Tuesday, September 12, 2006

YouTube and business models

Many young people watch YouTube now *instead of* television.

Why? Because they like repetition and easy access to the juicy scenes, the funniest moments, the heart of the buzz. So instead of boring parts of shows, and commercial interuptions, they get the best stuff, and they can watch it over and over again.

Interaction at YouTube includes posting text comments, uploading a video response (subject to approval), distributing bulletins, saving to favorites, ranking the video, subscribing to a channel, and displaying the video on your blog via a player embed code you paste into your post template in HTML mode.

LonelyGirl15, Lisa Nova, It's Jerry Time, Hope is Emo, Loren Feldman (1938 Media), and Cutiemish exemplify a business model working so blatantly we tend to skip over it: the YouTube Soap Opera series of video postings by a real teen, a computer animated character, a fictional human character, a rebel, a social critic, an outcast, an average person who revels in their average outlook and amateur style.

Once an audience is obtained, the merchandising can follow, and the loyal fanatics will eat it up, all of it, for a long time.

Betray, deceive, exploit, toy with, manipulate that audience, especially their emotions and desire to care for strangers, and you're dead.

LonelyGirl15 may be enjoyed by a devoted group of people who like her, even though she, "Bree", is just a scripted fantasy produced by mysterious figures who are evasive about motive, religion, and commercial agendas. But probably most of her fans will mutiny and turn their allegiance to more authentic performances.

The same core values that drive the best of the blogosphere are operating in the vlogo/videosphere.

The uproar over Lonelygirl15 is focused on Fictional Character Blogs being deceptive mind games that exploit and injure the feelings of actual humans who may become quite fondly attached to the character, and then feel used and duped. They emailed advice and consolation to "Bree". Now they think their earnest, heartfelt communiques were being laughed at. Bree is just a committee of oppressors, capitalist exploiters with a hidden and unseemly commercial agenda.

The frenzy and hostility is over the issues of Authenticity, Passion, Transparency. How refreshing to see the younger crowd rally to the same war cry as the early bloggers.

Is your company online? Blogging? Videocasting? Web conferencing?

Then you better be exactly who you say you are. With online predators, con artists, and malware, authenticity and honesty are fighting words in the videosphere and blogosphere. Cluetrain Manifesto and Gonzo Marketing made that clear long ago.

Truth and Transparency as you solve a problem or enhance a life style for your customer.

Let that be the foundation of your business plan. Don't deceive or exploit. Be yourself. Be upfront about everything. Anticipate flames and complaints, don't be caught off guard and then panic with denials and lies.

MySpace is so 2005.

YouTube is 2006.

Blogging is where you should already be.

Video is where you need to be going now.

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