TokBox Online Video Platform Looks Interesting…

Tokbox LogoNext Wednesday, I’ll be blogging and tweeting from GigaOM’s Net:Work 2010 conference. And while browsing their site, I noticed an honorable mention of TokBox and started exploring. Their online video platform supports group video chat and much more.

This afternoon I was able to have an instant video chat hooking up to a friend via Facebook (whose API along with Twitter’s and others has apparently been integrated). We also easily and seamlessly shared a YouTube video. Pretty cool right out of the freebie level “box.”

I also watched a video message from a member of the TokBox team and will be investigating their Video Conferencing platform for NewMarU, our New Marketing University project about which you’ll be hearing more soon.

Meanwhile, here’s an embedded Tokbox window (I thought I was going to leave you a Holiday Greeting, but that didn’t work out). I’d love to hear your feedback and you can even send me a video message at – jon -at- combridges -dot- com-. If any of you have any experience with TokBox or comparable platforms that support multiple video presenters et. al. for webinars I’d be especially interested. Thanks!

TokBox – Free Video Chat and Video Messaging

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.

ComBridges’ Connections: Linky Goodness, Insights & Free Stuff 8.18.10

A recap of recent resources and references  posted recently via my Twitter feed and our ComBridges Facebook page are below; but first, a small bit of shameless self-promotion albeit something FREE that I think you may well find to be valuable:

Watch, Listen & Learn: Free Webinar on Internet Marketing

Read It’s a Wonderful Web; ComBridges July e-newsletter

Marketing Lesson From the Grateful Dead: Loosen Up Your Brand
As they say, this is “what I’m talkin’ ’bout!” If you don’t know David Meerman Scott, you should. He’s a true thought leader & best selling author re viral marketing and creating “world wide raves.” This is an excerpt from his new book which comes out August 1st. Cool, eh? And valuable, right?

More On The Power of “Empowering” Your Viewers via Social Marketing
My VIDEO commentary from last week on TheTVNews.tv. Subject: those who are authentic with their internet marketing vs the fakers.

Social Media’s Critical Path: Relevance to Resonance to Significance – The Conversation – Harvard Business Review
Neat Harvard BizReview piece on social media’s ‘critical path’ by @briansolis http://ht.ly/2e5N1 I like. Thx 2 @johnbattelle 4 link

Viral Video Marketing with Dilbert
“only the truth is funny”

Video is Becoming a Must Have for Online Retailers
I’m getting ready to make a video about the critical importance of online video. Meanwhile… Yes, it’s pretty much a MUST HAVE now for any website looking to do real business online. Really. No kidding. Check out the stats in this article if you don’t believe me. And, did I mention that ComBridges has amazingly affordable video packages.

Have a Big Idea, Break it in Half | Jason Fried
Best business advise I’ve heard in a while from Jason Fried of 37signals

Beet.TV: Giant Convenience Store Chain Gone Viral: 7-Eleven Web Series Has 2 Million Views
Illuminating VIDEO story by @DaisyWhitney Big Brand Viral Video Marketing: 7-Eleven Web Series Has 2 Million Views

Online Video Growth Spurt Marked By New Programs & Distribution Opportunities

As discussed in my New Media / New Marketing segment on the Tuesday, August 10th edition of the TheTVNews.tv (see VIDEO embedded below), the convergence of TV and Internet forms of online video are jelling into a significant reality extremely quickly after years of promises.

Evidence of this growth spurt include rapid growth trends such as the year-over-year doubling of streaming movies and TV via NetFlix, a new “digital locker” platform from major entertainment players designed to combat the iTunes dominance, and the increasing viability of “branded entertainment” including an Ikea-sponsored Web-only video series that is garnering 1.5 million views month after month.

I will post or embed my video commentary as soon as it’s available, but meanwhile here are links to what I think is some worthwhile reading. These three links include additional insights and details on the “milestones” mentioned above and more:

  • Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem Unveils UltraViolet™ Brand (press release)
    Major players from Best Buy to Sony to Comcast to Intel and quite a few others are aligning on a new kind of “digital locker” to help you watch whatever you want, whenever you want, on whatever kind of device you want… as long as you’ve paid for it! While this press release is just an announcement, I think this is both a needed kind of technology and an attempt to answer Apple’s dominance in digital media distribution. Expect to hear more, much more from the UltraViolet, UVVU brand.

As always, your thoughts, perspectives and comments are extremely welcome. Thanks.

