A few weeks ago, Daisy Whitney asked Josh and me to make some predictions for web video in 2009. Our short list of thoughts, predictions and predilections have made their way from New Media Minute to ABC News to MediaPost, and are now here in their unadulterated form on Tilzy.TV! Help us add to the list.
1. 2009 will be all about brands, not just shows.
A show is just one opportunity for audiences to experience your characters, to taste the flavor of your brand. Create a meal (show), but be sure to serve up pleanty of appetizers and snacks (shorter videos) and some dinner conversation (interactive elements).
Your brands should be immersive experiences. I want to engage with them actively and passively, when I’m on the go, and when I want to veg out on my couch. Figure out ways to offer various experiences to match my various moods.
2. There’s still very little money to be made in online video, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create. Don’t believe us? Ask Michael Eisner.
The advertising industry hasn’t fully adapted to video ads – agencies must change the nature of their operations to accommodate the new, more fragmented professional video market. But just because videos can’t be appropriately monetized in the near term, developing lasting brands (or reputations) associated with quality, innovative content will build value that can be monetized down the road. Experimentation and innovation are key.
3. In 2009, concept before craft.
ZeFrank showed us how unimportant production value can be. A concept should drive the tools used to bring it to life, not the other way around. Production value alone will get you nowhere. An innovative story driven by low production value can be far more engaging. You no longer need riches to become famous.
4. There will be celebs.
The web has been a playground shining stars like Michael Cera, Will Ferrell, and James Franco who have used internet video as way to play around during production breaks on major motion pictures. But the popularity of Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible has opened the eyes of entertainment industry vets to the possibilities of the web. Expect a lot more Hollywood celebs to take a serious look at online video in 2009.
5. Apocalyptic/Economy web shows.
With the economic downturn and the Mayan end of the world only three years away, expect to see some online series focused on the end of days and explaining how the hell we got there (which Hollywood has already started to do ).
6. Content is king, contacts are queen.
The first thing you need to make a splash online is quality content. Then, you need to hone relationships with established outlets that drive discovery of your product. There’s just too much stuff out there to hope that people will automagically find your show. Make friends with media institutions like YouTube, Blip, Viddler, MySpace, Revision3, Next New Networks, and more. Without them, your bit of brilliance may never be seen.
7. Sketch comedy is so 2005.
It makes sense that sketch comics would be early adopters of online video, finally able to spread their genius around the world. But enough already. We’ve seen too many remakes of your hilarious UCB improv, too many one-off 5-minute sketches from your parent’s living room. Sketch comics should innovate by creating thoughtful content around focused concepts.
8. Interactivity goes beyond a Facebook profile.
It was cute the first couple times, but now the shows with characters that only have facebook and MySpace pages are getting old. Successful entertainment brands will engage audiences with more than a social network by crafting the universe around their content. The opportunities to innovate in this regard are literally infinite. Big splashes will come from big ideas, not tired gimmicks.
Thanks to Daisy for keeping us thinking. What else will happen to web video in 2009?