Ideas that spread are concise, catchy, and tap into shared experience. So when Youtube launched with the subtitle, “Broadcast Yourself” it was a prefect match, the perfect idea for this age. Just like, “1000 songs in your pocket” from Apple’s iPod, Youtube caught the essense of the core benefit to users. The iPod (and iTunes) has scaled to epic proportions – legally. Youtube, on the other hand, has been retreading, illegally, material from “The Man” – Viacom, Newscorp, GE, and a few other media behemoths. Instead of “Broadcasting Yourself” Youtube’s tag should be “Re-broadcast Back Catalog”.
Viacom (the man) doesn’t think this is funny. “Your people had better broadcast themselves” says the man, holding Youtube to it’s own catchphrase with a fleet of lawyers and forensic CSI (Content Sniffing Interns) teams deep into copyright infringing uploaders who’ve helped themselves to other’s broadcasted material.
In Viacom offices two years ago, I was dazzled by the numbers offered by the MTV/VH1/NIckleodeon people about Youtube. 100,000,000 million downloads for every 65,000 uploads. And of the 65,000 uploads, who knows how many were pre-existing programing from The Man. Most. This was two years ago. This same staff of cutting-edge programming whiz-kids dedicated teams to scouring Youtube for original programming by amateurs. They found very little. And what they did find rarely made it to pilot. Two years later, “user generated content” is a term of the mid 00’s.
Turns out the big “Yourself” is inept at uploading watchable, original content.
BTW, everybody in those Viacom meetings has been fired. They were supposed to create the next Youtube, or use Youtube “Broadcasters” for the next big thing. But the pickin’s – they were slim. The Viacom MAN, in a convoluted convulsion, canned their broadcaster seekers for not finding broadcasters WITHIN their audience.
“Broadcast Yourself” is not as easy as it looks. But it can be learned by the mass of amateurs who’d be the ones the Youtube tagline is targeting. It is basically storytelling 101. Can you tell a story visually? Visual communication has a language all it’s own. Just like the written word, it has syntax, vocabulary, juxtiposition, design, color, and themes – all blended together to get communication to happen. A quick scan of the webisodes produced by our Youtube rank-and-file shows little grasp of basic respect for viewer time or understanding. Focusing on a subset of uploader, for example video resume posters, many take too long, or tell us they are great before showing us, or are great at what they do, but have no idea about lighting, sound, or composing a scene. Some get it just right in mastering the subtlties of the medium. But when they do, other have no idea how difficult it is to get it just so.
Broadcasting doesn’t have to be great. It has to be respectful of what it takes to communicate visually. Broadcasting is a language. Video is a text. Until we can grasp this fact, the best things on Youtube are/were the things professionals make for TV. So “Broadcast Yourself” has a double meaning, the second being ‘Broadcast The Man’s Programming Yourself‘ will be the norm until the great ‘Yourself’ learns how to channel a genuine vision speaking the language of film/video. I’ll be posting tips in the next few posts about what basic things can be done to succeed, yourself.