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“It’s a Wonderful Web” 2013!

cb-ipadThe first edition of our “It’s a Wonderful Web” e-newsletter for 2013 is out. It includes the following articles:

  • 2013: The Year of Anything is Possible
  • Special Offers!
  • Free 1-Hour Audio: Web Radio Interview
  • Luscious Links

If you’re not already a subscriber, click here to read it online.

Why Video is the Web’s New Mission Critical Next Level: Do Not Miss

As many of you know, I’ve been writing and producing videos about “The Video Web” and the digital video revolution for many years. But, it’s another day; and, I’ve taken another step.

The video embedded below, Why Online Video is a ‘Must Have’ for Internet Marketing describes what I believe is the next mission critical level of Internet communications as the importance of video has emerged in broad new ways.

And while you’re while you’re visiting this blog post, please don’t miss the second video embedded below from TED’s curator, Chris Anderson about the global implications of this trend (scroll down).

By way of text summary, the five reasons why video is a “must have” that are illuminated in the short four-minute video above are:

  1. The Medium of the Web is Morphing Dramatically and Rapidly
  2. Video is Now the Web’s Leading Media Type
    (even though in some ways “The Web is Dead”)
  3. Video Has Become a Viable & Powerful SEO Strategy
  4. Business is Basically About Relationship Building and
    What Better Way to Build Relationships Online Than Via Video?
  5. Video is the Web’s Future. (“Be in it to win it.”)

In addition, if I had my way, I would love to make this second video, from TED conference curator Chris Anderson, How Web Video Powers Global Innovation required viewing for anyone who wants to make a difference in the world.

That’s how important I think video is becoming as a communication medium. Anderson explains dramatic increases in the power, reach and accessibility of online video from a higher level perspective, even comparing online video to the paradigm shift in communications that happened when Gutenberg invented the printing press!

Yes, Chris and I agree, The Coming of The Video Web is THAT important. 😉

Bottom line, there has never been a more powerful or mobile way to communicate either your ideas or the benefits of your products or services. This is combined, of course, with the convergence of broadband internet connection speeds and the proliferation of digital cameras and mobile phones with video capabilities. The cost of doing video has become radically more affordable and accessible.

Call it “The Age of YouTube” if you like. But, more importantly in my opinion, it is time for everybody to recognize that video is now a ‘must have.’ It is no longer an option.

Mission Critical Data Points
If you’re not convinced, you may also want to consider the following:

  • One-Third of US Adults Skip Live TV: Report
    56 million Americans have begun skipping live TV in favor of time-shifted viewing and online content. Traditional TV advertising is rapidly losing any remaining effectiveness, thus undermining whatever financial stability still exists in everything but the biggest ticket broadcasts. Much more to come!
  • Netflix CEO: We’re a Streaming Company
    66% of Netflix subscribers are using their streaming services vs only 41% a year ago. Even premium entertainment is finding massive acceptance via non-cable, non-broadcast, non-satellite distribution. This ‘toothpaste’ is out of the tube. There’s no putting it back. This trend will only accelerate. Broadcasters beware. Online video producers rev your engines… Stay tuned.

Top 5 Online Video & TV on the Web Mega-Trends

On Tuesday’s edition of TheTVNews.tv, I talk about how hard it is to keep perspective on how fast things are changing, when things are changing this fast.

To help put some perspective on at least some of these changes, here are five key online video “Mega-Trends” that I think are worth noting—each illustrated by a current news story from the past week with at least one relevant link for your browsing pleasure.

Please let me know if you like this post and/or if you have any suggestions. Thanks!

1. Online Video Just Keeps on Growing.
The latest example: CBS and NCAA set a record for broadband viewing: 3.4 million viewers watched the opening round on computers. That was just on just the first day of March Madness, the national collegiate basketball tournament. CBS and the NCAA put video of all of these big games, held around the country, online at a website they call March Madness on Demand (mmod.ncaa.com). Read more at the Washington Examiner >>

2. Social Networking Usage Surges Globally
The Nielsen Company is reporting that the audience for social networks is growing at a whopping 29% year-over-year. Driven largely by Facebook, the GLOBAL average user’s time spent social networking more than doubled from just more than 2 hours/month in Feb 2009 to nearly 5.5 hours/month in Feb 2010. Interesting, Italy tops the specific country list at nearly 6.5 hours/user/month and the US is just over six hours per user a month. And this doesn’t even include YouTube as a social networking site, which it is (at least in part). I promise you that this trend will continue. The public’s appetite for making connections online and sharing blog posts, digital pictures and videos is just ramping up. Read more details on Mashable >>

3. Online Video Advertising Is Poised for Growth Thanks to Analytics
Beet.Tv posted a very interesting video interview with Mike Bologna, director of emerging communications at GroupM, the giant corporate parent of the WPP advertising and media agencies. Bologna sees formerly cautious advertisers jumping into online video thanks to the availability of browser and viewer use statistics, or analytics as we call user tracking on the web. This valuable info is drawing more advertisers into becoming willing to leverage the power of online video. Here’s the Beet.tv clip so you can hear Bologna’s insights from “the horse’s mouth”:

