Wed. June 26, 2013- SPECIAL BUSINESS WEBINAR!

Small Business Accounting Basics - What you NEED to Know!

Webinar Presented by VO Peeps  - Sponsored by MCA-i

Wednesday June 26, 6 pm PST 8 pm CST 9 pm EST

Join Host Anne Ganguzza and presenter Denise Chamberlain for this special webinar aimed at media professionals! Whether you own a company or freelance you need to operate like a business! This webinar is the first in a series to help you be successful in Show Business!

Register Here!

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You Gotta See this: History of Video On the Web

AdWeek Magazine's May issue is all about video. It includes a great article --including video by Sam Thielman on "A Very Brief History of Web Video from LonelyGirl15 to Billions Of Viewers." Here's the link :http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/very-brief-history-web-video-148949

Help Future Media Leaders

 Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) http://www.fbla.org for high schoolers and its college division, Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) is holding its annual conference in late June at the Anaheim Convention Center. They're looking for professionals from every industry to volunteer as judges. If you can donate six hours in either a morning or afternoon session contact them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or signup online at fbla.org/judgesform.asp

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6 Things You Should Know About Every Prospect

Selling: It's always a big mistake to "show up and throw up" a bunch of slides. That's just asking for trouble, because the prospect will know that you're not really prepared to talk about the prospect's real issues. Therefore, before you present to a prospect, there are six key perspectives that you absolutely MUST have (if you want a fast sale). Here they are:

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5 Ways To Grow Your Business Despite The Economic Crisis

Looking at the gridlock in Washington, it’s easy to get discouraged about the future of your business. But entrepreneurs have a long history of tunneling under, over and around obstacles—and finding new opportunities on the other side. You can do the same, even if the obstacle is as daunting as the current economic uncertainty we all face. Here are some strategies to grow your business, despite today’s political climate.

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Free Internet Marketing Tip

By Anne Ganguzza, Courtesy of http://blog.vopeeps.com 
(Anne is the founder of VO Peeps and serves on the Board of Directors for the LA/OC Chapter of MCA-i. While this article was aimed at VO artists, it contains good advice for all media professionals who need to market their services—Editor)

There are a lot of tips and tricks we can apply to our Internet marketing to increase our effectiveness, but there is one tried and true method that has proven to be effective on many different levels, and is something I have been telling my students for years:  Content is key.

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Don't be the weakest link on LinkedIn

Are you on LinkedIn (LNKD)? Probably so. Is it helping you sell? Probably not. Never have so many connected with so much and landed so few new customers. Although everybody in the business-to-business world seems to be on the professional networking service, only a rare few have a strategy that gets results.

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Duel of the Edit Systems: CS6 vs. FCPX

Our friends at OCMMA (OC MultiMedia Association) have an important event on Nov. 8th which you should not miss! It's a head to head matchup of Adobe's Premiere Pro CS6 and Apple's Final Cut Pro X! OCMMA's Mike McGready will pilot the CS6 and MCAI's Dolores Jennerson-Madden (an apple certified instructor) will engage him in battle with FCP-X! Besides comparing how the two systems perform you may win some valuable doorprizes!

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Tips to Undo the Damage Your Facebook Profile Has Done

Social Media can be a double-edged sword. Even in the media industry, where so many of us have the freedom to dress, act and opine without corporate restrictions, this can still be true. MCA-i is always looking for articles to help media pros, and while this one was written for job searchers it has lots of good advice for media freelancers as well. -Editor

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Building an Audience Online

A blog is simply a web log, or diary, that one shares with others. But when users were finally able to add video to these blogs, a viral phenomenon was born. People watched more than 10 billion videos online last year. Shouldn't some of those people be watching your stuff?

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You Can Pick the Entries for Anaheim Fim Festival!

Beginning July 26th, the Anaheim Film Arts Society (AFAS) will give you the opportunity to participate in the selection process for this year’s Anaheim Film Festival & Media Arts Expo.

Every Thursday evening at 7pm for six weeks starting July 26 through Aug 30th, The AFAS will present a selection of shorts, features, and documentaries that are in consideration for this year’s festival. After viewing these films, you’ll have a chance to give us your feedback and be a part of selecting some of the films that will play in October

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Anaheim Film Fest Now Accepting Entries

The new Anaheim Film Festival and Media Arts Expo is now accepting entries for the fall event being held November 14-18, 2012. MCA-i is produc to be a community sponsor for thsi great new event.

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Branding With a Better Website

What is your website saying about your brand? I've looked at more than 750 business websites for clients and their competitors in their industries in the last two years. The majority are blah and do not build the brand. All of this is happening at the exact moment that these companies are saying that they want to stand out from the market clutter. If you want to take your brand to the next level, try these website tips:

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8 Ways To Focus When Working From Home

Working at a home office is a blessing and a curse. Your commute is nil, but distractions are everywhere. Television, household chores, dogs, children, roommates and spouses can all knock you off your game. I asked dozens of those in the trenches to share their best work-from-home tips. Here are eight of the most helpful.

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How To Find Photos You Can Legally Use Anywhere

 

No matter what you publish -- a blog, updates to the company website, project reports, or even the venerable tri-fold -- you no doubt need artwork to complement it.

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Getting the Best Performance from VO Talent.

Your client’s approved the copy. You’ve cast the voiceover talent. You’ve booked the session. Now, it’s time to record.  With the talent behind the mic, ready to lay down the track, you wonder, “Will I get the read I hear in my head?”

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Travis Analyzes The SAG-AFTRA Merger

The SAG/AFTRA Merger:  What does this mean to MCA-I Members?

Short answer: Nobody knows.

Slightly short answer: Not nearly as much as the industry changes which prompted the merger in the first place.

Longer answer:  As of this writing, it appears that the two primary actor’s unions in the United States are about to merge into one union. The merger depends upon acceptance, by ballot, of the majority of the members of both unions.  

Background:

The reason there were originally two separate unions is because, until recently, the two unions represented performers in two separate industries – AFTRA (The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) represented performers in the broadcasting industry.  SAG (the Screen Actors Guild) was formed to represent actors in the Motion Picture Industry. 

Both of these unions were formed before the advent of television.  Since both are part of the AFL-CIO, and because many performers were members of both unions, the two unions agreed to work together to avoid conflict when determining jurisdiction – which union would represent which performers who appear on television.  It was decided that AFTRA would represent actors who appeared on live television, and SAG would represent performers on TV programs which were shot on film. When videotape came into widespread use, the unions agreed that videotape would be treated as “live” television when it came to matters of jurisdiction.  For non-broadcast programs, such as corporate videos and training programs, the same rules would apply, SAG for film, and AFTRA for everything else. 

