and copywriting prowess (if you can call it that) that was this year's crop of Super Bowl ads, one ad that stood out in the mind of this creative director as being particularly useless was the Alec Baldwin shill for NBC/FOX's Hulu online video platform. What a lost opportunity.

T-Mobile Dance To 2million YouTube Views In A Week

Jan 27, 2009

The T-Mobile UK team have a big challenge. How to cut through when you're the number 4 brand, up against 3 bigger competitors who are out-spending you (O2, Vodafone, Orange), in a low-interest category (people are much more interested in the phone than the network). Well, early signs suggest that the latest brand communication may help.

Confessions of a TED Addict

Jan 24, 2009

Oh why oh why have I been bingeing on TED talks again? I promised myself I would quit watching the ecstatic series of head-rush disquisitions, available online, from violinists, political prisoners, brain scientists, novelists and Bill Clinton. But I can’t. Each hortatory TED talk starts with a bang and keeps banging till it explodes in fireworks. How can I shut it off? The speakers seem fevered, possessed, Pentecostal. No wonder I am, too, now.

Online and Interactive Video Advertising Hot for 2009

Jan 22, 2009

According to a recent survey of more than 400 senior-level decision makers,  online video is the top priority for digital marketing budget.

How YouTube Changes the Way We Think

Clive Thompson
Jan 5, 2009

Two years ago, a YouTube member named MadV put up a short, cryptic video. He held his hand up to the camera, showing what he'd written on his palm: "One World." Within a few days, hundreds of YouTube users had posted videos displaying their own scrawled messages. DIY tools for shooting, editing, and broadcasting video aren't just changing who uses the medium. They're changing how we use it.

Video Expected To 'Buck The Downward Trend'

Dec 22, 2008

Even as traditional publishers put the squeeze on digital units, efforts to expand online video are pushing ahead. After initial forays in the last few years, magazine and newspaper sites are upgrading video operations with an eye toward reaping the premium rates that video ads command.

Ace Keeps Pace With Social Grace Of Virals

Dec 15, 2008

Ace is the place to "Ace Your Face" this holiday season as the hardware chain, targeting a younger demographic, offers consumers an easy online method for creating and sending personalized greeting cards.

2008: The Year of Living Cheaply

Dec 10, 2008

From ditching their cable subscriptions to opting for "staycations," many Americans found ways to cut back during the past year.

YouTube Gains Online Video Views but Loses Market Share

Dec 10, 2008

The latest online video audience numbers, released today by ComScore, are sort of a good news/bad news scenario for Google.

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