Last Sunday night U2 played the Rose Bowl in California to a crowd of 80,000 fans. The gig was broadcast live in HiDef on YouTube. As you would expect from U2, the production values were impeccable – great camera work and staging. Watching it full screen on my new iMac with Bose speakers it felt like something new. Obviously I’ve seen U2 on screens before but this was special. It elevated the YouTube experience and the brand. U2 will probably sell a lot of records because of this broadcast, which was watched by over 7 million people. But arguably YouTube is the one that will benefit most from this. It was a great showcase for a technology that though hugely popular, is dogged by a somewhat inaccurate rep of just having low-brow, amateurish content. I can now readily imagine the Superbowl being broadcast live on YouTube. Why not?
Increasingly YouTube is forging relationships with movie studios and other producers of high end content.
Orson Welles famously said that the tragedy of film makers is that they are the artists that cannot afford their own tools. And it’s true. Despite technological advances, it still takes a small village to shoot film/video correctly. But equally importantly, it still takes talent and drive and vision to create great content. Look at U2.
Taking a cue from our colleagues Y&R and DDB, who for reasons known only to themselves, are presenting Roger Daltrey and David Plouffe at this year’s advertising bacchanal, The Escape Pod has decided to add TV’s Bob Saget to the mix.
Star of legendary sitcom Full House, host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, friend and confidant of Dave Coulier, we feel Bob Saget is just the guy to hold forth on new media and whatnot to an audience of jetlagged, hungover and disinterested ad folks. Let’s face it, he practically invented youtube (AFHV was Youtube on your TV) and Full House was, undeniably, the template for Facebook.
We predict a “full house” for this exciting event.
Israeli musician Kutiman has great fun with youtube. see them all here
An instructional YouTube film that shows you clever ways to recycle your VHS friend.
The TV industry, like the advertising industry, is a hard business that has dealt with a lot of change – laser disks. Video rental. Cable. DVDs. Satellite. And it has survived all of them.
So when the internet came along it didn’t take a genius to figure out that it too posed a potential threat to the TV industry.
Whenever a new medium comes along there is a tendency to focus on what makes it different. And the internet was no exception. The internet came to equal “interactive”, since that was its most obvious point of differentiation. And enormous effort went into exploiting this aspect of it initially.
But people are people. And people love stories. Let me rephrase that. People love being told stories. In much the same way that though everyone can tell a joke, but we’d all much rather listen to Chris Rock than the guy from accounting. And video is still the most satisfactory way to tell a story. So video quickly became the currency of the internet. And then YouTube came along. And functioned as a clearing house for all this new video content. But even YouTube has its weaknesses. Principal among those being the lack of professionally produced video.
Because, as anyone who’s ever produced actually funny video content on a consistent basis knows: it’s hard. Every time. Creating great video is a lot like cooking a great meal. In theory we can all do it, but in reality only a comparative handful can do it reliably.
So the surprise success of Hulu perhaps lies in how long it took to get it off the ground. Getting cut-throat competitors to play along would never be easy. And earlier attempts at TV-on-the-internet like Joost failed for technical reasons(download software? NO!) and the fact that the studios and networks didn’t want to let others monetize content that cost them hundreds of millions of dollars to produce. Content may want to be free. But content’s lawyers and accountants clearly feel strongly to the contrary. It will be interesting to see how Hulu evolves.