That system worked well, until the advent of the digital age.  Each year, the lines between “TV/Tape” and “Film” productions became less clear.  Some forward-thinking members of both unions succeeded in getting members to vote on mergers in 1998 and 2003, both attempts failed.  There were too many issues of disagreement between the unions concerning existing matters of retirement, dues, and joining eligibility for those merger attempts to succeed.  Many predicted that a serious jurisdictional dispute would occur in time.

That dispute came in to existence 2008 during contract negotiations with the major TV show producers.  AFTRA wanted to accept an offer from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers that SAG would not.  AFTRA then broke with SAG and accepted the producer’s offer.  Though SAG ultimately came to agreement with the Producers, rates for TV shows under the AFTRA agreement were slightly lower.  The same year producers realized it was becoming possible to give up film and keep the same film-look and quality on TV shows.  Producers pounced on the opportunity, and converted dozens of TV shows from film to electronic, thereby switching union jurisdiction from SAG to AFTRA. Needless to say SAG was not happy.  There were also issues of jurisdiction in “new media” which neither side could agree.  The only reasonable solution – merge the two unions.  Most people involved say the merger is likely to go through this time.

Impact of the Merger:

So what does this mean to producers?  -In the short term, very little.  Rates working under both unions are essentially the same.  If you use union performers in your productions, there may be some slight changes of paperwork, but that’ll be about it.  If you usually work non-union, you’ll go on using the same people under the same working conditions.  And remember, most professional performers already charge considerably more than SAG/AFTRA scale- they have to in order to make a decent standard of living.

Long term, however, may be a different story.  Longstanding differences between AFTRA and SAG will need to be worked out, and worked out quickly.  Take, for instance, the matter of the 30-mile “production zone” in Los Angeles, which states that production which takes place within 30 miles of the intersection of Beverly and La Cienega are “local” – which means no per diems or other expenses typically charged for “on-location” productions.  For a long time, many SAG members have seen the zone as discouraging union work in Southern California, while the 30-mile zone has been a real cash-cow for AFTRA members working for TV stations. – Extra money for TV news reporters and other performers who cross the zone under certain locations. AFTRA has been known to intentionally discourage production in Orange County to keep that situation in place.  The merger may mean new SAG/AFTRA offices in Orange County/Ventura/San Bernardino counties, or an extension of the “zone”.

Some performers have benefitted in the separation of the two unions – Having a SAG membership for “bigtime” film and TV productions in Hollywood, and not joining AFTRA, so they can do lower-budget video productions without the risk of violating the union’s “rule-one” (Don’t do non-union work) and subsequent penalties.

SAG also has a history of being much more flexible than AFTRA for certain productions.  For instance you can produce a low-budget SAG feature, and only pay your actors $100.00 per-day, with the union’s blessing – the deal being that if the film’s a big success, you’ll need to pay your actors what they would-have-made under a full SAG contract-plus a bonus.  AFTRA has no such provision, except for certain “new-media” productions.

I don’t consider myself to be a good prognosticator, but it seems that nobody else is either, so here are my predictions:

(1) Most smaller production companies will notice very little change as a result of the unions’ merger.


(2) It will take a couple of years before the total impact of the SAG/AFTRA merger will even begin to be felt.  There are a great number of things the two unions will need to work out AFTER the merger is approved, and there will be a few lawsuits to settle.


(3) Some SAG members and some AFTRA members will hate the deal and attempt to start a new union.


(4) The TMZ (Thirty Mile Zone) will be extended or there will be a new “Local Zone” created in Orange County and other places.


(5) Ultimately, there will be an increase in small productions using union performers. Many producers will be surprised to find it actually saves them money.


(6) We will see greater flexibility from the “new” union, in terms of working with smaller production companies and low-budget production.


(7)
Standardization of “new media” rates.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Travis (who goes professionally by just the one name) is a Newport Beach voiceover artist and lifetime member of MCA-i who, before becoming a fulltime voiceover performer, worked as a broadcast engineer, producer, AV industry writer and programmer.  His demos may be found at: http://www.VOTalent.com

 

Kevin Smith Engages Fans at 'Live From Behind' Event

By Jessica Gardner
February 3, 2012 From Backstage: http://www.backstage.com/bso/news-and-features-features/kevin-smith-engages-fans-at-live-from-behind-1006093362.story

Director/writer/podcaster Kevin Smith spoke live at the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto on Thursday. However, "Silent Bob" fans could view the three-hour event from 300 movie theaters across North America.'

During "Kevin Smith: Live From Behind," Smith and his long-time friend and frequent co-star Jason "Jay" Mewes recorded their popular podcast "Jay and Silent Bob Get Old." The duo then took questions from their audience in Toronto as well as from Twitter using hashtag #livefrombehind.

Smith is known for openly sharing his thoughts on his work and the industry with his fans in his podcasts and interviews. Smith's trademark blue humor peppered the conversation, but fan questions kept the night from being entirely raunchy.

Photo by Getty Images - Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes

Smith talked about his opinion on the SOPA/PIPA debate; his production company, Smodcast Pictures; and how he plans to help filmmakers distribute unreleased projects.

Smith also discussed his past, present, and future projects including "Clerks," "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," "Reaper," "Red State," "Hit Somebody," and "Jay and Silent Bob's Totally Groovy Cartoon Movie."

 Here are some highlights from the evening.

 On the SOPA/PIPA debate:

"As a guy who creates content, I should be like, 'I believe in stopping piracy,' but I don't. I don't think piracy is all that bad. If piracy leads to buying our shit down the road then I'm for it. You're talking about a generation who is used to getting shit for free. You've got to play the ball where it lays. Let's just accept the fact that the genie's out of the bottle. Now they watch and if they like it, they buy it. It's just the world we're living in now. My thought is: adapt to what the audience wants."

On his theory of film marketing and creating content:

"I used to believe that you make a movie, people come see it, and that's it. It felt like a weird one-sided equation to me…Now, I believe more in being there in person. That makes people want to come out of their houses. You've got to live in the nooks and crannies of the audience's lives. You can't anymore say, 'Put your shit down and come to us.' There's too many different entertainment options. Me, I've been trying to find ways to go into the free time that an audience has. That's why I like to create audio content. You can take that with you anywhere."

On "Hit Somebody," which he claims will be his last film:

"'Hit Somebody' is the hockey movie I'm writing which will be my last movie. It's about taking one shot. It follows a character from 1950 to 1980…It's a great big valentine to Canada and to the land that created the game, kind of like 'Field of Dreams' for hockey. That's what I went for. Hopefully we'll start filming in June or July."

 

Half Watch Online Pre-Roll Ads

New Data Indicates Almost Half of Online Viewers Watch Pre-Roll Ads Even When They Can Choose Not To

 

by Will Richmond NATPE Video Nuze

Two recent data points share a common, though somewhat surprising, conclusion: almost half of online viewers watch pre-roll ads to the end even when presented with the choice to opt out and skip the ad entirely. Clearly two data points aren't enough to form a real trend, but they do provide insight into how online video advertising may ultimately differ from traditional TV advertising.

