On Wednesday, August 27, BigScreen LittleScreen and VideoInk made their way to Magnet Media to jointly host “Mobile Video and Vine: Hand-Holding You Through Handheld.”
As per usual, the event began with a couple of screenings. First off, the creators of “Mostly Merril,” a thus far one-video series, showed attendees their vision of an “actor” (it’s unclear as to whether he’s had any actual roles in his “career”), Merril Garick, and his sidekick Emmit answer viewer questions on camera. Joe Kolbow, who plays Merril, and Dave Bobb, the show’s director, asked the audience where they thought “Mostly Merril” would find the best digital home, whether it was mobile (Vine content, even?) or YouTube. The show about the old world actor (Merril doesn’t understand the concept of an iPhone) is still private, so you’ll have to wait to see where it ends up…
Next up, Jeremy Boros and Michael Delmara screened “Artistically Challenged,” a narrative series (most likely the only one) shot exclusively for Instagram. The mobile app allows users to upload 15-second videos, which actor Boros and director Delmara took advantage of in this innovative approach to showcasing the comedic struggles of an emerging artist in New York City. Check out the first episode below…
Paul Kontonis, SVP of content strategy and sales at Collective Digital Studios, moderated the event’s panel with guests Travis Lusk, the head of video at a different Collective (the ad tech company), and Greg Manago, the managing director of creative development and production at Mindhsare Content & Entertainment.
What are your thoughts on mobile as launching a creative content platform?
Greg Manago: “I think what’s going on in mobile video is very interesting because on one hand there’s short-form series that are interesting because they’re so short…and on the longer side if you consider tablets as mobile, which most people do, you have ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ which is also creatively freeing. Mobile is so personal to you. It has started to be a freeing force.”
Travis Lusk: “Coming from an advertising aspect, historically speaking, marketers ruin everything. Collective as a company has historically had the job of finding massively scalable solutions for brands and advertisers to get on top of your content. I don’t want to slap banner ads all overy our content…Brands interested in this area want to know how quickly I can get 10 billion people to watch in a month. It’s not that simple. You have to work hard to do this stuff…You can’t just slap 10 grand into it and hope it works. It doesn’t work.”
There needs to be advertising dollars in these platforms to make them viable for creators. In Instagram’s case, there is no monetization built in. What is the advertisers’ interest and what do you see on the demand side for mobile video? And from Mindshare, are you seeing that demand, as well?
Travis Lusk: “From a mobile perspective, advertisers are thinking about running their 15 or 30-second spot in front of creator content. On the mobile side, that tends not to really exist in many places…One of the challenges as a content creator is that advertisers are saying, ‘We love you, how many audience members do you have?’ When creators don’t have audiences yet, the brands’ minds just explode. When there are folks that are willing to make that bet, those are the brands that I think are ultimately going to win in the short term.”
Greg Manago: “From a creative perspective, we’re trying to get our clients to start looking at mobile completely differently from every other kind of media. The challenge is trying to find the rhythms and create content for the mind space that people are going to be in when they’re on the train, waiting in line — something you can latch onto quickly and get it.”
Vine is not a scalable model for monetiation because every deal has to be done individually, whereas YouTube advetising is scalable. Does something need to change with Vine to make it more of a monetizable platform for creators and more interesting for advertisers?
Travis Lusk: “My immediate thought was I can probably make more money off of who’s watching this stuff and what they’re watching than I can simply slapping a Ford ad in front of it…It’s incredibly valuable to know that 2 million 14-year-olds consume this message in two days. Vine has ultimately become a pretty awesome data set. It’s less about native ads.”
Greg Manago: “Maybe there is no monetization future for Vine. Maybe it’s just used as a platform through which you can grow people who become YouTube celebs or TV stars. I see it as creatively freeing to be able to do that in a non-branded environment.”
Why do you think some TV shows are taking clips of the show and putting it on their YouTube channels? Is this because of a desire to promote the show, or the desire to make extra money on YouTube?
Greg Manago: “I don’t think they’re making extra money on YouTube becuse they’re not running ads on it…Jimmy Fallon does this really well. I was listening to a podcast with Seth Meyers and he said they’ve stayed away from that because they really can’t compete with Jimmy. They’ve built such an audience with that show, and no one thought Jimmy Fallon was going to use YouTube to build an audience.” (And in fact, the show’s creators write episodes with digital-specific sections in mind — it’s that big a part of the show.)
Paul Kontonis: “On a similar note, BBC uses SnapChat for marketing all their shows. An hour before a new episode of a show launches, they put the most pivotal moment for that show for superfans on SnapChat, and they found a ridiculous increase in the amount of tune in by doing that. In a lot of cases, they’re giving away a very pivotal moment, but it’s slightly out of context so viewers have no idea how the characters got there.”
How effective is product placement on SnapChat, Vine, and Instagram?
Travis Lusk: “If you study ancient TV history, soap operas were created because Proctor & Gamble said so…History repeats itself, and I think today we’re going to be more artful as to how brands are integrated into content, more sublte.”
Greg Manago: “Brands start coming once you reach mass. If you build it, they will come, and they’ll want to integrate. There is value in subliminal messaging.”
If you want to hear more, check out our live-stream of the event in New York City, which comes from our friends at Watchitoo: