Posts Tagged 'online video'

Memories Are More Global Than You Think

At Geekcon 2008, Myself and a small team did a project called All I Remember. We wanted to capture the memories that are a part of almost every culture – first kiss, first love, parents, songs and so on. As a part of the project, I filmed some of the participants, and edited it to a short, Hebrew speaking piece. The whole process took less than 10 hours (shooting and editing) in one day or so, so everything is a bit rough. However I believe it delivers the experience we all felt while doing this video.

I hope you’ll enjoy it – and if it brought a smile to your face, or made you remember your own related memories, please leave a comment…


Innovation in News – A Top Down Approach

Inform, Educate, Entertain... Expose?Image by inju via Flickr

We all know that the news industry is highly affected by technology – starting with the rise of bloggers as a news source, through the usage of UGC in mainstream news reporting, the reduction of cost of live broadcasting, the introduction of video to newspapers websites, collaborative news gathering, and the usage of social media tools to notify readers and create discussions around news items.

However, how can one evaluate the level of innovation of a news organization? Here are some of our thoughts:

1. Release of hot off the press news through the day, without limiting hot items to a specific news hour or editionTV news organizations expanding to the internet face a challenge – should they compromise the rating of their main edition by releasing hot items on the internet first? The same goes for newspapers and radio. This is a case of innovation – the internet strong point is the fact that news can be dispatched instantaneously 24×7, while traditional media is all about creating and maintaining viewership and readership peaks.

2. Creation of direct to web video news clips – today the cost of a video journalist is much lower than in the past. Newspaper websites already have in some areas video journalists – a role traditionally exisitng in the TV business only. Online news consumers do not divide media based on it sources (such as TV, papers and radio), but based on the information itself.

3. One news desk,  many platforms – while in traditional media, a newspaper has its own platform and news desk, one will think that news innovation should integrate all the platforms and create a unified desk per topic. So, for example, a desk covering the Pallin affair would be a stand alone operation in a newspaper, while others will focus on getting the best information, and “repurpose” it to the relevant platform.

4. Social media as a part of a news gathering game – does a news outlet use social networks and blogs as source of information?

5. Social media as a part of a distribution strategy – does a news outlet use social networks (such as Facebook and Twitter) and blogs as a distribution platform?

6. Audience interaction – does a news outlet interact with viewers, through its own site, as well as social networks?

7. Distributed approach – does a news outlet allow others to embed its content in their sites, social networks profiles and so on?

How does your news room operate? What are the challenges you are facing? what is the role of innovation in the success of news organizations, and how do they evaluate it?

(written in collaboration with Lara Greenberg, former South African journalist and current student of the School of Communications at IDC Herzliya).

NBC Olympics Shows The Revolution Is Not There Yet

NBC is using Microsoft’s technology and infrastructure for their Olympics video sites, serving 2 million unique users. has a great interview with Eric Schmidt, Director of Media and advertising Evangelism in Microsoft:

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The network is also seeing this event as a promoter of technology for newbies and non technical people:

…”To some extent, the Olympics are beginning to influence how people use new technology,” said Alan Wurtzel, research president for NBC Universal…

However, the revolution is not there yet:

…By far, however, television is still the preferred format. Of the estimated 107 million people to experience at least a few minutes of the Olympics on Sunday, 95 percent watched it on TV, NBC said….The number of people requesting Olympic content over their phones is still relatively small — 494,506 on Sunday and 476,062 on Monday — but NBC executives say they’re stunned at how many of those never used the phones for this purpose before…

The reason might be that HDTV experience is richer than what online video can offer today. Two questions rise from these figures:

Does this mean that live sports, the holy grail of mobile content – does not fulfill its promise? And would things change when online HD infrastructure, coupled with internet connected TV set will be a common media product?

Videoblogging tips from the experts

Daisy Whitney‘s “new media minute” is a great resource about online video.

I love this episode especially, as it stars key videobloggers (including Kent Nichols from Ask A Ninja, and Steve Garfield), who give their advice for succesful videoblogging.


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Online Video and The Presedintial Elections – Political Lunch

This post is the first in a series called Meet The Creators, where we interview the people behind some of the Internet’s most interesting video shows.

Political Lunch is one of my favorite video shows. Though I am not an American voter, I find US politics are very interesting, and always looking for unbiased source of bite size information about what’s going on in the presidential elections. Also, Obama’s brilliant use of social media and online video make this elections even more interesting for me.

That’s why I was so happy to meet Robert Mills and start watching Political Lunch – a daily political video show that caters my needs exactly.

Robert Millis (right) and Will Coghlan, the creators of Political Lunch

Here is a short interview that I’ve done with Robert, with some insights about his show and its affect on American politics:

KP: What is Political Lunch

RB: Political Lunch is the only independent daily news program covering the U.S. presidential election online. We focus on cutting through the spin and drama to deliver short, engaging and informative reports. Our lunchtime episodes are typically 3-5 minutes long, allowing people to get caught up on the news that matters in just a few minutes and go on with their day. We don’t play favorites, and we never lose our sense of humor.

KP: What is the motivation behind this show?

RB:We do this to meet a need. When my partner, Will Coghlan, and I came up with Political Lunch, no online program was committed to covering the campaigns. And most existing coverage of political news online was driven by opinion and ideology, or was simply uninformed. Meanwhile, television coverage in the U.S. has become so dominated by bloviating pundits that it can take an hour to sift through all the spin and get the top campaign stories.

KP: How did you start the whole thing?

