Media = content + people


January 23, 2015 by Jeff Jarvis

We can’t see the internet for the wires. We talk about the internet as technology — computers and cables — but more and more I see it as people: people connected with each other, people speaking, people shopping, people learning.

I am finally seeing media the same way: people, unmediated. This is the basis of our new degree in social journalism at CUNY. And this is a worldview and business model confirmed by Samir Arora, CEO of Mode Media (aka Glam) in a session I moderated at this week’s DLD conference in Munich. Samir presented a new taxonomy for media companies and a new view of their profitability based less on the value of their content than on the value and scale of the people they connect. It’s a new, powerful, and unappreciated vision.

I have been writing about the power of networks for a long time and that is why Samir walked into my office seven years ago saying he had to show me a slide of his, because it confirmed what I’d been saying. This ugly bit of PowerPoint — often compared to some bizarre biological experiment — exhibited the scale Glam had achieved as a web property over rival iVillage. Glam did that by building networks of independent bloggers instead of owning, creating, and syndicating content, the old way. In short order, Glam had beat iVillage.

Screenshot 2015-01-19 at 6.13.00 PM

Since then, Glam and its associated brands — collectively Mode Media — have grown from 20 million uniques in the U.S. to more than 400 million worldwide. Mode is now the seventh largest web property. iVillage is gone.

How did Glam do that? People. (more…)

Internet to Hit 3 Billion Users in 2015


Nearly half the world’s population will have regular access to the web by 2018

Why are Latino viewers the most important for networks?

The Guardian Winner of the Pulitzer prize

Thursday 1 January 2015
As traditional audiences move to on-demand services, networks are attempting to appeal to one of America’s last audience of loyal, committed TV watchers: Latinos.

Jane The Virgin: part of the lean toward Latino audiences.

Jane The Virgin: part of the lean toward Latino audiences. Photograph: Tyler Golden/Tyler Golden/The CW

In an internal memo sent to employees on Monday, MSNBC president Phil Griffin outlined his plans to bolster the channel’s viewership. The reason for the change of plan is simple: its audience has hit its lowest point since 2005 and it finished third in cable news behind Fox News and CNN. The decline in tradition television audiences across the board has been affecting cable and network channels since the turn of the decade with former nailed-on winners such as ABC’s Modern Family losing viewers. But the one advantage MSNBC has over its competitors is its ability to attract a diverse audience, and especially Latino viewers.

Latino viewers are an increasingly important demographic for all networks. The Nielsen Company found that Hispanics in the US have over $1 trillion in purchasing power and represent more than half of US population growth between 2000-2010. Bi-lingual homes where both Spanish and English are spoken currently watch about 50% Spanish-language television, while English-dominant Hispanic households watch a mere 3% of Spanish-language TV. In other words, television networks need to win over this audience if they want to make up the shortfall left by formally loyal absconders. But at the moment few networks are catering for Latinos specifically. (more…)

Why Hearst, Disney And Bertelsmann Are Betting Big On YouTube Networks – And What’s Next

Posted Dec 23, 2014 by  (@peteborum)

Editor’s note: Pete Borum is the co-founder and CEO of Reelio, where he oversees the business, creative, and engineering teams that power branded content partnerships on YouTube.

Hearst recently announced the acquisition of 25 percent of DreamWorks Animation’s YouTube network AwesomenessTV for a cool $81.25 million. For those of you who are still under the impression that YouTube is a place for cat videos (and who apparently haven’t seen YouTube celebrities like Bethany Mota on Dancing With the Stars or plastered on billboards inTimes Square and in New York subway trains), you’re probably scratching your head.

Why would one of the biggest media companies in the world pay so much money for a YouTube network? And, wait, what the heck is a YouTube network? Well, worry not. This article is for you.