4. More High Quality & Professional Resources Are Being Committed to Online Video
Here are just two of the many examples of this trend. Again, both announced within the last week:

  • NYTimes.com has launched a new daily video program called TimesCast that features behind the scenes footage of the Times editorial team at work, mixed with coverage of the day’s headlines. TimesCast is now at the top of the right column on http://video.times.com Here’s a direct link to Monday’s edition >>
  • The leading tech blog, TechCrunch is upping its video content creation capabilities by hiring Evelyn Rusli, an anchor from Forbes video who made over 200 appearance on Fox News in the “Forbes on Fox” segment. In it’s typically cheeky fashion, TechCrunch announced, Welcome To Evelyn Rusli, Whom We Stole From Forbes

Of course, these are just a couple of examples of the way that important players are continuously making important steps to increase the attractiveness and viability of their online video offerings. That said, I think both NYTimes.com and TechCrunch are good examples to watch. Both are attracting both a significant volume of viewership as well as meaningful advertising revenues.

5. Major Internet Players, like Google, Are Creating New TV Hardware To Put More Online Video on Your TV
We all know that Google is a software king whose reach goes way beyond being king of the hill in search to include Google Apps (like Google Mail), Google Buzz, they own YouTube, and more. And, then there’s the Google Phone manufactured by HTC. Well now, there’s Google TV.

As the New York Times reports: Google and Partners Seek TV Foothold. Expected to bring a  new kind of Internet video experience to living rooms everywhere, Google TV is a new kind of set top box that is being created in partnership with Sony and Intel. It uses Google’s Android operating system and will compete Internet video boxes like the Boxee Box, Roku, Popbox, and the innovative Sezmi system that I profiled a few Tuesdays ago on TheTVNews.tv.

As you can tell and probably already know, Online TV / Video is not just one thing, but the trends above are clear. This “toothpaste” is not going back into “the tube.” (pun intended)

And, underneath all of this is what you might call “The New Rules of Communication” that the Web has inspired. To be successful, whatever you are doing online, you can’t just be a “broadcaster,” you need to be truly interactive and authentically engage viewers and visitors in such a way that you create real relationships with them. That’s something most TV companies still need to learn… which is good news for the rest of us.

Speaking of relationships, I’d love to hear from you. Please comment below with what you like or do not like (and rate and comment on the YouTube clips if you are so moved). I’d love to hear your feedback. I’d love to hear your ideas for what stories you’d like me to cover on TheTVNews.tv or on this blog. What would be most useful to YOU? Thanks!

The Real People in the Middle of this Election (and the TV hype)


Errol Morris is arguably one of the most important documentary film makers of our time. More than just an Academy Award winner (for “The Fog of War“), he has an amazing talent for listening to people and letting them tell their own stories in ways that inform and even illuminate reality.

Now, he has written for the NYTimes blog site an extremely insightful perspective, including an impressive selection of historical examples, on real “everyday” people in election advertising campaigns. This perspective, “People in the Middle” also includes discussion and links to Morris’ brand new web video site, PeopleintheMiddleforObama.org which was sponsored by People for the American Way.

About this new work, Morris says, “If you’re not going to put words in people’s mouths, if you’re really listening to what they have to say, you’re going to learn something. Admittedly, the evidence is anecdotal. I haven’t selected these people through some kind of statistical sampling. These people are self-selected. They wrote in and said that they were registered Republicans, Independents or switch-voters who were planning to vote for Obama. People in the middle. And I was interested in talking to them on film about why they were making the switch from voting for a Republican to voting for a Democrat.”

Most interesting to me was this conclusion, “The people I interviewed have embraced Obama. They are voting for a candidate, not against a candidate.”

Read more of Errol Morris on “People in the Middle” by clicking here.

Howard Rheingold Parses the Video Language

Howard Rheingold was a thought-leader before the term entered the vernacular. For example, he wrote the original book on virtual community. Now, Howard is helping people to understand what he’s calling the “video vernacular” by walking his talk ie by posting a video on his vlog (video blog).

Just like us videographers used to talk about the “language of film making,” Howard is correct that the whole video language, along with all the various forms of interacting with video are going through a radical metamorphosis. Video will never be the same. Will we? Doubtful.

Howard does a tease at the end of his six and a half minute video clip for the relevance of these new forms of video to education. In any case, I appreciate Howard’s effort to help those of us who don’t swim in this cyber-crap daily to get some perspective on what’s happening.

Facebook to Become New Distribution Channel for Major Media Videos

Social media platforms are all the buzz, but I think this is a milestone worth noting: Slide today announced a deal to use Facebook to distribute videos from “major media” companies (including CBS, NBC and many more…). The geeky young face you see to the right is not only the founder/CEO of Slide, but a co-founder of PayPal.

