Seeding A Viral
Last week we carried a story on how giving away a product or service free or almost free is becoming a viable business model. We also spoke of how free media is fast reshaping the broadcast model, especially in the West. With more and more young people moving online, video piped through the internet is becoming mainstream.
YouTube is already the third most trafficked website in the world and according to this (seven month old) story it reaches more people in the US than MTV. The grounds are shifting rapidly and the Hollywood writers strike could skew things further towards the Internet.
One of the problems of the online model is that just by putting things up, there is no guarantee that people will come and watch them. The struggles of Bud TV is a case in point. Branded online content works very differently from the way things used to in the broadcast era and there is a lot that needs to be understood before marketers and agencies will be able to attract audiences to watch stuff online.
So how does a marketer who wants to create online buzz go about creating online buzz? What is the strategy that can be used to get people to view and pass content around?
We think the starting point of understanding the online distribution game is understanding the many channels that are available online. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of video sites and YouTube clones out there where agencies can post videos for free. In this story we attempt to take you on a tour of many the sites that can be used to seed content.
YouTube is of course site number one. As of May 2007 the site had a market share larger than the combined shares of all video sites put together. Sure you must upload your videos on YouTube, but with over 60,000 new vids being posted online everyday, the chances of people watching your stuff gets extremely difficult. The game is to put up stuff on as many free sites as possible. Add the share of Google Video onto to this and you have two thirds of the market covered. Networking site MySpace comes in third, followed by Yahoo video.
You need to be seen in as many places as possible so that more people will get to see your stuff. So here are the niche sites that make up the longtail of online video. Metacafe rides the amateur content creation wave by giving people the opportunity to make money off their videos. Vimeo tries the differentiation game by ensuring high quality streaming. Specially good for advertising and other well produced stuff. VideoJug offers another kind of distinction. This is a place to go to for instructional stuff. Have brand demos, infomercials or something you want to show and tell, this is the place to go. Heavy started out trying to be the MTV of the online world. In doing so, they have created a bunch of niche channels aimed at young people. One of the things about posting videos online is that you can get away showing things you could never show on network television. Sites like Crave try to take advantage of this opportunity. Furl and Blinks try to make its mark by becoming the search site of videos from all other sites.
Online TV channels are sprouting up all over. While mainstream TV channels like MTV, ABC and CNN have their online presence, the place to go to post free content online would be sites like Al Gore promoted Current TV, BrightCove and Joost. Brands like Audi, Ministry of Sound and FTV have channels on Joost.
There are other niche players appearing online. Indian video sites like Nautanki create their own content for the online space. Others too, like AajKaTV, DesiMad, chase the pot of gold they think exists online.
So how do you ensure more people watch the stuff you put online. Make something unique and original, have little or no brand message in it, make it funny, even outrageous. Or scroll down this list of over 200 online video sites (there are even more in the comments section) and post your content on all of them. That’s a good starting point.