Val’s Art Diary hits Wall Street Journal

November 27, 2007

NewsVal’s Art Diary was featured yesterday in the Wall Street Journal.  You can find the article online

Val is a talented artist who makes YouTube videos of herself painting in time-lapsed video.  Her paintings are impressive, and the videos quite charming, filled with colorful banter.  She has over 22,000 subscribers to her videos, which have been watched hundreds of thousands of time.  Val uses her videos to sell her paintings on eBay and her own website; according to the figures in the article, Val has made thousands of dollars from selling her 49 paintings. You can watch her latest video below.

Analysis:  The Wall Street Journal article doesn’t say much about Val, but what it does say is informative.  We learn that Val is Valentina Trevino.  If I’m not mistaken, that’s the first time Val’s Art Diary has been revealed by her full name in print.  Also, Val is 29 years old and a “Chicago” artist.  Hmm…for some reason I pictured Val in LA! 

I’ve been following Val’s videos for some time.  Her videos definitely are among the best, most creative user-generated content that YouTube has to offer.  Go watch them!

Henry Blodget on YouTube’s business

September 13, 2007

News:  Henry Blodget at Silicon Alley Insider has some insightful analysis of William Morrison’s analysis of Comscore’s recent data on Google and YouTube.  (Sorry for the double hearsay.)   Here’s the good and the bad for YouTube:

The good:  YouTube accounts for 28% of the total minutes spent on Google sites.

The bad:  YouTube’s profit margins are still very low compared to other Google services.

According to Blodget, “The bigger YouTube gets as a percentage of users and minutes, the more Google’s profit per user/minute is likely to drop.”

Analysis: All of these numbers can shift if YouTube’s InVideo ads actually attract advertisers.  Google is banking on this new system to generate revenues for YouTube.  Of course, the copyright lawsuits against YouTube could throw a major monkey wrench into these plans, particularly if YouTube suffers a major defeat in one of the bigger cases.

YouTube about to launch news videos with ads

September 13, 2007

News:  Google VP David Eun was in Korea for the  Dicon 2007 conference.  He announced that YouTube is negotiating with content providers to feature news videos on YouTube, which will be synched with relevant InVideo ads as a part of revenue-sharing deals.  (More)

Analysis: This makes sense on both sides.  News organizations are hurting for revenue, given the Internet’s popularity and ability to make news free.  YouTube needs “safe” videos (not copyright infringing) that will appeal to advertisers whom YouTube wants to attract to its site.  It will be interesting to see, though, if people watch news on YouTube, especially if it comes from mainstream media.

Is DailyMotion the French YouTube?

September 6, 2007

News:  The French-based DailyMotion just received $34 million in additional funding.  Some tout it as the “French answer to YouTube.”  So far, DailyMotion has avoided being sued for copyright infringement that have saddled other sites.  We’ll see how long that lasts.  (More)

YouTube’s business plan — revealed

September 4, 2007

News:  Here are my preliminary thoughts on YouTube’s business plan, i.e., how it hopes to make a profit.

1.  Continually attract millions of viewers, users, and video creators to YouTube

2.  Join forces with Google to incorporate YouTube videos in all basic Google searches (thereby helping to serve No.1 priority above), and to deploy Google ads on YouTube’s site.  (Because of potential secondary liability under copyright law, Google ads can’t be fully integrated on YouTube, particularly not with videos that constitute copyright infringement).

3.  Strike revenue-sharing deals with key “partners” of YouTube who are under contract with YouTube and who supply content to YouTube; such quality content more likely to generate views and more desirable for ads

4.  Deploy sleek ads within and at bottom of select videos (“InVideo ads”) created by YouTube partners (some individual creators and some corporate creators).  This last prong is what YouTube is testing out right now, and what YouTube is banking on.  Higher click-through rate for these ads means YouTube can charge more for these ads than regular Google text ads.

YouTube shuts down InVideo pop-up ads in YouTube videos

September 4, 2007

News: As far as I can tell, YouTube has shut down the InVideo pop-up ads that it started deploying back in July. I can’t find the pop-up ads anymore on the partner YouTube videos that first had the ads, such as LisaNova, Smosh, and My Chemical Romance.

Analysis: There are several possibilities about what YouTube is doing: (A) YouTube’s rethinking/reworking the ads in light of YouTubers’ mostly negative comments submitted on YouTube’s blog; (B) YouTube’s afraid of VideoEgg, which claims to have developed the ad technology first and applied for a patent on it; and (C) YouTube’s just gearing up for a full deployment of InVideo ads (the earlier ones were a test run).

I think the correct answer is probably (C).

Meanwhile, a Google rep is quoted in papers today touting the success “hit rate” of the InVideo ads, which get “between five and 10 times as many” clicks “compared with the number who view regular display ads — banners or boxes on Web pages.” (More)

Hello to Hulu, the YouTube killer from NBC + FOX

August 30, 2007

News: NBC and Fox have joined together in an online video project that has been nicknamed “the YouTube killer,” reflecting at least the intentions of its creators. Yesterday, the project announced its name — “Hulu” — on its website (still in beta). Jason Kilar, the CEO, even writes to explain the name: “Why Hulu? Objectively, Hulu is short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and rhymes with itself. Subjectively, Hulu strikes us as an inherently fun name, one that captures the spirit of the service we’re building. Our hope is that Hulu will embody our (admittedly ambitious) never-ending mission, which is to help you find and enjoy the world’s premier content when, where and how you want it.”

Michael Arrington of Tech Crunch humorously points out that “hulu” means “butt” in two languages and “cease and desist” in Swahili. Salon points out that all names rhyme with themselves, so that’s no reason to pick a name.


Analysis: Hulu will focus on providing “premium” or “quality” video content from TV shows. It won’t include amateur, user-generated videos (as I understand it), so it’s hoping that viewers will prefer “premium” content over the amateur stuff on YouTube. Whether that strategy will be enough to compete with YouTube’s huge lead in user base, only time will tell. I think it will be an interesting battle to watch. I do like the look of the Hulu website so far, so at least they’ve hired some decent design people.

As for the name “Hulu,” I think if you have to explain it, it ain’t that good.