Sure, Amazon and NetFlix (just to name two) are now distributing streaming video; but the leverage of Facebook is quite amazing. In fact, I’ve become an active Facebook user myself recently (see link lower left of this page), and I enjoy (among other things) using the quickie one-click video embed for Facebook that’s offered by YouTube. Now, fans of network TV shows will actually be able to embed episodes and who knows what else.

Stay tuned. The Video Web is regenerating with a major boost from social networking power!

Live Video Streaming for Cell Phones Hitting, well, the Main Stream

Last week, a friend on Facebook (or actually an acquaintance… someone who I’ve never met in person, but within whom I’ve done a little work via phone and email) offered a link (via Facebook) to a live video stream of a techie industry party on a rooftop over-looking Washington, DC. The amazing thing was that when I clicked the link, it actually worked. Instantly, I was face-to-face, in a virtual sense, with party-goers who were saying things like “I just thought you were taking my picture…” to which this guy says, “No, you’re live on the web” and a quasi interview ensued.

The Video Web is expanding more rapidly than even I realized… and cell phone video, live streaming cell phone video, is to blame.

If you want a more widely-respected opinion, The New York Times wrote up the whole scene in a Sunday Business section column called “Novelties.” The article, “Capturing the Moment (and More) Via Cellphone Video,” includes some even more compelling examples from the likes of LA’s NPR radio leader, KCRW and mentions two leading live webcam video streaming website platforms (which are enabling these feeds): Kyte.com which calls itself “The Universal Digital Media Platform,” offers ideas for “monetization” and offers the image above as part of its self-promotion, and Qik.com which appears to be a bit more popular with the blogging/social networking crowd, including my pal in DC.

Kyte also offers among other things, “The Kyte Premium Facebook application (which) is more than a simple widget – it’s a branded social communications platform, featuring live video streaming, multimedia chat, viral distribution capabilities and monetization opportunities.” Don’t we all need one of those?

Michael Moore to Make New Movie Free for Downloads

In a move that would make Chris Anderson proud — and in a move that is, to my knowledge, completely unprecedented for a “major motion picture” — Michael Moore and Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films have announced that Moore’s new flick, “Slacker Uprising” will be made available via the web for free download on Sept. 23rd. If you’re interested, this link will hook you up to the viral marketing campaign so you can spread the word.

Their announcement also adds, “You can also buy the DVD for $9.95, which will start shipping on September 23 and features extras like: Special Guest Joan Baez – America the Beautiful, Why People Like George Bush?, My Pet Goat, The O’Reilly Factor for Kids, Just Add Water and Heat – More Ramen and Clean Underwear, and more. Or should I say, Moore!”

Here’s the trailer:

Web Video News Story: Democracy Now host Amy Goodman Arrested


In this world of video on demand and video shooters everywhere sharing their news, it is no less shocking to have the highly-respected American journalist, syndicated columnist and author Amy Goodman arrested while doing her job, right here in the USA, at a demonstration outside the Republican National Convention. (Full disclosure: I was, many years ago, a producer for Pacifica Radio, the network of independent radio stations who produce Ms. Goodman’s “Democracy Now” broadcasts.) Perhaps even more striking (and dare I say empowering) is the fact that this story can be tracked in detail via videos on the web. For example, here is video documentation of her actual arrest:

And here is a short video interview conducted in the halls of the RNC immediately following her release from jail:By way of background, Time magazine’s website provides an overview on the demonstrations; and if you are as shocked and appalled as I am by this kind of treatment of journalists, please sign the petition at Freepress.net demanding that the charges against Amy Goodman and her producers be immediately dropped. I submit that freedom of the press is worthy of your time to support. As a journalist, I feel personally violated by this kind of intimidation of the press.

Updated Tues 9/3: The most comprehensive online coverage, video and otherwise, of the clashes and arrests by police in St. Paul may well be aggregated by Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com who goes so far as to suggest with shocking substantiation and more web videos that the FBI may well be involved in coordinating the attacks and intimidation of protesters.

New iPhone Videos Better Than Ever

I’ll leave the commentaries on Apple’s dramatic announcement of the iPhone 3G to others. I’ll only say that after holding out on buying an iPhone, I’m glad I did. Because now I’m ready! Half the price for double the speed (and all those new applications!) I’m going to get an iPhone 3G as close to July 11th as possible. That’s as strong an endorsement as I can make. And, I think the iPhone is truly the first, the leading and the most important mobile computing platform.

I also noticed that the videos of today’s announcement are better than ever. For example, here’s a nice little hightlight reel from the Wall Street Journal:

I also looked at a little of Apple’s streaming Quicktime version of Steve Jobs’ complete presentation, and the quality of that video looks better than ever at http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/0806wdt546x/event/

I also enjoyed and appreciated the excellent live blogging done by the TechCrunch crew. Their live blog posts included videos of key people and commentators pre-event (including a nice scoop that EBay would be announcing an application) as well as great photos during.