Internet broadcasting is a viable way to build an audience. Live streaming video and personal VLOGs alike have been increasing in popularity over the past few years as technology continues to improve the online video viewing experience. As Internet television becomes more user friendly, it is poised to continue its rise in market share over traditional television and cable TV. Internet television shows are engaging streaming video viewers in new and different ways.
NewTek sponsored the 2014 edition of its Broadcast Minds panel discussion to explore Internet broadcasting trends and the definition of what it means to be a broadcaster. Tom Green, an Internet TV pioneer, served as moderator. Green was one of the first to broadcast a live daily web TV show back in 2006. The program Tom Green’s House Tonight was initially transmitted from his living room. The other panelists all have their own web video productions as well.
L to R: Norm Macdonald, Cali Lewis, Criss Angel
Comedian, Norm Macdonald, whose show Norm Macdonald Live runs on the Video Podcast Network noted that he prefers the term narrow-casting. The ability to hone in on a niche audience is one of the strengths of Internet programs. Macdonald recalled that Richard Pryor had once told him “Only one in ten people know me and only one in a hundred likes me, but that’s good enough.” Macdonald likes being completely independent, but notes that since there is no one censoring you, you need to censor yourself.
Illusionist Criss Angel whose “Walk on Water” video has 50 million views noted that it is great to not have to rely on anyone else, but you need to be careful not to hurt your brand. He stated, “It is a fine balance between maintaining a creative outlet that entices and excites you, yet keeping it within reason and applicable for most viewers.”
Cali Lewis, host of GeekBeat TV added “Decide who your audience is and where you want to go with it and then you have freedom.” Lewis first set up her web video studio in a spare bedroom and now has 2.5 million social media followers. She eventually expanded into a larger studio and has hundreds of hours of video content. Her videos have been viewed over a billion times.
Angel continued, “It is all about creating a pop-culture relevant moment packaged in a new way--short and concise is better –it is how people process information now. Be true to yourself, but be creative and try different things.”
Green was curious to know how loyal audiences are built and how an Internet show can be monetized. Lewis stressed to diversify between advertising, product sales, video content and community involvement. “Let’s not limit ourselves to what new media should be. Because it is new, we can learn from eachother and break new ground.” She likes to listen to her audience and constantly test new ideas and methods to see what works and what doesn’t. She was pleasantly surprised to find that Patreon was a ready-made community of creators and patrons who liked pitching in to help fund independent Internet video. She was also able to monetize via a diversified product sale. Through a Kickstarter project, she created special cards for sale to place on the windows of badly parked cars--special creative love notes for those cars that take up two spaces. Through her show, she ended up selling $35,000 worth of these cards.
Green asked, “How do you use social media to complement what you’re doing?" Angel responded that you need a synergistic approach between TV and social media to be effective in new products; for example Twitter to promote a show, then your own commercial embedded in your own show to lead people to your web site. Angel stresses that it is important to stay forward thinking with emotional connection to an audience. Lewis suggested interacting with people by asking viewers in a chat window where they are from and putting the chat on-screen so viewers can see. She also likes to integrate Skype video at times. Lewis stressed that engagement is of primary importance–how many people are actually responding, re tweeting, commenting. Angel conveyed that the video conversion rate is what counts. Because there is an oversaturation of information, you need more impressions to accomplish this. People become numb, Angel stated.
Tom Green and Norm Macdonald
Macdonald reminded that the prophetic 1970 book by Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, predicted that as the frequency of change accelerated, it would become increasingly more difficult to keep up. “Too much change in too short a period of time” is essentially information overload. As we are now are seeing, enormous amounts of content arriving at an ever increasing rate, creates content shock.
So how do your reach new people in this new world of content shock? Lewis believes that you can still reach an audience that is not your own and make it your own in this new culture of always being on. She suggested finding and activating people that are already talking about the topic you are interesting in producing. Through SEO strategies and inbound marketing your video content can surface to the audience you seek–then keep constantly getting your message out.