It’s hard to believe that Spanish YouTube sensation elrubiusOMG makes between $150,000 and $1.5 million in ad revenue for screaming like a kid as he plays the horror video game “Five Nights at Freddy’s.” But it’s true — there’s a whole new generation of video content producers making a killing on YouTube, and revenues are only going up each year. (more…)

The FCC gets to work on letting internet TV compete with cable


by Richard Lawler@rjcc | December 22nd 2014


It’s far from a done deal, but the FCC has taken a step towards putting internet TV service on a par with cable and satellite. On Friday it announced the adoption of a proposal(previously floated by chairman Tom Wheeler) that would give TV providers that stream their channels over the internet, the same access to content that satellite and cable TV services have. So far, internet providers aren’t classified as a “multichannel video programminng distributor”, but if they were that could have forced programmers to negotiate with the likes of Aereo, instead of merely suing them. Even as cord-cutters celebrate, there are some restrictions even with the new proposal — this plan wouldn’t affect Netflix, Amazon or Hulu — but it could make things easier for PlayStation Vue orDish Network’s planned internet TV feed.

Specifically, the NPRM proposes to interpret the term MVPD to encompass distributors of multiple linear video programming streams, including Internet-based services, and asks for comment on:

  • An alternative interpretation that would require an MVPD to have control over a transmission path;
  • How each interpretation would impact MVPDs, consumers, and content owners, and how each would promote competition and broadband adoption;
  • How the Commission should apply its retransmission consent “good faith” negotiation rules with respect to Internet-based MVPDs to protect local broadcasters; and
  • Whether these proposals would affect the regulatory status of IP-delivered video services by cable operators and DBS providers.

The distinction comes because the FCC is still looking for “distributors of multiple linear video programming streams” — not those that are primarily video on-demand. It might take away the requirement that services be tied to or own their own transmission path, although an alternative interpretation could change that. Now the FCC is accepting comments on the proposal, and we’re sure the incumbents of the cable industry will chime in to protect their advantage. Consumer advocacy group Public Knowledgeapplauded the move, as senior staff attorney John Bergman said that “By clarifying that MVPDs can operate online, it is creating opportunities for new and existing competitors to offer new kinds of video subscription services to viewers. This should both increase the diversity of content available to viewers online while bringing down prices for all cable and satellite providers.”

Whatever happens, it won’t come soon enough for Aereo, but as commissioner Ajit Paipointed out in his comments, there’s a possibility the Copyright Office will also need to get in line for the rules to have an effect. Whatever happens, the new rules are opening up for a comment period while the FCC is also considering net neutrality, and major mergers for both Comcast / Time Warner Cable and AT&T / DirecTV, which should make for an exciting (really!) 2015 of flipping through PDFs and watching C-SPAN.

[Image credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI via Getty Images]

50 Top Cable Entertainment Channels of 2014 – From USA to IFC


TV | By  on December 23, 2014
Cable channels

Fifteen ad-supported entertainment cable nets averaged more than one million primetime viewers

USA is the land of the free, and the home of the top ad-supported cable entertainment network — at least in terms of total viewers in primetime.

USA Network topped all other ad-supported cable entertainment networks in 2014 — again — averaging 2.138 million primetime total viewers. In doing so, USA was the only cable channel to make the two million mark in 2014. That said, second-place TNT came darn close, pulling in 1.997 million viewers throughout the calendar year.

This year marked the ninth consecutive one that USA topped this ranking. That said, ranking doesn’t include ESPN, as that is generally considered a sports, not entertainment, network; otherwise, ESPN would have topped the chart. It also doesn’t count news channels, for the same reason. Finally, Disney Channel is excluded, since it’s not considered ad-supported.

But back to what actually made it: In third place was the History Channel, with 1.834 million, besting TBS’s 1.819 million. After a big drop-off, FX finished fifth with 1.404 million viewers. (more…)

Inside the turnaround of Machinima

by Erin Griffith @eringriffith
December 19, 2014

Digital video networks are hot. So why is this YouTube darling the last one standing?

Machinima, a network of gaming video channels, is in an awkward position. It was one of the first big YouTube networks to make headlines, quickly growing to 300 million subscribers and raising almost $50 million in venture backing (including from Google, YouTube’s parent company), valuing it at nearly $200 million in 2012. It remains among YouTube’s top five networks.

Before this year, YouTube networks weren’t a hot investment. “Last year you couldn’t get this category on fire if a nuclear missile hit,” says Machinima CEO Chad Gutstein.

Things have changed. The category has been on fire since Disney announced in March that it would plunk down nearly $1 billion (with earn-outs) for Maker Studios. All eyes are on online video—literally. YouTube is the third-largest website in the world; it has almost as many active users as Facebook.