Hits of the Week: Early July 2010

Welcome to a new feature of this blog. “Hits of the Week” (which we hope to offer weekly) will provide “linky goodness” i.e. valuable links posted to our ComBridges company Facebook page and Twitter feed. Here, we gather, in one place for your convenience, bunches of links to free PDF’s, articles and other resources. Please let us know if you find this service to be valuable. Thanks!

A Professional Research Perspective of Brand Engagement via Social Media
Highly recommended, Engagementdb is a very interesting resource, even for smaller companies who are interested in social media brand engagement. I especially recommend their excellent FREE PDF Report. It’s nice to see “engagement” made measureable at the highest level. Clearly, relationship/engagement is at least as important (and probably more important) than simply the gross number of “eyeballs”/visitors. The focus on these kinds of results is shifting appropriately from volume or quantity of “hits” to quality of engagement (at minimum, some kind of “conversion”). Are you tuned in to your organization’s quality of engagement? Click here to check it out.

Fast-paced Video Illuminating ROI for Social Media
Despite the annoying music, this video offers useful content if you still doubt the business-savvy economic value–in the vernacular, ROI (return on investment)–available from investing your time INTELLIGENTLY in social media.

A Peak Behind the Curtain of a Major Brand’s Social Media Command Center (VIDEO)
More mainstream social media… pretty cool music VIDEO too promoting Gatorade’s social media team, er, I mean “COMMAND CENTER”! Can your sports drink do this? Visit Gatorade’s Command Center to see more.

“It’s about the PEOPLE, silly.”
Via Seth Godin. As a business owner, I know that there is nothing more important than the highly capable, talented members of my team. Read valuable insights & perspective.

“Every company is now a media company.”
A great reminder, via Adam Ostrow & John Battelle

Great Graphics, Visual View of Social Media Today
You gotta love good Infographics. Especially when they tell a story. In this case, big companies are adopting social media. More are using Facebook and Twitter than blogs, but it’s a big majority who are involved. See what these charts tell you.

Influence vs Fame
I’d call it “Influence vs Eyeballs” but being clear about what it means to develop influence in today’s social media world makes this short ProBlogger piece well worth reading, IMHO. And in a related short blog post, Seth Godin reminds us that “If all you are doing is increasing number of digital spectators, you are unlikely to earn the conversion that you deserve.” Read more about “Fans, Participants and Spectators.”

Stay tuned and please comment and send feedback. Thanks!

When Old Media Companies Don’t “Get It”

copyright

U need 2 know about your digital rights

As illuminated in this Wednesday, June 2nd’s New Media New Marketing commentary (starting at 1:58) on TheTVNews.tv, the news article linked right below this paragraph makes me a bit crazy regarding the many broadcasters and entertainment companies that still “don’t get it” about engaged consumers, mash ups and extraordinary value of free, viral (word-of-mouth) promotions.

CNET: Yahoo, Facebook (and EBay) side with Google (YouTube) against Viacom

Of course, Yahoo and Facebook are normally rivals of Google/YouTube. Leave it to Viacom to use a $1 billion copyright lawsuit to give them all a reason to bond… leaving Viacom out in the virtual cold. Perhaps Viacom doesn’t think Google has deep enough pockets to defend itself? Right!

This reminds me of a rant that I wrote in Videography magazine almost 10 years ago when then CEO of Universal, Edgar Bronfman, Jr. (now CEO of the Warner Music Group) “declared war” on Napster. Old media company histrionics are repeating themselves.

Interestingly, according to Wikipedia, Bronfman has somewhat changed his tune. In fact, the Wikipedia entry says, “In 2008, The New York Times reported that Warner Music’s Atlantic Records became the first major record label to generate more than half of its music sales in the U.S. from digital products.”

If you have any interest whatsoever in the subject of digital rights, I want to HIGHLY RECOMMEND one of my favorite books on this subject, Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity. It’s written by now Harvard, formerly Stanford Law professor and Creative Commons founder, Lawrence Lessig. It gives a brilliant, must read (IMHO) historical overview of the evolution of digital rights and how we’ve been through all of this before including but not limited to the birth of the VCR, cassette tapes and FM radio. Cultural & creative freedom are well worth being well-educated about, as well as defending; and this is the book that will help you do that. Trust me. This book is definitely worth the read.