RM: I was producing an interview series on current affairs called American Microphone [] and at the time nobody had produced a high quality political news program online yet. My friend WIll Coghlan had worked in politics and journalism, and when we founded Hudson Street Media we decided to create the sort of program we would like to see: high quality, informative and engaging.

KP: What equipment are you using?

RM: We shoot in HDV on a Sony Z1U and edit on Final Cut Pro. We have a small studio (3×4 meters) with a simple ceiling grid to mount microphones and lights.

KP: What are your views on independent political sites?

RM: Truly independent sites? I would like to see more of them done well. Considering the possibilities, there are few sites which do more than simply advance a particular cause or ideology. Many sites serve just one perspective, often building yet another echo chamber of opinion, and don’t have anything to offer people who disagree. In other cases, some of the most useful political sites are so narrow in their focus that you don’t visit them unless you are seeking something very particular. Because nobody has gotten this quite right, we see an opportunity and we are now in the process of building an integrated network of political sites ourselves. More on that another time though.

KP: What are your views on the affect of online video on the presidential elections?

RM: Most importantly, every word a candidate speaks may be recorded. And when something troubling comes up, word spreads quickly. Candidates sometimes believe that online video has less of an impact because the audience is smaller. But when something goes viral, it’s very powerful. Also important is the kind of audience a candidate reaches. The online audience is usually small compared to television, but programs like Political Lunch have viewers who influence others. People who are getting their news from programs like ours are more likely to be early adopters of technology, more likely to be well informed, and more likely to tell their friends and family about something they learn while watching the report. I think this niche audience will have a much larger impact on the elections than many expect.

KP: what did you learn from working on your show?

RM: The simplest ideas are often the best.

KP: What is the end game for your show? TV? An online Brand?

RM: Political Lunch is definitely a strong online brand and I think it will stay there, though it could add value to the right television network.

KP: What were your biggest challenge while producing the show?

One of the biggest challenges for us has been being misunderstood by the campaigns and the mainstream media. The lines are blurred between roles, so definitions of “blogger” and “citizen journalist” and “reporter” are all very subjective. People sometimes don’t know what to do with us because we are not really bloggers, but neither are we a television crew.

KP: What will happen with your show after the elections?

RM: We have talked with people about a variety of options for Political Lunch, but have not committed to any particular plan yet. We are building other online properties, so it is likely that Political Lunch will be integrated with one of those and offer somewhat broader news content. But if you know somebody who is looking to buy a program, we’re always ready to listen.

KP: and, what is your message for candidates and vloggers?

RM: For candidates: Embrace the medium. This is one of the most effective ways to connect with the people you want to reach.

For vloggers: Don’t hesitate. Turn on the camera and start. Right now.

If you’ve never seen it before, here is an episode from their show:

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The TV Network Challenge Part 1 – Does Have The Silver Bullet?

Sitting on the couch at’s offices in Manhattan, chatting with Dina Kaplan, the company’s COO and Mike Hudak, CEO, I realized that one thing that Dina said was the true story behind this small company – that probably their content and distribution is the biggest and most unnoticed threat to TV networks. is a video distribution and monetization platform. it offers distribution services to its customers, such an embedable player, distribution to main video sites, twitter notifications, and cross posting to blogs. The company also cut sponsorship deals for its customers with brands, as well as using basic advertisement technology to provide CPM/CPC of deals.

Their uniqueness is in their business strategy – focusing on independent producers of online shows:

Independent producers are in most cases the ones who are not linked to major TV networks, the guys who just go out there with their own money (or, in some cases, investment money) and produce their own shows.

Shows are not the dog on skateboard videos you see on YouTube, but an episodic content, just like regular TV shows.

Blip is hosting different kinds of shows, such as cooking shows, drama, comedy, technology and news.

Here’s an example of such a show, Political Lunch:

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So, what’s the big news?

Well, couple of weeks ago, Mike and Dina showed me one cool thing – their integration with Sony Bravia. Sony Bravia has an Ethernet socket. And what I saw at blip’s offices is their content on a large screen TV with blip’s menu and interface.

Though Internet and TV integration is not a huge news, blip’s move into this area is significant.

Till now, independent creators had to face two challenges:

– The limited user experience web video offers

– How to promote their shows without the huge marketing budgets the networks have.

Now, blip’s player is no longer confined to the limitations of web video viewing experience. If users can just as easily see Political Lunch or The Closer, the competitive landscape is fundamentally different that the traditional separation of Internet video and TV experience. And again – the key here is that the content we are talking about is not the regular UGC low end content, but well produced shows, that are not a part of the TV industry.

In this new deal, challenges the TV networks as they are providing new kind of content, from a new kind of creators, but on the same display vehicle – TV. By breaking the walls around web video user experience, and increasing the exposure to independently created shows, are on a heads on attack on TV networks. Sure, they don’t have the money the big guys have – TV advertisement models and price range are much more profitable than what and other online video communities can get today. However, like every innovation, things might take time, but they are definitely changing the landscape in a fundamental way.

It is yet to be seen if will be around 3 years from now. I believe that they will be successful and snatched by one of gorillas in this market.

However their success or failure will not only indicate if they are good business people. It would be a clear sign for things to come in the market niche of independent content creators.

Media and Technology Tidbits

Mozilla Foundation logoImage via Wikipedia

ZDnet published a great article about Mozilla and social media marketing

Jeremiah Owyang asks if A list bloggers are really bloggers

– And here’s list of online video position titles

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