The first data point came from YouTube and Scripps, via this article in Online Media Daily. Scripps ran ads for 3 different programs on YouTube using its "True View" format that allows users to easily skip past the ad. It turned out that 44% of viewers actually watched the ad through to the end (a key benefit of the TrueView model is that advertisers only pay for ad views, not for skips).

Then separately this week, video ad manager AdoTube released its Q1 2011 In-Stream Ad Format Index, which provides data on the 4.25 billion ad impressions generated across AdoTube's network (slides here). Among the key findings: 45% of viewers of its "Polite Pre-Roll" which allows skipping, watched through to the end. That was a 7% increase from the prior quarter and on par with conventional pre-roll ads. Another interesting finding was that when the Polite Pre-Roll is used, the abandonment rate for the content itself is 18% lower than when conventional pre-rolls are used, suggesting that ad choice enhances the content experience.

 

 

YouTube Turns Pro.

by John Seabrook January 16, 2012
From: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/01/16/120116fa_fact_seabrook

On TV, airtime is a scarce resource; on YouTube, it’s infinite.

On a rainy night in late November, Robert Kyncl was in Google’s New York City offices, on Ninth Avenue, whiteboarding the future of TV. Kyncl holds a senior position at YouTube, which Google owns. He is the architect of the single largest cultural transformation in YouTube’s seven-year history. Wielding a black Magic Marker, he charted the big bang of channel expansion and audience fragmentation that has propelled television history so far, from the age of the three networks, each with a mass audience, to the hundreds of cable channels, each serving a niche audience—twenty-four-hour news, food, sports, weather, music—and on to the dawning age of Internet video, bringing channels by the tens of thousands. “People went from broad to narrow,” he said, “and we think they will continue to go that way—spend more and more time in the niches—because now the distribution landscape allows for more narrowness.”

Kyncl puts his whole body into his whiteboard performances, and you can almost see the champion skier he used to be. As a teen-ager in Czechoslovakia, he was sent to a state-run boarding school where talented young skiers trained for the Olympics. At eighteen, “I realized then that all I knew was skiing,” he told me. After the Velvet Revolution of 1989, he applied to a program that placed Eastern Europeans in American summer camps as counselors, and spent the summer in Charlottesville, Virginia. The following year, Kyncl went to SUNY, in New Paltz, where he majored in international relations.

People prefer niches because “the experience is more imersive,” Kyncl went on. “For example, there’s no horseback-riding channel on cable. Plenty of people love horseback riding, and there’s plenty of advertisers who would like to market to them, but there’s no channel for it, because of the costs. You have to program a 24/7 loop, and you need a transponder to get your signal up on the satellite. With the Internet, everything is on demand, so you don’t have to program 24/7—a few hours is all you need.”

For the past sixty years, TV executives have been making the decisions about what we watch in our living rooms. Kyncl would like to change that. Therefore YouTube, the home of grainy cell-phone videos and skateboarding dogs, is going pro. Kyncl has recruited producers, publishers, programmers, and performers from traditional media to create more than a hundred channels, most of which will début in the next six months—a sort of YouTV. Streaming video, delivered over the Internet, is about to engage traditional TV in a skirmish in the looming war for screen time.

Kyncl attacked the two-dimensional plane with his marker, schussing the media moguls, racing over and around them to the future. He drew a vertiginously plunging double-diamond run representing the dissolution of mass TV audiences as cable channels began to proliferate. Then he drew the bunny slope of Web-based channels that will further fragment audiences. According to Forrester Research, by 2016 half of all households will have Wi-Fi-enabled devices on their televisions, which will bring all those new channels into the living room, tempting people to cancel their pricey cable subscriptions. The only way for the networks and the cable companies to grow will be to buy Web-based channels.

Isn’t that more or less what happened thirty years ago? I asked. The networks, which had originally disparaged the new cable channels as cheap-looking and too narrowly focussed, ended up buying them when cable took off.

“Absolutely that’s what happened,” Kyncl said, with a slight Czech accent. “And it will happen again.”

He set the marker down on the conference-room table, and smiled. YouTube had won the gold.

YouTube was created by three former employees of PayPal, in a Silicon Valley garage, in early 2005. According to two of the founders, Chad Hurley and Steven Chen, a graphic designer and a software engineer, respectively, the idea grew out of a dinner party at Chen’s home in San Francisco, in the winter of 2004-05. Guests had made videos of one another, but they couldn’t share them easily. The founders envisioned a video version of Flickr, a popular photo-sharing site. All the content on the site would be user-generated: “Real personal clips that are taken by everyday people,” as Hurley described his vision.

The third founder, Jawed Karim, also a software engineer, had an additional source of inspiration: Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” on CBS’s broadcast of the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. The incident spawned an enormous amount of commentary, an F.C.C. fine, and a lawsuit that went all the way to the Supreme Court, but if you missed the live broadcast you were out of luck.

On the evening of April 23, 2005, Karim uploaded the first video to YouTube—an eighteen-second clip of him, standing in front of the elephant enclosure at the San Diego Zoo, wearing an ill-fitting hiking jacket. He says, “The cool thing about these guys is that they have really, really, really long trunks, and that’s cool,” smirks a little, and ends with “And that’s pretty much all there is to say.” Civilization would never be the same.

By the time a beta version of YouTube went live, in May, 2005, its archive held several dozen videos, supplied mostly by the founders and their friends; Chen contributed a couple of his cat, Stinky. Not surprisingly, traffic was light. YouTube was like “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” without the fun. The founders had no outside financing at the time, and they were paying for equipment and bandwidth with the payouts they had earned from PayPal when eBay bought the company, in 2002; some of the costs went on Chen’s credit card. The situation looked bleak. In a video shot that month in a garage, the founders discuss their predicament. Chen says, “I was getting pretty depressed toward the end of last week.” Someone says, “This is lame.” The founders decided that videos of good-looking babes might help, and they placed ads on Craigslist, offering attractive women a hundred dollars for ten videos. No one responded.

On June 20th, Karim wrote in an e-mail to Chen and Hurley, “If we want to sign up lots of users who keep coming back, we have to target the people who will never upload a video in their life. And those are really valuable because they spend time watching.” What the watchers wanted was music videos, skits from “Saturday Night Live,” and episodes of “South Park”—professional content. “And if they watch, then it’s just like TV, which means lots of value,” Karim added.

In e-mails that later became the centerpiece of a billion-dollar copyright-infringement suit brought by Viacom against YouTube, in 2007, both Karim and Chen advocated a laissez-faire response toward copyrighted content. If the content owners asked YouTube to take a video down, the site would comply; otherwise, the founders would leave it. Hurley presciently wrote, “OK man, save your meal money for some lawsuits.” But he, too, went along with the relaxed approach.

In June, the site incorporated a number of new features, including the ability to embed YouTube videos in other sites and links between videos, and traffic began to pick up. By December, YouTube had several million views a day. That month, “Lazy Sunday,” a skit from “Saturday Night Live,” in which Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell rap about eating cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery and going to a Sunday matinée of “The Chronicles of Narnia,” was posted on YouTube, and viewed more than five million times before it was removed at NBCUniversal’s request.

I discovered the pleasures of YouTube around this time. Someone sent me a link to a music video, and I followed it to the site. The whimsical D.I.Y.-ness of the home page, with its clutter of clickable offerings, many sophomoric in nature, made the place feel like a college dorm. Adorable babies, angry cats, embarrassing falls, and child prodigies mingled with the music videos and great concert footage of bands I loved performing at their peak. I e-mailed links to my friends. One of them wrote back, “This is like public television was supposed to be!”

At the beginning, I used YouTube more as a radio. Almost every song I wanted to hear, from any era, was on it. (It never occurred to me that someone may have violated the owners’ copyright by uploading those videos; streaming seemed more like borrowing than stealing.) Before long, I was taking online Delta-blues guitar lessons from a guy who called himself BlindBoy, and whose face never appeared onscreen—it was just the guitar, his hands, and his Lennon-like Liverpudlian accent. BlindBoy was a talented teacher and a prolific poster, and soon I was spending more time watching this headless Englishman than, say, the “The Daily Show.” I was definitely one of the watchers: I would never have thought of uploading a video myself. But watching YouTube was nothing like watching TV. It was user-generated anarchy.

In October, 2006, Google bought YouTube, for $1.65 billion. (Hurley and Chen made the announcement in a YouTube video entitled “A Message from Chad and Steve”; Karim, who had left the company by that point, was nowhere to be seen, and henceforth all but disappears from official company history.) Within a year, Google had tamed the Wild West of copyright infringement that characterized YouTube’s pioneer days, both through licensing deals with major content providers and through a content-management program, called Content ID, that alerted copyright holders automatically whenever any part of their content went up on YouTube. Owners can choose to remove the content, sell ads against it and share the money with YouTube, or use it as a promotional tool. Content ID generates a third of YouTube’s revenue. (In June, 2010, Louis Stanton, the judge in the long-running Viacom v. YouTube case, granted summary judgment to YouTube. Viacom is appealing that ruling, and a decision is expected soon.)

Having dealt with YouTube’s copyright problems, Google’s C.E.O., Eric Schmidt, turned to the issue of monetization. YouTube’s expenses—mainly the bandwidth costs of streaming all those videos—exceeded its revenues, which, like Google’s, came from ad sales. The general impression among advertisers at the time was that YouTube was not “brand safe,” because its streets “were not clean and well lit,” as David Cohen, an executive vice-president at the ad agency Universal McCann, put it to me. YouTube needed to devise a strategy similar to Google’s paid search. But although YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world, many people are searching for entertainment, which is different from searching for information and harder to match ads with; “lol” is one of the most popular search terms on the site. Keyword searches are confined to the “metadata”—the labels and titles of the videos; search can’t go inside the videos themselves. Often, videos are poorly labelled, and, if they come straight from cell phones, as many do, they may not be labelled at all.

If anyone at Google could solve the monetization problem, it was Salar Kamangar. Born in Iran in 1976, Kamangar came to the United States with his parents shortly before the Iranian Revolution. He got a degree in biology from Stanford, and stayed in Palo Alto to work on a degree in economics. In 1999, he attended a job fair on campus, where he met Sergey Brin, who was manning the booth for Google, a start-up that he and Larry Page had founded a year earlier. Kamangar became Google employee No. 9. Steven Levy, in his recent book about Google, “In the Plex,” describes Kamangar as having “a glow of success around him . . . as a result of his work in developing Google’s ad system.” That glow, however, does not translate into physical presence. Kamangar is slight of build, soft-spoken, and shy, especially around reporters. He brought his laptop to our meeting, and looked at it from time to time while we talked. His eyes relaxed whenever they hit the screen.

In the fall of 2008, at Schmidt and Hurley’s request, Kamangar began working at YouTube headquarters, in San Bruno, California. (Hurley remained at YouTube, but he ceded day-to-day management to Kamangar, and left altogether in October, 2010.) The airy, light-filled offices were originally designed for the Gap. There is a putting green in the atrium, with garden gnomes placed around it; red helium balloons float above the desks of new employees; the downstairs conference rooms are named for well-known video games; and a very large, triple-chute slide, also in YouTube red, is installed in the two-story central workspace. Underlying these whimsical touches is a seriousness of purpose that one encounters in small start-ups but only rarely in companies the size of YouTube (more than seven hundred employees and growing fast, to judge by all the red balloons).

Under Kamangar’s leadership, YouTube has continued to grow. Today, it has eight hundred million unique users a month, and generates more than three billion views a day. Forty-eight hours of new video are uploaded to the site every minute. According to Nielsen, it drew eight times more video viewers last year than Hulu, which is jointly owned by NBCUniversal, News Corporation, and the Walt Disney Company, among others. It is the first truly global media platform on earth.

YouTube’s Partner Program, begun in 2007, has also flourished. YouTube sells advertising against popular channels created by homegrown YouTube stars—vloggers, sit-down comedians (a form of comedy unique to YouTube), mashup artists, bedroom auteurs, Mr. Fix-Its—and shares the revenues with the channels’ creators. For most of YouTube’s thirty thousand partners, this means a few hundred dollars a month, but the top five hundred partners earn more than a hundred thousand a year, and in some cases—Real Annoying Orange, a socially inept talking citrus who converses with other pieces of fruit; Shane Dawson, a madcap twenty-three-year-old sketch comedian; and Michelle Phan, a Vietnamese-American beauty guru, among them—they earn much more. Tweens are more familiar with these “welebrities” than they are with the stars on TV, a grim augury for the future of traditional television.

As YouTube has grown, Kamangar and his team have struggled to keep its algorithm up to speed. The algorithm is that secret software machine that determines which videos the home page suggests for you, based on your watch history, trending videos, and the most popular videos on the site. Weighting each of those factors properly, while maintaining a sense of serendipity—those stumble-upon videos that are one of the delights of YouTube—has been a challenge. When the top hits become overly dominant, the algorithm is tweaked to encourage greater diversity. Too much diversity, however, and you get seemingly random suggestions on the home page, and you stop watching.