It feels like just about every one of Machinima’s peers has been acquired since then: (more…)

Ex-Hulu CEO Jason Kilar Unwraps YouTube Rival Vessel

Advertising Age

For $2.99 a Month, People Can Watch Top YouTube Stars’ Videos Days Before They Hit YouTube

By . Published on December 17, 2014

Vessel will launch early next year with mobile apps for Apple's iPad and iPhone.Vessel will launch early next year with mobile apps for Apple’s iPad and iPhone.

Almost two years after stepping down as Hulu‘s CEO, Jason Kilar is ready to open up about why he plans to take on YouTube with his new company Vessel.

“Video creators have used the internet exclusively for their distribution. They can become popular. They can generate a following. They can even create a brand. But so far, they haven’t yet been able to build a great business on the basis of video distribution digitally alone,” Mr. Kilar said in an interview on Tuesday.

Vessel will launch early next year as an ad-supported, subscription-based streaming-video service with the tagline “Watch your favorites here first.” People will pay $2.99 a month to watch videos from some of their favorite YouTube stars at least three days before new content hits the Google-owned video service or anywhere else. Ad Age had previously reported on Vessel’s plans.

Just like there are people willing to sit through commercials to watch a TV show live or pay $12 to see a movie in theaters, Mr. Kilar thinks there are people willing to pay for early access to YouTube videos.

“What we’ve created at Vessel is what we internally call the web’s first window,” Mr. Kilar said. What Vessel has also created is a velvet rope for digitally native content, putting the web’s most popular medium — short-form video — on the same premium pedestal as TV or movies. By this time next year, his company likely won’t be alone as YouTube and online video networks AwesomenessTV and Fullscreen are each expected to premiere their own subscription-based services. (more…)

YouTube Star Zoella’s First Week Book Sales Surpass J.K. Rowling’s Debut


MEDIA | By  on December 6, 2014

Zoe Sugg

“Girl Online” moves 78,000 units in its first week

Zoella is apparently as popular on the bookshelves as she is online.

The YouTube sensation, also known as Zoe Sugg, sold  78,109 copies of her debut novel, “Girl Online,” in its first week of release, theTelegraph reports.

That number represents the highest first-week sales for a first-time author on record, or at least since Nielsen BookScan first began keeping tabs of sales in 1998.

It also puts “Girl Online” well ahead of the first-week sales of J.K. Rowling‘s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” published in 1997.

“Girl Online,” published Nov. 25 under the Simon & Schuster imprint Keywords Press, is billed as a “coming-of-age novel that perfectly captures what it means to grow up and fall in love in today’s digital world.”

Zoella, 24, became a YouTube hit with her fashion and beauty videos. Her YouTube channel, has amassed more than 6.5 million subscribers with more than 300 million views. (more…)


Nielsen Logo

By Chris Louie, VP Product Leadership
BLOG| 11-24-2014

For over 50 years, there was only a single “app” for TV viewers. It was an entertainment app whose sole function was to stream premium video content. Over the years, new versions of the app were released, including more channels, an interactive programming guide, higher definition displays, and the ability to record and playback programs. Viewers could customize their version of the app to some extent by negotiating with their app developer – that is, their cable or satellite company.

But regardless, the app still basically did the same thing. And it was available on just one screen: the TV set. Given that the broadcast and cable networks could not differentiate on the user experience, they focused on their one point of differentiation: the content they offered.

Every one of these facts of TV viewing no longer holds. There are now many TV viewing apps available. They can be viewed on many screens. And UX (user experience) is now an important source of differentiation in attracting viewers and capturing their attention and time. Behind these changes are a number of factors:

  • The proliferation of broadband suitable for delivering premium video content
  • The broad adoption of devices capable of displaying premium video content
  • The connected nature of these devices, including TV sets themselves, enabling on-demand viewing
  • The emergence of multi-channel video programming distributors (MVPDs) beyond the big cable companies (e.g., Hulu, Netflix, Amazon)
  • A boom in high-quality video content, which can be produced with relatively cheap A/V equipment and editing tools

All of this is contributing to a wide range of TV experiences. Given that these experiences are being delivered via connected devices powered by distinct operating systems, I think it’s helpful to characterize these developments as “the appification of TV.”