An early YouTube star Michelle Phan hopes to draw content creators in fashion, beauty and wellness to her new network, ICON.
Former Olympian Bruce Jenner is slowly creating a name for himself and breaking free from the Kardashians.
Jenner, who is rumored to be transitioning into a woman, is reportedly distancing himself from the Kardashian family, to whom he formerly belonged as the ex-husband of Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner.
Radar Online said Jenner excluded himself from a deal for a television show reportedly worth $100 million. Aside from this, he is believed to have hired publicist Alan Nierob to provide him guidance as he prepares to have his own brand.
The Wrap explained in a report that Nierob is a "great choice" since he has been known to have guided many celebrities in the transitions in their careers.
"His brand has been diluted and controlled by the Kardashians. And all of the associations that go with that is what he's breaking from. And one of those associations is E!. It's all of those pieces where he's basically saying 'I am no longer in the shadow of that brand. I am taking control of this brand now.' I think he's doing it in a really smart way," The Brand Identity Center founder Chad Kawalec told The Wrap.
An Inquisitr report said that Jenner has finished filming a 2-hour documentary with ABC's Diane Sawyer which will air on April 24. The said documentary is rumored to present how Jenner transitioned from a male to a female.
More of his story was reportedly captured in an in-depth docu-series which Kawalec said will be sold to the highest bidder, giving Jenner the chance to negotiate.
"So, he's not beholden to anybody any longer. He's going to create a price war," Kawalec claimed.
He also noted that Jenner seems to be getting "good counsel" and that he will always have associations with the Kardashians but "he's going to build it back up on his own terms."
The Wrap also interviewed Jesse Redniss, co-founder of entertainment advisory company Brave Ventures, and he said that this is a smart move for Jenner especially since he is "seeking outside just the NBC Universal halo while they have a massive marketing campaign behind the Kardashian family."
"And while having an affinity there, it is always smart to figure out how you can expand your audience reach by looking at different network areas to partner with," Redniss added.
He also noted that this may be part of Jenner's explorations since he already experienced being part of a reality television series. "You know he's 65 years old, he is making a major transition in his life and he may have come to terms, internally, with himself and want to give back to society in a different way right now," Redniss explained.
If there was any remaining doubt, Facebook FB +0.06% made it pretty clear last week that it is taking YouTube head-on in the battle to own Web video with its big deal with the National Football League. The league began distributing video content on the social networking site last Tuesday; those clips were proceeded by video ads for Verizon Wireless.
That deal, along with several other recent moves by Facebook in the video arena, have led many in both the Web video creator space and the online ad world to speculate about what Facebook’s long term Web video ad plan will be. Given the growth in online video advertising, the stakes are large.
“Facebook is already a place where you consume content, and now they are dialing up video,” said Ezra Cooperstein, president of Fullscreen, a network of YouTube video producers co-owned by AT&T and The Chernin Group. “This is a year where YouTube is still the dominant platform for emerging talent. It’s going to be challenged [in 2015], and Facebook has to crack [ads]. It could be pretty dangerous for YouTube if Facebook does crack that.”
As for how Facebook plans to crack video ads, company officials insist that the NFL-Verizon deal is just a test, and that “post-roll” video ads (ads that run right after video clips) are not necessarily Facebook’s end-all be-all video ad strategy. At the same time, Facebook executives have said publicly they don’t see room for pre-roll video ads running prior to content in people’s news feeds, citing a need to protect the site’s consumer experience. (Of course, Google once had a very anti-pre-roll stance–also in the name of protecting user experience–but today YouTube is filled with pre-roll.)
Jesse Redniss, co-founder of the digital media consultancy Brave Ventures, said he’s not sure that “post roll” ads like the Verizon spot will have as much appeal to advertisers, especially in the current climate where proving that ads get seen is of top of mind among advertisers. He believes that Facebook may ultimately focus on working directly with marketers to either integrate brands into content, or producing videos specifically for advertisers, who will then pay to have these branded video clips seen by more Facebook users. That’s not unlike the roll of multichannel networks (MCNs) such as Fullscreen or StyleHaul.
“Facebook is poised to become the next big MCN,” he said.
Jordan Bitterman, chief strategy officer of Mindshare North America, is of a similar mindset. He sees content distributors potentially handling their own ad sales, integrating brand mentions into their videos and then using Facebook to drive viewership. “If you are a purveyor of video you pay like brands and everybody else on Facebook pays to get their content seen. It becomes a distribution cost.”