But there is one category in which YouTube has made little progress. The average ’Tuber spends only fifteen minutes a day on the site—a paltry showing when compared with the four or five hours the average American spends in front of the TV each day. The standard block of programming on TV lasts twenty-two minutes; on YouTube, it’s three minutes. As Rick Klau, a former YouTube product manager who is now a partner at Google Ventures, said, “We give people seven or eight opportunities in the course of a half hour to opt out.” People tend to watch YouTube on their computers at work. A three-minute break every couple of hours isn’t really goofing off; it’s more like a trip to the virtual water cooler. On TV, programmers bracket certain shows together in the hope that you won’t change the channel, and channels promote upcoming shows during commercial breaks. But on YouTube you’re the programmer, and every time a video ends you have to make a programming decision: what should you watch next? All too often, the algorithm isn’t much help.

If YouTube could get people to stay on the site longer, it could sell more advertising, and raise the rates it charges advertisers for each thousand views, which are known in the industry as C.P.M.s. (In spite of the fact that YouTube has a much larger number of users, it lags behind Hulu in C.P.M. rates, possibly because Hulu’s longer-format programming keeps viewers from leaving the site as quickly, and because advertisers prefer to be associated with the made-for-broadcast content that Hulu offers.) Advertisers spend some sixty billion dollars a year on television; they spend only about three billion on online video.

Clearly, YouTube would benefit from premium content, the kind of stuff you could watch on Netflix and Hulu. But the owners of that content were reluctant to license it to YouTube, either because they could make more money selling it elsewhere or because they didn’t trust YouTube/Google. Kamangar needed someone who would make content owners realize how valuable YouTube’s audience could be to them.

Robert Kyncl started his career in entertainment in the mailroom of a talent agency, J. Michael Bloom, in Los Angeles, and later worked for HBO in New York before returning to the West Coast to join a dot-com start-up called ALFY, a Web site for kids. In 2003, Netflix recruited Kyncl to help secure movies for its thriving DVD-by-mail business.

In 2005, Kyncl volunteered to look into the business of streaming video. At that time, the usual method of obtaining music as well as video over the Internet was to download the file. Apple’s iTunes store, which launched in 2003, sold downloads. Streaming video, which enables the viewer to play a file that resides on a remote server, was believed to be a less desirable method of delivery, because the picture quality was often inferior. “Every single company was focussed on downloading at that time,” Kyncl told me. “And then one day I saw this thing called YouTube, and I thought, Wow, a lot of people are watching grainy videos on this; obviously they’re willing to trade fidelity for utility. That was a revelation.”

The streaming service débuted on Netflix in 2007, offering movies and television programs, and it quickly caught on with subscribers. For the price of a subscription to Netflix, which was about ten dollars a month, you could watch as many movies as you wanted; if you didn’t like one, you could start another. “It brought channel-surfing to movies,” Kyncl says. For many people, Netflix was the first glimpse of a kind of content holy grail: limitless choice, all on demand, and available on any Internet-connected device. By 2010, streaming had become a major part of Netflix’s business. Its stock price soared.

But, big as the streaming-video business became for Netflix, its potential was even greater. Computers were already beginning to change the experience of watching TV, by allowing viewers to access programs and movies on laptops, phones, and gaming devices. The next phase would be televisions that connected to the Internet through Wi-Fi, which would allow users to stream Web-original content on the TV. Netflix, with one foot in the old world of DVD delivery—the world of atoms, not bits—might not fully realize the new medium’s potential. (Indeed, in September, 2011, when Reed Hastings, the co-founder and C.E.O. of Netflix, tried to separate the DVD-by-mail side of the company from the streaming side, and to charge customers more if they wanted both services, subscribers were outraged.) But someone was going to figure it out.

In the spring of 2010, a recruiter called Kyncl at Netflix and asked him if he would be interested in meeting Kamangar. Although the two men seem miles apart in temperament—Kyncl is outgoing and personable; Kamangar is introverted and intense—they hit it off.

The senior vice-president of YouTube wanted Kyncl to help chart YouTube’s future. “Because YouTube is focussed on a lot of different types of content at the same time,” Kyncl told me, “it has many opportunities, and the hardest thing is to figure out which ones you shouldn’t do, and focus on the ones you should.”

Kyncl’s relationships in Hollywood would help in securing premium content; and, more important, he understood entertainment culture. He brought “the skill set of being able to bridge Silicon Valley and Hollywood—an information culture and an entertainment culture,” he told me. The crucial difference is that one culture is founded on abundance and the other on scarcity. He added, “Silicon Valley builds its bridges on abundance. Abundant bits of information floating out there, writing great programs to process it, then giving people a lot of useful tools to use it. Entertainment works by withholding content with the purpose of increasing its value. And, when you think about it, those two are just vastly different approaches, but they can be bridged.”

In TV, airtime is a scarce resource, and quality programming is scarcer still, and expensive to create. Writers spend months or years developing an idea, which they then pitch to network and cable executives, who make decisions based, at least in part, on their “gut.” The majority of the ideas never get produced. If a project is green-lighted, the networks or cable channels buy it and fund its production, and the creators have to give up some or all of their control over the material.

But on YouTube “airtime” is infinite, content costs almost nothing for YouTube to produce, and quantity, not quality, is the bottom line. “YouTube green-lights everything,” as Tim Shey, the director of the site’s division for coaching content creators, YouTube Next Lab, told me. It’s up to the audience, not the executive gut, to decide what’s worth watching. “I’ve worked in TV, and I’ve been the one green-lighting projects,” Shey went on. “Believe me, the YouTube way works much better.” Kyncl told me that at Google it makes no sense to bring “a gut-based decision-making process to a culture that is based on numerically quantifying everything. Ultimately, that kind of decision-making gets rejected, as if it were a foreign body.”When I met Kamangar, in California, he told me he thought that screen time in general was going to expand, so the battle for eyeballs wasn’t a zero-sum game. “Our data suggests TV watching is on the rise,” he said. “It seems to have increased from four to five hours in recent years, and we think it will keep increasing. Screen time in general will increase. I wake up with a Droid next to my bed, and I immediately look into the screen for my instructions.” At the mention of a screen, his eyes stole a longing glance back toward his laptop. “That’s the trend—more screen time—and we think that will benefit YouTube.”

Kyncl sees the situation in more absolute terms. He showed me a bar graph depicting the enormous advantage that TV has over YouTube in screen time. “We’re absolutely nothing compared to TV,” he said. “And this is why I came to YouTube. I want to take this”—he pointed to YouTube’s screen time—“up, and in a big way, because I think we can. And, if we do, this industry”—TV—“is worth three hundred billion dollars, worldwide, and we hope to see value shifting hands.”

In his first months on the job, Kyncl concentrated on beefing up YouTube’s streaming-movie-rental business—the company’s first foray into paid content—which, at that point, had mostly indie titles. He helped negotiate deals with Warner Bros., Sony, and NBCUniversal, among others. In May, 2011, the new service went live, heralded by a rare posting on the YouTube blog from Kamangar himself, entitled “Welcome to the future of video. Please stay a while.” More than three thousand titles were available for rent, at prices comparable to iTunes movie rentals. But, since most of the same films were already available for instant streaming on Netflix, for a flat monthly fee, the new service was something of a non-starter.