Finally, if you are not familiar with my mention in TheTVNews commentary of the Hitler/Constantin Film (a German film production/distribution company) and their idiotic removal of the “Downfall” video clips with Hitler getting upset over mundane things like the leak of the new iPhone, here’s your historical reference via TechCrunch.

Mind those digital rights, please! And if you’re working for a big media company, please play nice with the other kids. We live in a new era of cooperation. Your customers are your friends! Get it?

Conan O’Brien Gets “The World Has Completely Changed.” Do You?

(Note: Read & scroll down please. Two [2] cool video clips below…)

I gotta love the fact that social media has become so powerful that a TV comedian like Conan O’Brien is having very tangible personal experiences that not only wake him up to the fact that “the world” as he says, “has completely changed.” But, as he illuminates in the video clip below from an interview at Google, his social media realization is in stark contrast to how far the execs at NBC apparently are from understanding how social media works (i.e. the audience has new powers). Duh. 😉

Of course, this is just one example of the fact that dramatic changes that are upon us due to the explosion of social media.  More video “evidence” is detailed in the 2nd video clip below.

Also, please note that when you click “play” on the Conan YouTube clip below, it is set up to play starting at the segment at 15:27 where he describes what happened to him because of Twitter (about 3+ minutes total) in the aftermath of his fall out with NBC when they gave “The Tonight Show” back to Jay Leno (“the other gentleman”). At some point, you may want to watch the whole 48-minute clip. It’s quite funny.

Now… especially if you are still wondering about the importance of social media—but probably, in any case— I highly recommend the following visually dynamic and informative YouTube video, “Social Media Revolution 2 (Refresh)” from the authors of the book, “Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business.” This video is a freshingly-updated version of video that’s been around for a while. It’s packed with eye-opening statistics and relevant perspective, including, for example:

“Social Media is not a fad, but a fundamental shift in how we communicate.”
— Erik Qualman

Yes, the changes are that big.

Do you “get it” or are you still sitting on the edge of the social media “pool” thinking about jumping in?

Online marketing & advertising illuminated via a visit to ad:tech SF

As discussed in this Tuesday’s New Media New Marketing report on TheTVNews.tv (video immediately below), I took advantage of a press pass last week to spend a day at the very alive and vibrant ad:tech SF online advertising conference. It was very stimulating as well as a bit overwhelming, as most good conferences are. (Note: Examples and references are linked below.)

Bottom line, the conference was healthy and online advertising in general appears to be growing at a robust rate. This was evidenced in an announcement unrelated to the conference, as I was getting ready to go, I learned that global package goods giant Reckitt Benckiser was doubling their annual online advertising budget to $40 million.

In addition, [added 4/30] eMarker’s CEO says Online Video Advertising to Increase 35 Precent in 2010 (video interview via Beet.tv).

One educational note was revealed as I first entered the press room. Their sign read, “Press, Bloggers & Twerps.” I commented that I had not seen twerps get press credentials previously. At this point, I was told apologetically that the sign was an error. It should have said, “Tweeps.” We are all learning. And, apparently there were only three tweeps deemed influential enough to get a press pass, but this was a “first” none the less.

Loic Le Meur

(cc) Kenneth Yeung - http://www.thelettertwo.com

A highlight for me was the keynote by French entrepreneur, Loic Le Meur, founder of Seesmic.com, who now lives in San Francisco. Loic accurately positioned social media as the third major wave of internet marketing. The first major wave, as he described it, was just having a website. The second wave was being savvy enough to be found on Google (search engine optimization or SEO). And, the third is now the ability to “earn” interactions via social media. He emphasized that social media is not about “campaigns.” It’s for listening and engaging.

Along these lines, I also appreciated comments by Larry Weintraub of word-of-mouth marketing agency, Fanscape, who explained that engaging in social media marketing has many more benefits than old world marketing. All with enormous value. Without embellishment, the four solid reasons to go social are:

  1. Marketing (another speaker said that “advertising” is now morphing into “marketing”)
  2. Market Research
  3. Customer Service
  4. Public Relations

In my opinion, none of these benefits should be under-rated.

You can watch Loic’s keynote via this link. The Hitler video which Loic included (amongst the dozens of other Hitler parodies based on the Constantin Films movie that I mention in the video above) can be viewed here, if it’s still up. It’s very funny if you are geeky enough to imagine Hitler expressing Steve Jobs displeasure over the loss of that famous iPhone G4 prototype.