Ran Harnevo, who was most recently AOL’s head of video, says Facebook has a unique opportunity to shape how Web video advertising works by setting a new–much shorter–video ad standard. “The main advantage of the online video space in the last few years was the fact that it basically had the same ad product the TV industry had.
“But the next evolution of this space has to include a better ad experience,” he added. “Thirty-second ads were created for a different medium and are not a good service for digital consumers. Video pre-rolls would be super-effective if they would last five to seven seconds. If Facebook, with over a billion users under their belt, would stick to that format I have no doubt everyone will play along.”
Another popular theory is that Facebook could spin off a standalone video section–or a mobile app like they’ve done with Facebook Messenger–dedicated to video that would become a full-fledged YouTube competitor. Then perhaps in that environment, Facebook could run pre-roll ads like everybody else.
“I wouldn’t put that past them,” said Mr. Bitterman.
Vik Kathuria, global chief media officer at Razorfish, offered a more radical theory about how Facebook could start making more ad money from video distribution. “The first thing that pops into my mind is Instagram,” he said. “I think the video opportunity for Facebook is with this inherently visual sharing platform. If they could figure out in-stream ad delivery, they may have a solution that could rival YouTube.”
The league on Tuesday will begin posting short video clips on the social networking service. They could include game highlights — like the recent spectacular catch by New York Giant’s receiver Odell Beckham Jr. — as well as NFL news and fantasy football advice, according to people familiar with the plans.
The clips will be immediately followed by ads from Verizon Wireless, which will pay to promote them within NFL fans’ Facebook news feeds. Facebook and the NFL will share the ad revenue, though the specific financial terms weren’t available. Facebook plans to bring in other partners down the road.
The timing is good for both sides, with the NFL regular season drawing to a close and excitement building as key playoff races are still undecided.
The partnership is the latest sign that Facebook is getting more aggressive as it tries to become a major player in Web video and figure out ways to capture more ad dollars.
NFL rights aren’t easy to secure. The league is known for its caution in metering out its content. It doesn’t let clips of its games run wild in social media and it doesn’t have an official YouTube channel, for example. The league’s TV partners–despite spending billions to carry NFL games on their air–don’t always have have rights to stream games on mobile devices or tweet about them.
Wherever possible, the league looks to build its own digital services. The latest example is NFL Now, a Web video product that offers fans in-depth content on their favorite teams.
The Facebook arrangement is similar to a deal the NFL struck with Twitter last year. In that partnership, the league agreed to deliver short highlight clips accompanied by ads in people’s Twitter feeds.
“This is a small video sponsorship test, and we will be evaluating how people, publishers, and marketers respond to this kind of co-branded video content on Facebook,” a Facebook spokeswoman said.
Beyond the NFL partnership, Facebook is trying to boost its Web video offerings in other ways. It is actively courting many YouTube creators from the Web video world, urging them to upload video clips directly to Facebook rather than embedding YouTube videos. Facebook has also approached traditional media companies about using Facebook as a video distribution outlet, people familiar with the matter say.
To grow its video business, the social networking service will have to put forward a compelling case that it can help video publishers make money. For all the grumbling in the new media world about how YouTube takes a 45% share of ad revenue from videos, creators still know they are going to make some money through YouTube.
Figuring out how to show video ads to users will be tricky for Facebook, since the company has indicated that it does not plan to run “pre-roll” ads--those TV-like video ads that run prior to online videos and are the industry standard.
For now, the NFL clips will run above a clickable,”presented by Verizon” message; at the conclusion of a video a Verizon ad will begin playing. Facebook plans to experiment with other formats beyond that “post roll” advertising approach.
Machinima, a multi-channel network (MCN) pioneer that's come under siege from increased competition, today revealed a robust rebrand to better position itself in the industry. Most importantly, it's building an advertising structure similar to a TV network to make brands feel more comfortable about buying.
"What we're doing here with this rebrand is providing a really rich, consistent environment that reflects our vision as purveyors of fandom and gamer culture," explained CEO Chad Gutstein, who was formerly COO for cable channel Ovation. "It's one of the things that TV has done phenomenally, and we're bringing that discipline to social videos."
Machinima chief content officer Daniel Tibbets explained that most MCNs operate like a traditional talent agency, offering up their creators to brands and then coming up with a strategy to make content that works for both parties. Instead, Machinima wants to operate similarly to television and have a slate of programming so advertisers can see what kind of topics will be discussed on a series, which episodes are going to air around the time they want to make their buys or read episode synopses so they can find a match for their products. Machinima offers mosts types of video advertisements, including cost-per-thousand spots, sponsor cards and on-air mentions, as well as custom native content across its network.