And popular TV shows like “Mad Men,” which Netflix also offered, were notably lacking on YouTube. When I spoke to Kamangar about this during my visit to company headquarters in July, he said that the deals were taking longer than expected to work out because so many shows were tied up in syndication and ancillary-rights deals that had been negotiated back when “no one thought that content would be watched on the Internet at this volume.” He added that making broadcast-content owners comfortable putting their stuff on YouTube “would require an attitudinal shift,” from scarcity thinking to abundance thinking, but that “there are signs this is happening.”

While Kamangar and Kyncl were expanding YouTube’s movie titles, they were also exploring a more radical idea. What if YouTube could get professional writers, directors, and producers to create original content for the site? As Kyncl put it, “YouTube already had many channels, but they were used more as a way for content creators to set up their relationship with YouTube and upload videos, rather than as a discovery mechanism for the viewer.” YouTube would not want to own or develop the content. “We’re a technology company, and that’s not in our DNA,” Kyncl said. “The focus would be on developing channels, and brands, rather than individual shows.” He added, “There is a fundamental difference between the way AOL and Yahoo behave and the way we behave. They commission individual pieces of content. What we do is commission channels. We don’t tell people how to program the channels. We have certain volume requirements”—for instance, channels would be required to supply a minimum number of hours of programming each week—“but we are not making show-by-show decisions.”

Early in 2011, Kyncl began meeting content creators in a variety of media—film, TV, music, print—whiteboarding the future of television, and inviting them to participate in it by creating new YouTube channels. He offered several million dollars in funding, in the form of advances against future ad revenues, to be used as development money. Once the advances are earned back, YouTube will share ad revenues with the creators. YouTube will have an exclusive right to the content for a year, but the creators will retain ownership. YouTube will be responsible for selling ads but will not invest in promoting or marketing the channels in the way that traditional television channels do. (There will be no lavish premiere parties, and no billboards in Times Square.)

Michael Hirschorn was among the people who heard Kyncl’s presentation. Hirschorn began his career in print but made his name in television, at VH1, where, as the head of programming, he oversaw hits like “Flavor of Love” and “Celebrity Rehab.” He now runs an independent production company called Ish Entertainment. Larry Aidem, the former president of the Sundance Channel, knew Robert Kyncl, Hirschorn told me, and he said he thought they should meet. “None of the stuff Robert described was happening yet, of course, but I felt, having been late to several revolutions previously, that we needed to go all out for this,” Hirschorn said. “I called Larry and said, ‘We need to start a company now.’

In all, Kyncl received more than a thousand proposals for new YouTube channels. He and his staff heard more than five hundred pitches, and winnowed them down to just over a hundred channels that would be awarded advances. Hirschorn attended more than twenty meetings. The winning proposals—branded “YouTube Original Channels”—were announced late on the Friday evening just before Halloween, at a time usually reserved for scandals and resignations, signalling that the third age of television, whatever it might be, would not be show business as usual.

Hirschorn and Aidem’s company, IconicTV, has been given advances for three channels: Life and Times, which will focus on Jay-Z’s cultural and artistic interests; 123UnoDosTres, an urban channel for Latin American young adults; and myISH, a channel for scouting musical talent. Madonna and her longtime manager, Guy Oseary, are developing a dance channel called Dance On. Amy Poehler is creating a channel called Smart Girls at the Party. Shaquille O’Neal is behind the Comedy Shaq Network, and there is a skateboard channel, RIDE, from Tony Hawk. Brian Bedol, who started the Classic Sports Network in the nineteen-nineties, and his partner Ken Lerer, the co-founder of the Huffington Post, got funds for four channels: Network A, an action-sports channel; KickTV, featuring soccer; Official Comedy, a standup-comedy showcase; and Look TV, a fashion-and-beauty channel. The Onion, Slate, and the Wall Street Journal are also creating channels, as are Hearst and Meredith. Even Disney, which had not made its films available to YouTube until November, agreed to partner with the company.

Although most of the entertainment channels fall into the variety-show format (a staple of the early years of television), some creators are attempting long-form dramas. Anthony Zuiker, who created the crime show “C.S.I.” for CBS, got a deal, along with his colleagues, to develop a channel called BlackBoxTV, a “Night Gallery”-like chiller theatre. When I asked him what attracted him to the opportunity, he said, “This world of online video is the future, and for an artist you want to be first in, to be a pioneer. And that time is now. We’ve had amateur content on the Web, and we’ve had network shows rebroadcast on the Web, but now we are combining those two into a bigger game.” He added, “You know, even with a hit show like ‘C.S.I.’ there’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen. There is a lot of interference and a lot of rules. With YouTube I will have a very small crew, and we are trying to keep focussed on a single voice. There aren’t any rules. There’s just the artist, the content, and the audience.”

And the advertisers. Like television itself, the business of TV advertising has had to learn to cope with audience fragmentation. Through the nineteen-sixties and seventies, it was not unusual for the three major networks to capture eighty-five to ninety per cent of the available prime-time audience. That made it possible for advertisers to create national brands. In the eighties, as cable caught on, with channels like CNN, TBS, MTV, and Lifetime, it began to chip off pieces of the audience from the networks. “The Cosby Show” was the last TV series to command a mass following. During the 1985-86 season, more than thirty per cent of all households with televisions tuned in. (Last year, “American Idol,” the most popular show on TV today, pulled in fewer than nine per cent of all television viewers in the U.S.) On any given day, most viewers are watching niche programming, from Rachel Maddow to Rachael Ray. The niches deliver fewer people to advertisers, which isn’t good, but in theory they also deliver a more engaged and more quantifiable audience, which might be good if it means that you can efficiently target the people who are especially receptive to your message. Nevertheless, many of the biggest brands continue to pursue what remains of the mass audiences of old, which is why ad time during the Super Bowl is so expensive.

On YouTube, the niches will get nichier, and the audiences smaller still. But those audiences will be even more engaged, and much more quantifiable. Advertisers have to rely on ratings and market research to get even a rough approximation of who’s watching which show. Because YouTube is delivered over the Internet, the company will know exactly who is watching—not their names but their viewing histories, their searches, their purchases, their rough location, and their online social connections. As Shishir Mehrotra, YouTube’s head product manager, explained to me, “Advertising will be done at the level of the audience rather than at the level of the show. Content is no longer proxy for an audience—we know who the audience is. We know what your preferences are, the types of shows you like to watch.” If you posted a video of your trip to Hawaii on YouTube, chances are YouTube is going to advertise airfare to Honolulu to you. Advertising can therefore be highly focussed, not the blunt instrument it is now.