Here are other examples of advertisers’ money moving to online video, as well as other links mentioned in my video report above:

BONUS #1: TWITTER ADVERTISING
Amongst the MANY smaller businesses exhibiting at ad:tech SF, I was interested to learn that Twitter is now not only being used for social media engagement; but beyond Twitter’s own advertising expansion (the potential of which Andrew Goodman calls “huge”), there is also now a Twitter-specific “contextual, targeted” independently-run Twitter advertising platform called 140 Proof.

BONUS #2: BRANDS AS PUBLISHERS a.k.a. Content Marketing
Here’s a link to a great set of links that further illuminate the “brand-led online video” trend which is also called “Brands as Publishers” by this page’s author, thought-leader, publisher, John Battelle, and “Content Marketing” by others. Checkout It’s All About Publishing, a.k.a. it’s all about content. 😉

And, as I’m sure you know, there’s “more to come.” Including an inside track on branded YouTube channels that I’ll be covering in a new blog post and video report soon. I met with Google/YouTube at ad:tech and an announcement regarding this development is expected in, roughly, mid-May.

(Request: If you watch the video above on YouTube or Facebook, please comment etc. And while you’re here, I would appreciate any comments and/or feedback that you may have. I’d love to hear from you.)

Thanks for reading!

Google TV Ads, Cisco Feeds MSNBC, & Interactive Marketing Agencies: A Fresh Perspective

Another week, another Tuesday segment on TheTVNews.tv. This week, I aggregated three new online video news stories that I think merit your attention. My video segment is below, and below that are the Google TV Ads video demo, more comments, and links to all the sources. Please let me know what you think.

1. Great Video Demo of Google TV Ads

Seth Stevenson of SlateV.com did a wonderful job of demoing Google TV Ads for the rest of us. I’m sure you will agree that he proves his point that, yes, anyone with the technical chops to produce a 30-second TV spot and set up a Google AdWords account, also now has the opportunity to be a media buyer and place those TV spots on carefully targeted cable TV networks in the time slots of your choice.

I’m impressed and ready for a client who wants me to do this for them. I’m highly qualified. Are you reading?

Here’s the SlateV Google TV Ads demo for your viewing pleasure:

By the way, for those of you doing the math, not familiar with Google AdWords campaigns, and figuring that, hey, that’s about $1.30 per website visitor… please keep in mind that it’s not uncommon for AdWords customers to pay $4, $5 and up PER click. And the visitors he “acquired” via this campaign were coming to a strange website URL with no identified service or product being offered.

2. Cisco Feeds Its High-End Teleconferencing System to Rachel Maddow and MSNBC

In what is said to be “a news media industry first,” Cisco has partnered with MSNBC to provide  The Rachel Maddow Show’s New York and Washington D.C. studios with its branded TelePresence technology. According to Cisco, “TelePresence offers what traditional broadcast interviewing technology often lacks: a truly two-way, visual connection between the studio host and remote guest with virtually no audio lag time.”

To me, that’s an interesting tech story, not only because of the “no audio time lag,” but also because of further in-roads being made by a traditionally IT industry player providing hardware services to the broadcast TV industry.

Click here to see for yourself.

For more details and illuminations of the interactive benefits of TelePresence, Beet.tv has a video interview with Charles Stucki, VP & GM of the Cisco’s TelePresence unit.

3. Forrester Research Predicts the Future of Marketing Agency Relationships

Anyone in the marketing or advertising business knows that all marketing agencies are being forced to cross “boundaries” that traditionally defined specific niches. Now, Forrester’s latest report, “The Future Of Agency Relationships: Marketers Need To Lead Agency Change In The Adaptive Marketing Era” sets the stage for overlapping, multi-discipline agencies and the ways we all will be doing battle (or not) in the future.

But if you don’t feel like plopping down $499 for the report, I highly recommend Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim coverage of the report, Forrester Predicts the Interactive Agency of Record Will Die. Beal reveals the main types of agencies discussed and some of the top level data including this quote which gives you a flavor of the sophistication being required in today’s marketing agency market:

It is not enough for adaptive agencies to understand market research, ethnographic, or behavioral data. To fully understand customers, and to leverage that knowledge to improve customer experience, requires agencies to understand the interplay between the various types of data, and crucially, demands the ability to turn the data into actionable intelligence.

Stay tuned. The landscape continues to morph at a record-setting pace. Keep on dancing… and keep your seat belt fastened. 😉

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!