Fourteen-year-old Machinima boasts 3 billion monthly views—primarily consumption by males—and 400 million subscribers, not to mention that its YouTube channel is in the top 50 U.S. gaming channels. However, its popularity has partly given way to other online channels and networks with a broader audience and reach, and strategic and investing partners including Warner Bros. have had to step in to help out. Hence, the rebrand.
The West Hollywood, Calif.-based company's website and new slogan, "Heroes Rise," displays a commitment to fans of all kinds, as well as the fact that while it still has a majority male viewership, it's moving into gender-neutral territory with a steadily growing contingent of female viewers. More diversity could be lucrative to marketers.
"Environment matters greatly," Gutstein added.
Jesse Redniss, a former executive for USA Network and co-founder of digital technology advisors BRaVe Ventures, said Machinima's switch to a TV-based strategy may make brands feel more comfortable spending their dollars.
"Aligning a slate of programming in a way that's similar to how advertisers already think about advertising is a reasonable strategy—it's an easier buy and when there is so much confusion in the market, what one already knows, what’s easy, often wins," he said.
'Level Up Talent' Designed To Help Creators
To further help its content creators, Machinima is also introducing the Level Up Talent program, which will divide its creator pool into three levels. M–White is available for everyone to join. M-Red and M-Black, however, are invite-only. Red members are made up of content creators that may be making notable materials, but aren't doing significant traffic. Then, Machinima will work with them to help target their focus and develop programming. Black level creators—like SkyDoesMinecraft with 10.6 million subscribers— are about top 2 percent of talent on Machinima's network. They'll get dedicated talent development managers to help them strike advertising deals, foster collaborations and help them bolster their ideas. All creators will have access to a new technology platform called Console that will help them manage their uploads and social media presence.
Redniss said the rebrand could also serve another purpose: Machinima could be positioning itself as an acquisition target by a traditional media company. In March, Disney purchased Maker Studios for $500 million.
This new focus could help it regain a solid hold on its core audience, Redniss said. However, he is a bit skeptical on how this strategy will help them find new, younger viewers that are flocking to the other networks with more diverse content.
"I do think that this approach will help move the needle with brands, but I'm not sure how this approach will help them regain audience," Redniss said.
Redniss and Beck, along with social marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk have formed BRaVe Ventures, which will advise top TV networks, digital agencies, and social TV companies. At launch, the company already counts as clients one of the major broadcast TV networks, Mashwork/Canvs.TV, Watchwith, Spredfast, Clasp.TV, ListenFirst Media, Contend Co., Vayner Media and GLOW.
“Part of the problem today is the vast amount of choice when it comes to how to develop and execute on a new technology-driven program,” Redniss tells Lost Remote. “We’ve watched companies spend large amounts of money and countless hours on technologies that didn’t work or on social programs that didn’t engage fans. We have the expertise to eliminate waste in order to determine the best solution to help our clients develop targeted programs based on specific business objectives from the start.”
In addition to the acceleration and advisory components of BRaVe, the new venture will also be incubating emerging social TV, second screen, and multi-screen start-ups. Says Redniss:
“Through our years of operational management at major media companies, we have worked with dozens of start-ups, implementing their technology offerings within our programs, driving success while helping them prove out their models. Many of them have become successful stand-alone businesses and many of them have been acquired or have even gone public. Because of this unique experience, BRaVe has dedicated capital to invest in future start-ups that have an opportunity to transform the ecosystem, and for which BRaVe can provide meaningful incubation services to accelerate success. The amount of capital BRaVe has to invest is not public, but BRaVe has been backed by VRSE’s $25M fund [VRSE was created by RSE Ventures and Gary Vaynerchuk].”
Having been at the forefront of many of the best social TV integrations we have covered over the years, Redniss and Beck certainly have insight into the challenges that executives at major media brands face in terms of how to approach content creation and fan engagement with so many different mediums through which to interact. Along with Vaynerchuk’s leadership credentials, it will be exciting to see how BRaVe’s three partners continue to shape our favorite programs.
Have you seen the popular HTC One TV commercial featuring Gary Oldman? It’s quite brilliant really. A highly celebrated A-list actor is paid millions to say little more than “blah blah blah” throughout the entire commercial. I’m reminded of it because that’s the reaction I tend to have these days when I hear the words “big data.” It’s almost as if I’m transported to the classroom in a Peanuts episode listening to the muted voice of the teacher muttering incomprehensible monotone words.