That’s the theory, anyway. But audience-based buying is kind of creepy, privacy-wise, and it has alarming demographics-as-class implications. Would the one per cent watch Mercedes ads during the Super Bowl, while the rest of us watched ads from Walmart? Is audience-based advertising even practical? An agency would have to make thirty ads for thirty sub-niches. Say that a client wants to target the twenty-one thousand people who currently subscribe to Vegan Black Metal Chef’s YouTube channel. “So you’d have to hire a media buyer who was an expert in Vegan Black Metal,” David Cohen, of Universal McCann, said. “From a human-resources standpoint, that doesn’t make sense, unless you can figure out how to automate it.” According to Cohen, that’s beginning to happen.

Several weeks after YouTube announced the arrival of YouTube Original Channels, it held a training program at Google’s New York headquarters. Some sixty people, of varying ages, were in attendance, most with jobs at the production companies that would write, shoot, and edit the videos. They packed into conference rooms (which, like those at YouTube, are themed) for thirty-minute presentations from experienced YouTube creators on best practices. Sometimes people fanned out for breakout sessions around the vast Google floors that run the entire block from Eighth to Ninth Avenues, and which Google workers use scooters to navigate. The sessions I attended, in a room called Brass Monkey (the theme was New York bars), had the aspect of a nerdy summer camp.

Ben Relles, an employee at YouTube Next Lab and the creator of the Barely Political channel on YouTube, who had an early success with his 2007 “Obama Girl” video, featuring the actress Amber Lee Ettinger as a young Obama groupie, led off the first session. His subject was why certain videos go viral, and whether it was possible to study the data and deduce techniques that all producers can use to increase traffic. “It’s not true that viral videos are always accidents,” he said. Although people tend to think that viral videos are serendipitous, in fact, Relles said, six of the top ten most-viewed YouTube videos in 2010 were scripted and produced just like TV shows. The difference is that the poetics of YouTube favors authenticity over production values. But what looks good enough on your desktop may look cheap in your living room.

The day’s second session, on Audience Development, was led by Next Lab’s Andres Palmiter and Ryan Nugent. “The point is to bring people back on a daily basis,” Nugent said. “How do you leverage one viewer into many?” He reminded the participants to study the habits of their audience. Thanks to YouTube Analytics, the traffic-analysis program that YouTube makes available to everyone who puts up a video, creators can know both the size of their viewership and where people are watching—by country and state—as well as when they watch and how long they spend watching. If your audience is young, you want to post your video around 3 P.M., when kids are getting home from school. “Find out what it’s like to be a user,” Nugent advised.

Everybody took lots of notes, but I sensed a disconnect between the information people and the entertainment people. Familiar concepts from television, like “comedy” and “act structure” were spoken of with vocal quotation marks around them. During the Q. & A. period, someone asked, “What do you mean by ‘a show’?”

 "What do you mean,  What do I mean bya show ?"   Nugent replied.

"Well, can you talk about the difference between shows, playlists, and channels?"

Toward the end of the year, Kyncl came to New York for various meetings, and I went back to Google to see him. This time, I went to the eleventh floor, which Google has recently taken over. These conference rooms are themed according to both famous painters (an iconic work of each room’s namesake is rendered in glass around the door) and hit television shows from the past and the present. We met in the “Cosby Show”  room, a nice touch.

Kyncl was excited about the new YouTube home page, which represents a major change to the interface. The cluttered old home page has been replaced by a sleek and streamlined menu of categories against a luscious black background on the left side of the screen. Not surprisingly, the redesign has been unpopular with some of the old-time users.

Most of the new content, Kyncl said, would begin rolling out in the first half of 2012.  “I think it’s fair to say we spread our bets wide, and we can watch how things develop and decide which areas we want to go deep in. “

A number of people I had spoken to about the channel initiative were having trouble defining what exactly it is. Is Kyncl building a Web-based Comcast or Time Warner? Some believe that to be the case, but Jim Louderback, the C.E.O. of Revision3, an Internet video network, told me,  “I don’t think he is building a cable-TV competitor. I think he’s building the flip side of the cable business—a bundle of premium content that viewers just can’t live without. I see them more focussed on creating and nurturing new original properties similar to HBO, Showtime, and Comedy Central.  Is YouTube attempting to seize the means of production from Hollywood? James McQuivey, an analyst with Forrester Research, thinks so.  They’re saying, Fine, you don’t want to sell us your content, you want to tie everything up in distribution deals, fine, we’re going to make our own deals. Not just U.S. deals but global-rights deals, because YouTube is the largest video platform on the globe, and we’re going to sign Madonna and Amy Poehler, and guess what, this train is leaving the station, get on it or not.

A prominent Hollywood insider told me, with a note of nostalgia in his voice,  “I can tell you what YouTube is not going to do ­—generate shows like  “Friends,” “24,” and  “C.S.I.” The world of TV I grew up with, where hit shows threw off hundreds of millions for the creators and networks —that’s not going to happen.  But others think it will; all it takes is a hit.”

I wondered if there was any danger to the brand, in moving so decisively from the user-generated anarchy of the old YouTube to YouTV, where control and surveillance are centralized in the heart of the Googleplex. In its attempt to increase watch time, attract more viewers, and provide advertisers with as customized a customer as possible, YouTube risks alienating its core constituency Chad Hurley’s  “everyday people. “ MySpace suffered steep reductions in traffic when it altered the user experience with redesigns and increased ads. Netflix lost more than half its value in the stock market and provoked a customer revolt after announcing its plan to separate the streaming and the DVD sides of the business. It’s possible that YouTube could make a similar mistake, by offering bigger, more professional niches than its amateur-niche audience wants right now. For all the information that new-media companies have about their customers, they can still fundamentally misjudge when those customers are ready for change.

“It’s certainly not going to be easy, “ Kyncl said of the new venture.  “There’s a lot of work to be done, to make sure this works. But, as a friend who just landed a job at one of the networks said,  ‘At least you guys are swinging for the fences.’ There are a lot of other people who are just sitting around and watching things happen. “

2012: The Year The Web Turns Into 2 Businesses

by Steve Rosenbaum,

In the past twelve months we’ve seen the first generation of web video business models draw to a close, and the emergences of devices and business models that will fuel powerful continued growth in the year ahead.

Is YouTube Still in the Business of UGC?

Since web video began, User-Generated Content sites have counted on advertising revenue as their economic salvation. Despite the belief in this model, and a steady stream of venture capital, advertisers haven’t bought in. Instead, money has flowed to quality created content, and quality curated collections.

Google looked at the trends and made a massive pivot in the YouTube model, effectively shifting from a neutral content aggregation and delivery platform into a ‘studio’ model that puts them in the position of funding, and promoting content. This is a smart strategic shift, and one that has the potential to give convention cable networks and other emerging distributors a powerful new competitor. At the same time, it further diminishes Google’s interest in what used to be called ‘the long tail.’