It’s not that big data isn’t important. Believe me, it’s the foundation for the future of business. It’s just that every time I hear about big data, it’s either in the context of social media, The Internet of Things, data technology, Nate Silver, or a combination of all of the above. What I don’t hear enough is the human side of data, the questions asked, the insights that are drawn, and the ways that insights are then executed against at every level that matters (internally and externally).
The problem with big data is we think that by saying “big,” we automatically convey importance and urgency up, down, and across our organization.
It’s not unlike saying social media, mobile, real-time, wearables, etc. They’re just buzz words. It’s what we do with them that counts. Big data, activity, behavior, the importance of each is in how we set out to learn and more importantly, apply learning toward adaption or innovation…everywhere. The greatest promise about big data isn’t access to it; it’s the ability to excavate intellectual gems in a mountain of commodity information. Big data takes a personal touch. I call this the human algorithm. It’s the ability for someone with vision, intention, and ambition to find data that leads to hypotheses, testing, and intentional actions and outcomes. It’s as much about inklings and insights as it is about evangelizing revelations everywhere from R&D and marketing to sales and support to loyalty and back again. It’s taking seeking specific data because you’re looking for something not reacting to it. It’s pouring through 1s and 0s (Tweets, comments, posts, personalized user data, visits, connections, purchases, location data, etc…) and making them matter to you and the people around you.
In a real-time world, big data can inform the next steps of those who are looking to compete for the moment and for the future…right now. Everything starts though with an intention of doing something purposeful and then using data to support instinct or ideation. Univision, for example, is one company that is using social data specifically to think globally but is also acting locally around programming engagement.
Univision’s Uni Approach to Social TV
Before leaving to start his new social TV advisory BRaVe Ventures, along with industry veterans Jesse Redniss and Gary Vaynerchuk, I caught up with David Beck, former SVP and General Manager of Social Media at Univision to share his experience. Beck work in social media at Univision is widely regarded and I wanted to better understand how his team tuned into the elusive signal over the oh so common noise to make data actionable. Beck had the unique challenge of delivering dynamic and engaging social content to a hugely passionate, multilingual, multicultural Hispanic audience living in the US across the Univision network.
For example, content for the Mexican audience won’t necessarily resonate with the Colombian audience, as with the Venezuelan audience and so forth. It’s up to Beck and his team of content producers to be both data scientists and creative community managers – collaborating on themes and topics across news, entertainment TV, original series’, lifestyle content, sports, and more – and delivering on exciting, relevant content in real-time across dozens of social platforms. No easy task, and not one possible without an organization structure centered on data, with proper tools of which to make use, and a team with cross-functional, data-centered expertise.
To help, Dave once turned to Expion, a content marketing optimization platform to localize and manage their social marketing efforts. In finding the right technology solution, Beck then had to think about expertise and capabilities to support his vision.
“When you sign on with an enterprise system, you have to ask yourself, ‘Did I buy the Formula 1 but I don’t have the pit crew?,’” Beck asked. “Before we even made the decision, we had to ask ourselves if we’re staffed to extract value. We ended up investing early in making sure we had the people and skillsets that could handle the analytics and transform data into actionable insights.”
The Univision team is now able to pick up very quickly on what’s catching fire – digital, TV, or social – and have an enterprise toolset with immediate utility. More importantly, the team can look at the data and surface cultural nuances to quickly identify what’s working right now and how much content inventory they have to create and deploy. This reduces the amount of sifting, allows them to do more analysis, and to be able to articulate to all the other groups very quickly on what’s working, and why.
Translating Data into Value
With market-relevant insights comes the ability to develop market-relevant content and engagement strategies. At Univision, the social team is realizing significant spikes in activity linked to TV shows (particularly with a moving story line and series) can have huge implications to the marketing of the show, the story-line development, and even advertiser value. For instance, during Univision’s reality beauty competition show Nuestra Belleza Latina (“NBL”), his team noticed spikes in activity when the contestants talked about their home country — in turn they created content and calls to action on TV, social, and digital to leverage country pride to spark conversation. NBL maintained the highest engagement (Tweets per unique) of any TV show this season, according to NielsenSocial.
Dave’s story takes the “blah blah blah” out of the mix by honing in on understanding what, why or how information is specifically valuable to the people involved in deploying, managing and extracting value. Technology is only one part of the equation. The other piece is human. Univision is just one of many companies turning big data into big and actionable insights. And I guess that’s what this is all about. It’s about taking something that really doesn’t in of itself provide strategic direction and, by asking the right questions aligned with the best intentions, turn data into not only actionable insights, but also engaging stories that matter to people…their way.