My prediction is that YouTube won’t go out of the UGC business, in fact, I predict the exact opposite. I think you’ll see more creative ways to monetize YT, including new partnerships with portal players, 3rd party ad units, and the emergence of important sponsorship and co-branded pages. It’s unclear if YT will build these offerings, buy them, or partner with others to provide them. But AdSense text ads for video aren’t alone going to fund the future of the middle market of video. Instead, you’re going to see some number of business users look to take more control over their content, their ad units, and the community around their media.

What Happening Over The Top?

At the same time, the delivery system for video is very much under construction. The so-called “Over The Top” competitors have had a busy year – with Google TV v1 falling flat… but v2 looking promising, and Netflix’s ill-fated Qwickster dying a quick death. At the same time Boxee jumped into the business of providing digital ‘rabbit ears’ and Hulu briefly auctioned itself before returning to running the business. And now Microsoft moves to gain OTT dominance with a brand-new Xbox interface and more content deals. So, no clear winner here yet.

The big surprise in the future of video delivery is that it may not be the flat screen at all. Kindle Fire, the newest kid on the tablet block is off to a stunningly fast start as a video and VOD platform. IHS Research projects Amazon will ship 3.9 million units in Q4, recording a 13.8 percent share of global tablets shipped, compared to Apple’s 65.6 share. While the data is still new, all indications are that Kindle Fire is going to burn up the video consumption charts, making Amazon Prime Video a powerful contender for table, OTT, and mobile video consumption.

Everyone’s a Publisher

Meanwhile, on the content side of the world, it appears there is now a consensus that everyone needs to be a publisher. This means Brands, Networks, and Print Media all are vying for a spot in your overflowing content ‘in box.’ What is a publisher in this new world of Digital Overload? It used to be publishers were content creators, but increasingly publishers are taking on the role of content filters. Finding, Organizing, and Presenting coherent content is wrapped in to the role of Curator that brands and media now embrace. Magnify.net sits squarely in the center of this revolution.  As the webs largest video curation platform, we watch as Parenting.com, TEDx, and Patagonia all power their video experiences with our flexible toolkit.

The next twelve months are going to be transformative. Web video will become simply ‘video’ – made everywhere and consumed everywhere. And brands and companies, who’ve contemplated using video to tell their story or connect with consumers, will find that the train is leaving the station. It’s time to get on board the video express,  or be left with an unpunched ticket in your hand. That would be just sad.

This article was published December 23rd, 2011 on the web at Tube Filter: http://news.tubefilter.tv/2011/12/23/2012-the-year-web-video-turns-into-2-businesses/

About the Author:
Steve Rosenbaum is Founder and CEO of Magnify.net and author of Curation Nation. He has been working with Curated Content since he created the groundbreaking hit MTV UNfiltered in the pre-web days. Since then, he’s been a storyteller, filmmaker, and executive at media and web properties. He’s produced films for HBO, A&E;, National Geographic, CNN, MSNBC, and Discovery. Now, as the founder and CEO of Magnify.net, he runs a platform company that allows Publishers, Brands, and Web communities to embrace web content with Aggregation, Curation, and user Contributions. Steve is also the author of the book Curation Nation published by McGrawHill.

Business Tips: 21 Ways to Break The Ice

By Tom Searcy

Every matchmaker in the business will tell you that the first step to developing a relationship with someone is to get them talking. Most of us meet new people as a part of our jobs -- prospects, coworkers, customers, vendors or partners. And it is part of our jobs in these moments to connect and interact with these people.

Breaking the ice with someone should accomplish several things:

-- Start a conversation on a positive note

-- Move the first interaction past data exchange to connection

-- Make a memory-link of the person, personality and name

Here are 21 questions you can use to break the ice:

1. What is the best part of your job?

2. What is the best part of working at your company?

3. When did you know that you wanted to work in your field?

4. Who was the most influential person in your career choice?

5. What was your biggest accomplishment in the last year?

6. Who do you look forward to seeing when you come to work?

7. What are you most excited about that you see coming up in the next six months?

8. What was the most impressive thing you saw happen in your industry in the last year

9. Which company in your industry is the pacesetter and what are they doing?

10. What's the smartest thing your company's done in the last year to deal with the economy?

11. What's the best technique you have been using to better manage your time?

12. Which of your company's initiatives for next year has you the most excited?

13. If you had only one accomplishment on which to base your annual review, what would it be?

14. What's the secret sauce for managing people to their highest success?

15. Who is the best leader you know that you personally try to emulate?

16. Where do you think the big innovation in your industry will come from in the next year or two?

17. What was your best decision in the last year?

18. Who are the best thinkers in your field that you follow?

19. What sea change do you see coming in the next year or two in the business?

20. What technology has made the biggest difference in your personal work in the last year?

21. What is the biggest thing you will stop doing next year?

You will notice that the questions are geared to make the other person stop, consider, compare and then make a choice. This is all intentional. You are engaging them at a level deeper than the transactional conversation. That's the ice you are breaking -- the ice that keeps you from truly engaging.

Bonus question No. 1: After the person answers the opening question, ask "Why?"

Bonus question No. 2: How can I help with what you are trying to get done?

This article was published on the web at: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505183_162-57347261-10391735/business-tips-21-ways-to-break-the-ice/?tag=nl.e664

About the Author:
Tom Searcy is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and the foremost expert in large account sales. Tom is the author of RFPs Suck! How to Master the RFP System Once and for All to Win Big Business and the co-author of Whale Hunting: How to Land Big Sales and Transform Your Company.

MCA-I’s 43rd Annual Media Festival Call for Entries!

MCA-I’s prestigious Golden Reel Award is respected because entries are judged not against each other but by standards of excellence.

That means there can easily be more than one Gold winner in a category! Enter now—before November 30th—at http://www.mca-i.org/MediaFestivalRules/

 

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Panasonic Sponsored All MCA-i MediaProCamps for Three Years!

panasonic-logo-190 Thanks to The Panasonic Solutions Company for making the annual MCA-i MediaProCamp events possible. The popularity of the event has grown the series to a total of six this year.

Previously, Panasonic has given attendees sneak previews of new products such as the groundbreaking AG-3DP1, a 3D integrated twin-lens P2 HD shoulder-mount camcorder, and the Panasonic AG-AF100 featuring a large 4/3-inch, 16:9 MOS imager with an imaging area just slightly smaller than 35mm cinema film. We can't wait to see what they will unveil tis year!

.In 2014, MediaProCamp Events will be held in San Diego, Orange County, St Louis, Atlanta, Detroit, and Central Carolina, reaching ever more media pros. For more on MCA-i's MediaProCamp go to the pulldodwn menue on the front page of our Chapters website, www.mcai-oc.org